Honest John Vans: what to look out for when buying second-hand

Honest John Vans: what to look out for when buying second-hand

Looking for a used Volkswagen Amarok? Dan Powell from Honest John Vans tells you what to look out for when buying second-hand.

The Amarok – pronounced Am-ar-rock – was first launched in 2011. Back then it was offered with a range of 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines that were criticised for being a tad underpowered (which is why VW added a Bi-turbo option in 2012). However, if you’re buying it, try and find an Amarok from 2016 or later – these use Volkswagen’s powerful 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel.

The V6 is a real peach of an engine that’s packed with low-gear acceleration, which makes it perfect for towing and hauling heavy loads. The 3.0-litre was initially sold with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, though the entry-level models were eventually offered with a six-speed manual in 2017. The manual transmission allows a low-ratio transfer box for those wanting ultimate off-road ability.

Early 2018 would see Volkswagen add a 258PS version of the V6 engine, featuring an over-boost function that would ramp performance up to 272PS for short periods under heavy engine loadings. As a result, few diesel pick-ups can match the Amarok for outright performance.

How much should I pay for a used Amarok? 

A budget of under-£10,000 will get you an early high-mileage Amarok, though you’ll not be spoilt for choice here. Spend £10,000+ and you’ll be looking at 2012/13 models, with high mileage, the Amarok seemingly not living as hard a life as some of its pick-up rivals.

Above £15,000 and you’re into the realms of the three/four-year-old examples, with sub-80,000 showing on the clock. Spend £18,000+ and there’s a wide variety of Amaroks for sale, everything from people chancing five-year old models with 90,000 miles to sub-30,000 four-year old pick-ups. So shop around…

Is the Amarok good for builders? 

Yes. Typically, the Amarok offers a payload in excess of 1.1 tonnes, though the comfort-orientated Highline model with permanent four-wheel drive – rather than the selectable 4×4 as standard on every other Amarok – only has a payload of 750kg. So, avoid the high spec models if the payload and fuel economy is important.

Unlike some of its pick-up rivals, the Amarok was never offered as a single cab model. This means all models are double cab, with five seats and four doors. This means you get a 2.5 square metre bed, with a load width of 1.2 metres, allowing the Amarok to carry a single Euro pallet.

What should I check when buying a used Amarok?

As an off-road capable machine check underneath for any knocks, dents or scrapes. Also, check the tyres for uneven wear caused by poor alignment. If it’s got a tow bar, ask what it’s been towing, and how frequently. It’s a capable tow vehicle, but even so, towing it does add more strain and increase the wear on the drivetrain.

Check the oil, if the light on the dash has come on then walk away from the sale as it could already be too late for the life of the engine. The exhaust gas recirculation cooler is prone to corroding, and it can contaminate the oil, creating damage to the engine’s internals/cylinder bores. Volkswagen designed a new EGR cooler, check for excessive oil use, or smoke from the exhaust.

Finally, if buying a 2.0 Bi-turbo diesel, ask when the timing belt was changed. There have been reports of belts failing and destroying engines. As a general rule, we’d recommend changing the belt every 50,000 miles or five years (whichever comes first). If the seller can’t prove a belt chance (with paperwork or an invoice) assume it hasn’t been done.

For more van and pick-up buying advice visit https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/


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