Buying a used truck can be a trying experience when we want it to be a pleasurable one

One of the things that factor into this is the feeling of apprehension ”are we buying a sound vehicle”. This is a major concern and while I do know many guys that like to drive used trucks many are not really knowledgeable in the field of mechanics.

But you don’t need to be a mechanic to find out about an engine, but you do need a vacuum gauge.

A what? A vacuum gauge

A vacuum gauge is a novice’s best friend. A vacuum gauge is easy to learn,not expensive and is easily carried. while there are many types of expensive diagnostic equipment available a vacuum gauge will tell you if a used truck has a decent engine in it or not.

The vacuum gauge is sold in many auto stores and departments. It is just a gauge that has some hoses attached to it.

To test an engine run the engine to let it reach it’s normal operating temperature. When looking at a used truck take it for a short spin. Then when you get back keep the engine running. Open the hood, connect your vacuum gauge to an empty vacuum port on the intake manifold. (your gauge will come with diagrams)Let the engine idle. The needle on the gauge should be steady and you should get a reading of 17 to 22. If the needle is erratic, jumping around, anything but steady there is a problem.

If this looks ok give it some gas. The needle should drop way down, then shoot back up, maybe even to 25 but then settle back down to that 17 to 22 mark.

A low reading indicates problems with the engine. Any seller who won’t let you do a vacuum gauge test, move on.

Vacuum gauge readings change with different elevations so check your instructions that come with it.

I would highly recommend that you try out your vacuum gauge on several vehicles in your area before you go used truck shopping. You will get a little practice with readings in your area as well as becoming familiar with using your gauge.

But that is it. You can greatly reduce any anxiety you might have from your buying experience simply by getting a vacuum gauge.