How to Inspect Used 4×4 Trucks for Sale

With this article I’ll give you a step-by-step process for how to inspect used 4×4 trucks for sale. From the body lines to the engine, you’ll learn what you need to watch for and why as you evaluate whether or not a particular 4×4 will be worth your time and money.

4×4 Trucks From Dealers or From Individual Sellers

The advantage of purchasing from a truck dealer rather than an individual is that you are protected by several laws. Two of the most important are the odometer fraud laws and the lemon laws. The odometer law makes sure there are significant consequences for dealers who try to sell people trucks with more mileage than the odometer indicates. The lemon laws give you about a 15 day window to return the truck if serious problems with it arise.



This is an important distinction from buying your used truck through a licensed dealer rather than through a personal owner: lemon laws don’t apply to transactions between private individuals. So once you have given the seller your money, the truck and all its problems will now be yours forevermore.

Purchasing a used 4×4 truck from a private owner does have its advantages. Dealers often sanitize the overall view and perception of a used 4×4 vehicle. This includes making everything shiny in and out. In particular, pressure-cleaned engines hide all the little leaks that every used vehicle will inevitably have. When you buy from a private seller, you’re more likely to uncover the whole picture, the truck’s real story. This helps you determine exactly what you’re buying.

Get the 4×4 Facts and Market Value

Always consult the most recent Kelly Blue Book data to determine the exact current market value of any 4×4 trucks for sale you’re evaluating. Ignore the price the seller advertises. You must work from the truck’s actual market value.




You should also check the history of every vehicle you are seriously considering buying with CarFax. Obtaining the CarFax on any used vehicle is a must and something you shouldn’t let yourself skip. The CarFax will tell you things you may not be able to tell from just looking at it, including accident and ownership history. Some crummy salesman may try to refurbish a salvaged truck and sell it to you with a false history. This really happens so be wary and always you get your 4×4 facts.

Used 4×4 Truck Inspection

Now we’ll start the actual walk-through of a 4×4 truck you’ve found for sale. Remember, your there to inspect the truck, not buy it. You must go into this with the right mindset or you might overlook details you’ll later really regret not identifying. People often regret pickup trucks they didn’t full research and inspect before buying.

Inspecting 4x4 Trucks for Sale

Inspecting 4x4 Trucks for Sale

Leave Me Alone, Truck Salesman

Before you start your evaluation of a prospective 4×4 truck, politely tell the seller to leave you alone while you evaluate the vehicle. Tell them to either busy themselves elsewhere or be silent while you conduct your study of the used truck. Inspecting 4×4 trucks takes time and complete attention. Don’t let them distract you.

4×4 Body Lines

First look at all the body lines. Is everything even and symmetrical? Are the hood lines straight and even all the way down? Are all door and hood gaps nice and even? You want all body seams to appear and feel straight and flush.

Used 4×4 Truck Tires

Despite the jokes about “tire kickers” in auto sales, examining the tires is important. A used 4×4 truck should have used tires. Buying new tires for used truck one is selling is a really bad return on investment, so if they have bought and installed new tires, they’re probably trying to disguise a problem.

If you do find new tires, you must see the data on the alignment done at the time the new tires were installed. If the owner or salesman cannot furnish with full alignment data, I recommend you reconsider proceeding. Something’s fishy.

When you find used tires on the vehicle, you can take a close look at their wear. What you want is a truck with even wear on all the tires. This means the previous owner has kept the tires rotated and the alignment in good shape. I find this to be a good sign you will get a truck that has been well-maintained by its previous owner.

Bigger Tires Are Rarely Better Tires

Another consideration is the size of the tires. People with big trucks like even bigger tires. Go figure. But if they haven’t made specific and expensive adjustments to their transmission to account for those larger, heavier tires, then those tires are just wearing down that 4×4 truck for sale’s transmission, and such transmission repair will knock you back a pretty penny. Truck transmissions are powerful but delicate systems and you will find a lot of ignorant truck owners who don’t understand or appreciate this 4×4 fundamental.

Under the Hood, Under the Truck

When you look under the hood, of course check the oil level as well as oil quality. Also examine the transmission color and odor. If you find dark transmission fluid which stinks of being burnt, the truck probably requires costly transmission work.

Examine the engine as well as the truck’s undercarriage as closely as possible for leaks. Be sure to examine around its power steering pump, its radiator and its water pump in addition to the truck’s valve covers and transmission. Don’t be alarmed to discover some leaks; all used trucks will probably feature a small leak or two. Some leaks aren’t really a long term issue, but instead a chance for a savvy 4×4 truck shopper to persuade the owner or salesman into giving you a better price.

For modern Ford power stroke engines (diesel trucks), you want to check for the inline fuel filter. If this isn’t present, you have a problem as those are now required.

How Hard Has This 4×4 Truck Been Driven?

There are number of ways to determine how hard a 4×4 truck has been driven. Two ways to tell right away are the exhaust manifold and the brake pedal. With the brake pedal, you’re looking for distinct and excessive wear on the right side of the pedal. This indicates stop and go driving… perhaps the previous owner lived in a major metro area.

Broken bolts out from the exhaust manifold always indicate that this truck has sustained hard driving and high energy heat. This isn’t just a matter of a simple bolt being broken. This often indicates valves, piston rings and turbo charges about to burn out on you. This is especially the case with used diesel trucks.

Front End Inspection

With four-wheel drive trucks, one of the most important things you must do is make sure the 4×4 front end alignment and condition are good. This will require you take the truck to a specialist. Any legitimate seller will let you do this before closing the deal. Front end trouble indicates an accident and you will find front end repair to be quite expensive. If a seller won’t provide you concrete front end alignment data or let you have the truck inspected before finalizing the sale, than you need to have the courage to walk away from that pickup truck.

Jacked Up Trucks

If you’re evaluating jacked up trucks for sale, you need to consider some additional features. Specifically, you need to check the balance and level of the truck, as these elements are often compromised by either sloppy lift jobs or poorly maintained lift jobs.

I hope this helps you better understand how to inspect used 4×4 trucks for sale. If you’re a so-called better visual learner, try my 4×4 Trucks for Sale YouTube Videos.

Take your time, ignore the seller or salesman and be as critical and analytical as you can manage. Thank you for visiting 4×4 Trucks For Sale and I hope you are better able to find the truck you want after perusing my website.