Advices to buying a used truck




Looking for a used car on craigslist for daily building materials carrying.

Some said they have a rebuilt engine, is that trustworthy?

In general, how many miles on the used car should I not even bother looking?




You need to find out who rebuilt the motor. If it was done by a competent professional mechanic then it could be acceptable. You will need to see a receipt for the rebuild and then contact the mechanic to gauge wheether he si competent or not.

The mileage depends on the condition and how long you plan to keep it. If you want many years of service and you put on 20,000 miles per year, I’d look for a truck in excellent condition with around 100,000 miles.


Don’t put a lot of faith into that word “rebuild” because that can mean any one of several dozen different things. There’s a proper rebuild and everything else.

Unless paperwork is produced that shows it was done properly then you should assume it’s a halfway job even if it’s not.
I would seriously question someone who says an engine is rebuilt but can provide no documentation on a time consuming and expensive procedure such as this.

Condition based on mileage is difficult to gauge. Some trucks with 250k miles on them are in much better shape than many 40k mile trucks.
I agree with jtsanders about the excellent condition with 100k miles type of truck.


If it is a late model vehicle you will want to have it check out at a good shop before anything else. A rebuilt engine on a late model vehicle may mean lots of hard service and possible abuse. If it was used for heavy hauling; brakes and suspension components may be worn badly as well.


What kind of truck are you looking at? There’s not enough information here to give decent advice.

You said to haul building materials. Is it for a contractor, or someone building 1 house?

How much material? Are we talking about 3 2x4’s or 4 tons of gravel?

What sort of truck are you looking at?



Thanks for all the advices. I’m looking at a small/mid pickup maximum v6.



You didn’t say what you are going to haul?

Most small trucks aren’t very fit for hauling building materials. Rangers, S-10’s etc have 6’ beds and are too narrow between the wheel wells to haul sheet rock or plywood. They also can’t carry very much weight. I ran into a Lowes once that wouldn’t load more than 24 sheets of sheet rock on a half ton truck. Kind of a pain when you need 150 for a job.

Best thing for building materials is a tandem trailer and a truck that can pull it. You can get a 16 footer for around $1200. They’ll be much wider than a truck bed, shorter than a truck bed, and longer. Weight on the truck’s rear axle won’t be an issue unless you load tongue heavy. Mine’s rated for 8000 lbs. I’ve had 4 pallets of landscape blocks on it, 30 sheets of plywood, 50 squares of shingles plus felt ridge vents, 2 ton of gravel, 2 pine trees cut up, tractor and implements, about anything can be loaded on it.

Pickups are taller than trailers. Trust me, your back will like the trailer after a while when you start having to load and unload stuff. However the big advantage is not having to worry about beating up the trailer. They are much stronger than a pickup bed and if you dent the fender, well, so be it. Hauling a 16’ board or 10’ pipe joint on a pickup is a little bit difficult and can result in loosing a board on the road. With a 16’ trailer, they fit without hanging over, easy to tie down with a couple of ratchet straps.

Unless you get a 3/4 or 1 ton truck, you don’t have full floating axles, and weight on light axles can cause problems. It’s hard to break a trailer axle.