3 Ways To Tell If A Used Truck Is Worth Buying Before You Take A Test Drive

Roughly 40 million used vehicles are bought and sold in the United States each year. If you are in the market for a used truck, you likely want to take every precaution to avoid buying a lemon. Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs that indicate whether or not a vehicle will perform properly over time.

Here are 3 signs you can look for to tell if you have a lemon on your hands before you even get behind the wheel for a test drive.

1. Check the interior of the vehicle.

You can tell a lot about a truck's condition by evaluating the interior. Be on the lookout for an abundance of stains, food leftovers, or greasy gauges. You should also do a little detective work if you notice strange odors. A leaky window seal or holes in the floorboards could lead to mildew, and these structural problems will cost you money to fix if you decide to purchase the vehicle.

Evaluating the condition of a truck's interior can be a great way to eliminate lemons from your list. Chances are if the seller hasn't maintained the interior of the vehicle, they probably haven't been so vigilant about maintaining the mechanics of the truck either. 

2. Check the color of the coolant fluid.

Taking a quick peek under the hood can tell you a lot about the condition of a used truck. By lifting the radiator cap or examining the coolant reservoir and checking the coolant fluid, you can easily determine whether or not the truck's engine will overheat.

Coolant is generally red, green, blue, or yellow in color. If you notice that the coolant in the vehicle you are inspecting is colorless, or it appears to have rust in it, these are signs that the truck's engine could have a serious problem. To avoid purchasing a lemon, it's best to avoid trucks with bad coolant.

3. Check the engine oil.

Checking the engine oil of a truck you are thinking of buying is simple. All you have to do is withdraw the oil dipstick from its holster. You should be looking for both the engine oil level and inspecting the cleanliness of the oil. If a truck's oil level is low, the moving parts in the engine will begin to grind against one another. Eventually, this grinding will cause the engine to seize up. If the truck is low on oil, you could be facing an engine replacement in the future.

Checking the cleanliness of the oil is important as well. Clean oil appears smooth, glossy, and transparent on the dipstick. If you notice that the oil is too dark or contains grainy dirt deposits, these are signs that the truck's engine isn't being properly lubricated.

Avoiding a lemon is easy when you know what to look for as you shop for used trucks. By taking the time to look at the truck's interior, coolant, and engine oil, you can determine if you are dealing with a lemon before you ever get behind the wheel for a test drive. Talk to a professional like Excel Ford Lincoln for assistance.