Common Problems with Cheap Used Trucks

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - May 23, 2016

Most of us don't expect perfection when buying a cheap used truck, but we do want a reliable vehicle that can get the job done. How can you avoid getting burned on a bargain? Know what to look for. Here are the top complaints from buyers of cheap trucks:

Oil leaks

As truck engines get older, they are prone to developing oil leaks. Your patience and wallet will wear thin quickly if you're continuously adding oil to a leaky engine. Even worse, the engine could run out of oil completely and seize up for good. Checking for spots underneath the truck is always prudent, but doesn't guarantee there are no major leaks. The seller might have moved the truck right before you arrived or removed any cardboard used to soak up leaks.

Rust

Some rust spots are cosmetic, but rust on the frame can be downright dangerous. Rust weakens metal and will eventually burn it away completely. Yes, rusted sections can be replaced, but at significant cost if you can't do the work yourself.

Fuel line leaks

Faulty seals along the fuel line can cause chronic problems down the road. Fuel line leaks are difficult to detect during a test drive or normal driving, and often go undiagnosed until a breakdown occurs.

Transmission issues

Any large vehicle is relatively hard on its transmission. Professional fixes are time-intensive and costly. Think of the transmission as a second engine in terms of liability. You can't drive with a faulty transmission, and yet it may not be worth fixing, especially in cheap truck.

Warning lights

A computer reset can turn off warning lights temporarily—long enough for you to test drive and buy a truck with hidden problems. Buyers of used trucks often report seeing warning lights after a few hundred miles of driving. Some warnings are minor, and others can indicate a major malfunction.

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


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