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Buying Used Pickup Trucks What To Look For

Buying Used Pickup Trucks: What Should You Look For?

Buying a used pickup truck is a lot harder than buying a used car. Used pickup trucks have often lived a harder workhorse-style life, which means there’s more to consider when you’re buying a truck than when you’re buying a normal family sedan or minivan. So just what should you look for? We have some answers that can help you when you’re checking out a used truck.

Towing and Hauling

One thing you’ll have to consider when buying a used truck is just how much towing and hauling the previous owner has done. Obviously, this isn’t something you’ll need to think about if you’re buying a hatchback or a convertible, but trucks are different. If a truck has spent 50,000 miles hooked up to a trailer, it may have caused more than normal wear on the truck’s mechanical components.

Of course, one way to find out just how much towing and hauling a truck has done is to simply ask the owner. But since you can’t always count on the truth from someone selling a used car — and since you can’t always count on a dealer to know the whole story — we recommend taking the truck for a mechanical inspection before you buy it. We especially recommend this if you see evidence of a lot of towing, such as a well-worn tow hitch, a severely bent rear license plate or a cable for wiring a trailer’s brake lights.

Off-Road Use

Another thing you’ll need to consider when buying a truck is exactly how it’s been used. Many used pickup trucks lead pampered in-town lives, but some are used in fields, on farms or on ranches — exactly as they were intended to be. The problem with this sort of use, however, is that it can cause a lot of wear to a truck’s suspension, chassis and other components. To check for off-road use, get under the truck and take a look around. If you see a lot of scratches, scrapes and bent parts on the truck’s underside, it may have had a rough life off-road. While this isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid a truck, it’s certainly a red flag that may warrant a mechanical inspection by a professional.

Commercial Use?

Many trucks are bought by businesses and used as workhorses in a wide variety of applications, including shuttling around the foreman and hauling serious debris and heavy goods. Because so many trucks are used by businesses, we wouldn’t tell you to avoid a truck that’s had commercial use, but we do suggest paying a mechanic to check it over before you buy it. Businesses aren’t always as careful with maintenance as private owners, and you’ll want to be sure that no important services were skipped. Buying a used pickup truck is hard, since used trucks have often had a rough life. But if you follow our suggestions and thoroughly check out any truck before you buy it, you’ll probably end up with a used pickup that serves you well for years to come.

This article by Doug Demuro was originally published on AutoTrader.com

A Beginner’s Guide to RV Family Vacations

Ah, life on the open road! What’s not to love? There’s the freedom, the adventure… the kids fighting in the back and demanding to know if you’re “there yet.” OK, maybe a road trip isn’t exactly a flawless family vacation. Still, we’re intrigued about the idea of renting an RV and taking the kids to everything from historic national monuments to the world’s coolest roadside attractions, playing games and listening to tunes along the way. Renting an RV is a fantastic way to tour the country — without having to unpack seven suitcases at each hotel.

RV Family Vacation

Renting an RV and planning a successful vacation can be tricky, however. What’s the best way to get started? Is that thing hard to drive, and how do you know if an RV vacation is right for your family? We turned to RV experts for practical first-time tips for families.

Q: Why should we take an RV family vacation?

A: “An RV rental vacation is a good choice for families,” says Jaimie Hall Bruzenak of RV Lifestyle Experts. “It is usually less costly. You save money by preparing meals in the RV and spending less per night to camp at an RV park or campground than you would at a hotel. Also, children can be easily entertained while traveling. It’s also more convenient. You can stop easily for bathroom breaks without getting out of the RV. The children’s toys, clothes, washroom and snacks are right where you are exploring and playing, so there’s no need to return to a hotel. There are lots of fun things to do right at a campsite while parents relax. If you visit a national park, you can camp there and save driving time, plus they have activities and programs geared to children. Other families will probably be camped where you are, too, making it even more fun for the kids.”

Q: What’s the first step to renting an RV?

A: “You can narrow down the pool of options by asking yourself some basic questions,” says Rob Tischler, owner of Allstar Coaches. “How much of your vacation budget do you want to dedicate to an RV and the RV resort or campground? Do you want to tow your personal vehicle behind the RV? What amenities or on-board entertainment systems are important? These answers can help you eliminate RVs that don’t have what you need and select which services are best suited for your getaway.”

Q: How much do RV rentals generally cost?

See Our Rentals Page for more info

You can reduce fuel costs by not covering as many miles and by staying in one or two places where the kids will have plenty to do. If you can travel during the school year, you’ll find that some RV rental companies offer discounts on the price or the mileage.

Q: Do I need a special license or any training to rent an RV? Is the RV difficult to operate?

A: “You don’t need a special license,” Bruzenak advises. “Most people rent a Class C, which is on a truck chassis so it’s like driving a truck. You do need to be aware of your height and length to avoid overhead obstacles and allow enough room to turn. Dips into parking lots and gas stations can cause you to drag if you have a long overhang in the back. You want to choose an entrance that isn’t too steep and approach at an angle, if possible. Also, be sure you can see how you will get back out of a gas station or parking lot before entering. When going to an RV park, double-check the direction with them and don’t rely totally on your GPS.”

Q: RVs look like they have limited space. Will my family feel cramped spending a week in one?

A: “RVers, at least in nice weather, live and play outdoors. You’ll probably want to eat outside, maybe play games outside on the picnic table or take advantage of the recreation facilities where you are staying or visiting,” says Bruzenak. The RV is primarily for moving from place to place, sleeping and using the bathroom facilities if no restrooms are available. Unless you run into terrible weather for several days, spending a week in an RV should not be a problem. Parents should be prepared with decks of cards, board games, DVDs and books for children to read in the event there is extended bad weather. Plus, have some alternative activities in mind, if possible. Each person should have a place for their things that is separate from other family members — a drawer, a section of the closet or a shelf.”

Q: What are the best kinds of destinations for RV family vacations?

A: “National parks and state parks are wonderful places to visit on an RV family vacation,” says Bruzenak. “They usually have campgrounds and plenty to do. An RV vacation is a chance to see natural wonders and historic places. The West is an excellent region for an RV vacation. You’ll be driving back roads, so it’s easy to pull over for snack or lunch time, even if there are no restaurants in sight. In some areas in the East, conditions will be more crowded, and it won’t be as enjoyable driving — especially in beach areas. Additionally, some people enjoy going to an RV park or resort that caters to children and has a swimming pool and activities for kids.”

Article Originally published on familyvacationcritic.com by Caroline Costello
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