Basic Pickup Truck Maintenance You Should Know
The key to vehicle longevity is proper maintenance. Whether you drive a pickup truck for work, outdoor adventures, or leisure, it’s essential you keep your truck in good condition. Use these tips for basic pickup truck maintenance you should know to keep yours working smoothly.
To keep your pickup truck in pristine condition, you must check your fluids. Proper lubrication is essential to keep your vehicle running properly. It also ensures longevity and prevents constant repair. This will save you time and money later. You should check fluid levels every 5,000-10,000 miles. There are some important things to keep in mind when doing this. Only check on level ground. Don’t overspill—this can be just as harmful. Also, only use fluids that meet your truck maker’s specifications. You can find this in your truck’s manual. Keep these in mind to protect your pickup.
Routinely Change the Oil and Filter
Your engine oil is one of the most important vehicle fluids. Oil keeps your engine cool and lubricated. Without proper lubrication, the heat and friction from driving wears down your engine’s components. To check your oil level, check your owner’s manual. Usually, you will use your pickup’s dipstick. Wipe it clean with a towel. Then, stick it into your cooled engine to see your oil level and color. You should see a clear, golden color. Get it changed if it is dark brown or black. Black oil in a diesel engine does not necessarily mean it needs changing. You should change your oil more frequently if you tow heavy loads, drive for long periods of time, or drive in off-road conditions often. Similarly, you should also change your oil filter to remove dust and debris. This can slow down your engine’s efficiency.
This fluid cools and protects your transmission. Drivers should check their transmission fluid as often as their engine oil. Unlike checking your oil, check your transmission fluid while your pickup is running. Check your owner’s manual. The procedure is like checking your engine oil, except your transmission fluid should have a clear, red hue. It should be changed if it is dark brown or black. Another way to check if your transmission fluid needs changing is if it smells burnt.
Coolant is essential for protecting your radiator, which transfers cool air to prevent your engine from overheating. It is also known as antifreeze. Engine coolant has a higher boiling point and lower freezing point than water, which makes it especially important during the summer and winter. Check your owner’s manual before replacing the fluid. You should allow your pickup to cool for at least an hour before checking your coolant. Otherwise, you can get burnt from dangerously hot fluid.
Brake and Steering Fluid
These fluids are part of your vehicle’s hydraulic system that makes your pickup operate smoothly. Modern brake systems use a hydraulic method to allow your pickup to brake. When drivers press on the brake pedal, brake fluid transfers the hydraulic force to the brake pads, allowing your pickup to slow down or stop. Check your manual when replacing the fluid. Typically, you can see fluid levels from the outside of the container. If it’s low, then it needs replacing. You may need to check if your truck has a leak, which can lead to brake failure. It’s a similar process for your steering fluid. This protects rubber hoses and seals in the hydraulic system. Check your owner’s manual for its location and type.
Check Your Tires
Something to keep in mind is to check your tires every time you change your oil. This way, you don’t forget this important step. Tire maintenance is highly important to protect against wear. Tires wear unevenly, which can cause driving issues.
Rotating your tires maintains even treadwear on all four tires. Rotate them regularly to prolong their use. Rotating your tires also saves gas mileage and reduces wear on your truck’s suspension.
This is another important part of maintaining your tires. Each bump or pothole can leave your tires unbalanced, which can lead to vibrations. These vibrations can cause wear on your suspension. Balancing your tires will distribute their weights equally around the axle.
It’s important to keep your wheels aligned and evenly inflated. Wheel alignment is essential for keeping your load evenly distributed. It also makes handling smoother on the road.
Keep Your Exterior Clean
Cleaning your exterior will not only make your pickup look nice, but it will also remove unwanted debris from hitting your windshield or blocking your mirrors. This is especially true in the wintertime. Road salt is notorious for damaging your paint. Also, rust can form from too much debris or too many scratches on the exterior. It’s a good idea to check your trailer hitch and back bumper if you frequently tow heavy loads.
Check Your Hardware
Keeping your hardware in check is crucial for proper maintenance. Joints should be regularly greased and kept in good condition. Do this every oil change.
If your suspension is in poor condition, it’s under risk for sagging or breaking. Owners who drive long distances or tow heavy loads should inspect their suspension more often. To make sure your suspension is in good condition, check the springs for cracks. Tighten any bolts and check the shock absorbers for leaks.
Making sure your steering wheel works properly is extremely important. Loose steering can cause unwanted movement and loss of control. Make sure the ball joints are properly lubricated. See a mechanic if you still feel your steering is loose and unsafe.
Get Inspections Regularly
Ford or other major pickup dealerships offer inspections. It’s important to get inspected regularly. Think of it like a check-up for your truck. This way, you’ll know if every part of your pickup truck is working efficiently. Tell your mechanic or technician about any problems you’re experiencing. They’ll diagnose and fix the issue to keep you safe and keep your truck running smoothly.
Once your pickup truck is good to drive, be sure to customize your truck with different accessories. Check out some of our Ford Raptor parts if you’re looking for new light kits, mud flaps, or bumpers.