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6 Things to look out for in a mini truck before buying

purity muriuki



mini truck

Along with property acquisition, vehicle purchase is another significant investment you’ll ever make. As such, you have to make sure you get it right.

We understand if you don’t know how to go about things the first time. Many truck owners had the same issue when they got their first vehicles. The good news is guides like these are there for your use. It’s up to you to find relevant information before investing your hard-earned money.

Here, you’ll learn about a few things you need to look out for in a mini truck before paying for it.

NB: When we talk about mini trucks, know that we’re referring mainly to Japanese Kei trucks.

6 Things to look out for in a mini truck before buying

1. Previous purpose of use

Most people generally believe Kei trucks are used for simple activities like gardening.

But this is not always the case. Japanese use Kei trucks for heavy-duty transportation, too. In fact, some people use theirs for human transportation.

If you’re buying a used Kei truck, it’s important to ask the dealer what the vehicle was used for. This is because a truck that was used for everyday transportation cannot be in the same condition as one that was only used once in a while.

Meanwhile, we encourage you to buy your used Japanese trucks from Substar Inc. They have a vast inventory of lightly used mini trucks.

2. Ask for the repair and maintenance report

“What if a dealer lies to me about the vehicle’s previous purpose of use?”

Well, that’s where the vehicle’s report and maintenance report comes into play. If you have reasons to doubt what you’re being told, ask the dealer to show you the vehicle’s repair history. If they cannot provide this, that’s a sign they’re hiding something.

3. Bed condition

The whole point of getting a mini truck is to take advantage of the cargo bed in the back. If you buy a truck whose bed is in bad condition, then this purpose is already defeated.

This is why it’s important to examine the integrity of the bed before you make a purchase. Although there’s no mechanical indication to tell whether a bed is in good condition or not, you can inspect for rust, paint discoloration, scratches, dents, sagging, etc.

A truck bed that sags somewhere is probably one that has been through a rough use.

4. Inspect for physical defects

You can tell whether a vehicle is in good condition by inspecting certain physical parts. Some of the parts to inspect include:

  • Mileage:

This tells you how long the mini truck has traveled. It’s also an indication of the amount of wear a vehicle has sustained over the years. The lower the mileage, the better the vehicle’s condition.

  • Tires:

A simple physical inspection can help you see whether the tires and rims are worn out or still in good condition.

  • Body parts:

In most cases, Japanese Kei trucks are constructed with a white-painted body frame. As such, when there are dents, scratches, or rust, it’s always easy to spot. A vehicle with bodily rust or paint discoloration is likely not in good condition.

  • Lights:

The signal lights, head and tail lights, should all be working perfectly.

Please note that if you’re buying from a dealership shop, it’s advisable to have a professional mechanic with you when going to do the inspection. However, if you’re buying online, you want to hire the service of a reputed mechanic operating close to the dealership.

5. Get the odometer reading

An odometer is a device in a vehicle that indicates the distance traveled. If you think a dealer isn’t completely honest with you, you can request to see the vehicle’s odometer.

By inspecting the odometer, you can see for yourself how long a vehicle has traveled.

Generally speaking, mini trucks in Japan travel up to 6,000miles/year. If you find a vehicle whose odometer reading goes beyond this, such a vehicle has either been used for long-distance hauling or has been in use for a long time.

6. Inspect the chassis

Your vehicle’s chassis is another important part you shouldn’t joke with. If you buy a truck with a bent or weak frame build, you’re already setting yourself up for regular repairs in the future. Additionally, a weak chassis would also prevent you from using your truck to haul certain heavy-duty materials.

All in all, you should inspect the frame build and underbody for any indication of accidents or heavy-duty hauling.


I'm a passionate full-time blogger. I love writing about startups, how they can access key resources, avoid legal mistakes, respond to questions from angel investors as well as the reality check for startups. Continue reading my articles for more insight.

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