Before purchasing a Ford truck, the buyer should always examine the vehicle during daylight hours and carefully check its cooling systems, engine and shock absorbers. Even in a dealer's lot with plenty of lighting, night-time viewing can cause shoppers to miss defects.
When viewing the truck, lift the hood and remove the radiator cap. The coolant fluid within should exhibit a green tinge. If the color is off or there is rust in the fluid, the engine could have a tendency to overheat. If the surface of the truck's engine is covered in excessive grease or oil residue, this is a sign that the vehicle has not been maintained well.
The transmission dip stick can provide clues about the health of the truck's transmission. If the dip stick has a burnt smell, similar to burnt cork, this typically means that the transmission will need work soon. Unusual engine starting noises provide more insights into the condition of any used Ford truck. Knocks or thuds at engine start-up can signal faulty crankshafts or connecting-rod bearings. Replacing these parts can be costly.
Before buying a used Ford, it is useful to know if the truck's shocks are still fully functional. If possible, test drive the truck on a rough road and deliberately bounce the front end of the truck. If the truck bounces over three times, the shocks are worn out.