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You’re in the market to buy a truck, but can’t afford to purchase a brand-new one, or you just don’t want to hand over a ton of money right now. While there’s nothing wrong with going for a used truck, you want to make sure you don’t get burned in the deal.

Searching for used trucks is a process that can take time, so don’t rush it. Figure out what type of truck you want to get and how much money you’re willing to spend before starting your search. This will help keep you on track and avoid getting tempted to buy one way out of your price range. Here are some tips to help you find a fair price to pay for a used truck.

What contributes the most to the pricing of a truck?

Age of the vehicle and the mileage on it are two of the most important factors that contribute to a used truck price. Major repairs are usually not needed until you get into the higher mileage range. Another factor that affects the price of a used truck is the condition it’s in. A pickup that’s in excellent condition will have a higher asking price than one that’s in bad shape.

Popular features can drive a truck’s value up quickly as well. Some items potential owners search for include, all-wheel drive, powerful engine, technological features, and even a large truck bed.

If the vehicle you’re checking out has one or more of these things, you can expect the asking price to be pretty high. If you find one you like, use an online resource, like Kelley Blue Book, to find out what the value of the car is, compared to the price the seller is asking.

What should you really look for?

If you want to find a used truck for a great price, you may need to look for the minimal amount of bells and whistles possible. For example, you may find a truck with higher mileage, a power lift gate, heated steering wheel with power-adjustable side mirrors.

The truck next to it may be older, have lower mileage, but no power mirrors or lift gate, but is cheaper. Do you really need the over the top extra features? If the newer truck has already had major repairs done to it, you’re probably fine. But, if it hasn’t, you’ll find yourself with costly repairs real soon.

Finding a reliable pickup that’s in good condition is the next item to check off your list. A truck in poor shape reflects someone who didn’t keep up with regular maintenance and that means there’s a good chance costly problems will arise soon.

On the flip-side, a truck in decent shape means they took care of it, so chances are good that you have a winning used vehicle on your hands. Problems can occur despite what the truck looks like, but in most cases, you should be good to go.

Red flags to look out for in your vehicle search

One way to know if you’re being sucked into a bad deal is by checking the engine and other major parts under the hood. While it’s not likely to be clean, it should be free of dark oil stains. A bad engine will spew oil or other fluids while running. If you see signs where fluid leaked a lot, you should probably move on to another truck.

It doesn’t hurt to have someone with you when checking out a used truck. Two sniffers are better than one, in this case. Smell the inside of the car or bed area. If either of you come across some musty, moldy type smells, it’s a sign of water damage, and that’s a sign of damage elsewhere in the vehicle. Thank them for their time and move on. If possible, get a vehicle history report to see if anything interesting turns up.

Be sure the sale is legal. Check the vehicle identification number to see if it matches what the title says. Also, it’s best to deal with the actual owner of the truck. If the person says they’re selling for someone else, verify who the real owner is and find out why this other person is selling it for them.

Buying a used truck can be just as much of an investment for you as buying a brand-new one, sometimes. If you can, get your mechanic to look it over as well. If not, get another buddy to help you. Be sure to do your research and check over potential trucks thoroughly before handing your money over.