I've been shopping for a used long bed truck for some time now. There almost impossible to find now since everyone is buying those four door short beds that are built for people who never buy lumber or rocks. I just need it to make material runs to the box store & to the landscape yard. I won't be driving it every day & I doubt that I will even put two thousand miles on it in a year.
So here is my situation. By chance, I passed one of these little independent used car dealers in a town about twenty miles from my house. I spotted what look like a long bed so I pulled in & it tuned out to be a 2005 Ram 1500 (wishing it was a Ford F150). The salesman/lot owner came out & opened the door for me. Took a look inside. It was a little rough but overall still had service life left. It had a few dents & dings as you would expect on a truck that's ten years old. It started right up. I noticed it had new hoses & a new belt on it. I could hear what sounded like a sticky valve lifter, but not really loud & in about a minute, it was gone. My wife noticed that it had smoke out the tailpipe, but I think it was just condensation. The salesman also said it was condensation because its been sitting for about a week without a startup, but after all, he is a used car salesman.
Now here's the thing about it. They are asking for a starting price of $4,500. The price is lower than what I thought it would be, but its at that price because the mileage is up there. The Od is showing 213,000 miles. The salesman said its at $4,500 because the miles are high. He said if it had around 140 or 150K it would price out around $10,000. And he did ad that we could talk price if I really want to buy it otherwise it would just be conversation. I asked him if we could somehow arrange for me to take it to my mechanic for a lookover. I told him I'm twenty miles away & I told him which town I'm in. He said no problem. He would let me take it down to my mechanic for a look over because he was confident there was nothing wrong with it.
Kelly Blue Book show that avg. miles on a 2005 Ram is 111,000. miles. So this truck is at 213,000 miles. Based on KBB values, the dealer is in the zone on what it's worth. He is asking $4,500 but the KBB fair value is $4,158. So there may be some room here for negotiation on price.
I've seen 2004 & 2005-6 trucks with as high as 250 to 310,000 miles on the od at car auctions. Its really hard for me to believe that anything over 150K is not a worn out engine. My mechanic says that "yes 213K is high, but he's seen truck engines go beyond 300K with no major issues. The question always becomes what is going to fail internally-and when. There's just no way of knowing, so all you can do is give it a general mechanical inspection & either accept or reject the risk, but no one really knows what will happen.
So would I be nuts to buy this truck, even if my mechanic says it looks good & if I can get it down closer to $4,000. And I need a truck right now to pick up lumber, bags of concrete, landscaping materials. Yes I can pay home delivery charges, but on some of these small amounts, the delivery fees will be higher than the material. Has anyone else been in this situation & what would you do. Really 213,000 miles. Should I worry about high miles. And the other thing is- what about the transmission & rear end. We always focus on the engine, but I think the tranny is usually the weak link. Thanks.