A truck is just like most things in life – you get out what you put in. If you depend on this heavy vehicle day in and day out to deliver results, a bit of maintenance and care goes a long way. Although each truck make and model will have its own special needs, certain maintenance measures can apply to nearly every vehicle out there on the market.
Before you hit the road with your truck, take note of these maintenance tips to keep your ride running as well and as long as possible:
1. Keep Your Engine Clean
Dust and debris, which seemingly look insignificant, can cause severe damage when they enter the internal components of your engine. When your engine becomes damaged, you’ll need to spend money on repairs. If the damage is severe, the technician may use an engine rebuild kit to restore the engine in a like-new condition.
Don’t underestimate the importance of keeping your engine clean. Do the necessary scrubbing, degreasing and rinsing to make sure that your engine looks clean from the inside out.
2. Never Miss an Oil Change
Checking the oil is one of the most important truck maintenance tasks you need to do as a vehicle owner. Trucks have powerful engines that require lots of oil, and you could damage your truck if you ride it too long without checking the levels.
So, make sure to change your oil regularly. A general rule is to change your oil every six months or 7,500 miles, whichever comes first.
If you’re going to do an oil change, opt for high mileage motor oil for improved performance. Unlike conventional oil, high mileage oil contains additives and conditioning agents that improve fuel efficiency, dissolve any sludge in the engine and help prevent leaks. What’s more, the unique properties of high mileage oil provide your truck with greater lubrication, helping your vehicle’s components maintain an acceptable level of performance.
3. Keep Your Truck Tires in Check
Apart from the engine, you need to take good care of your vehicle’s tires. Here are a few considerations you should remember when performing routine tire maintenance checks:
- Tire Tread – Heat can make the rubber in your truck tires break down more quickly. If you have not yet checked your tire tread since summer, make sure you do this soon. Use a tread gauge to get this task done properly.
- Tire Pressure – Weather changes can affect the pressure in your truck tires. Underinflated tires can reduce fuel mileage and make steering difficult when you’re on the road. Keep your tires in excellent shape by checking tire pressure at least once a week.
- Tire Rotation – Your tires can wear unevenly – and your front tires typically see the most wear. Getting your tires rotated regularly, therefore, is necessary. You should do tire rotation every time you change your oil.
4. Read the Owner’s Manual
Too many times, vehicle owners only refer to the owner’s manual when they have a question about how a particular component might work. Everything you need to know about keeping your truck in great shape is in that manual.
So, don’t let your owner’s manual sit inside your drawer. Take it out and read it regularly, so you will know how to take care of your truck.
5. Avoid Using Cheap Spare Parts
Truck owners have a choice to make when picking spare parts. They can choose a cheaper but fake set of parts to save money – or invest the right amount of dollars to purchase good-quality components that fit well with the truck’s mechanisms.
Although the cheaper option may help you save money upfront, you might end up damaging your truck in the long run. What’s more, you could void your truck warranty if you fix your vehicle using cheap but counterfeit components.
Rather than settle for something cheap, purchase quality and authentic parts to help keep most truck problems at bay.
6. Keep a Toolbox on Hand
Having a toolbox in your truck allows you to conduct inspections, as well as minor repairs and maintenance on your rig. What’s more, it will help you fix your truck in the event of an emergency.
Your toolbox should contain the following items:
- Pocket Knife
- Wrench Set
- Brake Cleaner
- Tire Pressure Gauge
- Zip Ties
Whether you’re a brand new truck driver or a seasoned trucker who knows their vehicle like the back of their hand, you and everybody else could use a little truck maintenance refresher from time to time. Take note of these six tips (and don’t miss a truck checkup) to drive your vehicle safely, lengthen the lifespan of your truck and avoid preventable breakdowns.