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Used Pickups at a Glance

Used Pickups at a Glance
Aug 27, 2013
Used Pickups at a Glance
by Justin Pritchard ,
Few can argue with the wholesome handiness or utility that comes with owning a pickup truck. Whether you need a little truck for a year to build a new house or complete a list of renovations or you’re a diehard enthusiast with a lifestyle that demands parking a pickup in the driveway, the used marketplace offers plenty of selection to meet virtually any need.

If you’re planning to shop out a used pickup, consider the following list: we’ve assembled some of the most popular used truck buys on the market, highlighted what their owners love, and listed the most common issues and pre-purchase checks you’ll want to look into.

Remember: A trip to your favourite mechanic with the truck in question can affordably provide added purchase confidence and peace of mind via the pre-purchase inspection. In an hour or less, your mechanic can give the truck you’re after a two-thumbs-up or, conversely, advise that you may want to select another model.

1996 to 2004 Toyota Tacoma

1996 Toyota Tacoma
1996 Toyota Tacoma (Photo: Toyota)

The Draw: Owners of this last-generation Tacoma typically rave about styling, off-road capability, long-term reliability, and a relatively smooth powertrain. Decent mileage, ground clearance and adequate power, even from the 4-cylinder engine, are also praised. Many owners share stories online of how their older Tacoma’s are “ultra reliable,” always fire up, and get them where they need to go. Look for 4- or 6-cylinder power, two- or four-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmissions, and a selection of body configurations.

The Common Issues: Be sure you’re able to get comfortable in the seats, and check the body extensively for rust, paint chips and dents beyond those expected given the truck’s age and mileage. Double-check for confident brake-system performance and 4x4 system engagement into its various modes. Listen to the suspension for signs of clunking or popping, which could be evidence of a worn-out busing, ball-joint or strut. Also, look for signs of oil splatter visible from the inside of the rear wheels. This could indicate leaky axle seals, which may adversely affect the vehicle’s ability to brake.

Having the Tacoma you’re considering inspected for rust should be considered absolutely mandatory. Though no worrisome drivetrain or electronic-related issues present themselves in checks of online forums, some earlier Tacoma models in this generation were actually recalled due to a heavy rust problem that could see the frame perforate, compromising safety.

2004 Toyota Tacoma engine
2004 Toyota Tacoma (Photo: Toyota)

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