Basic Pickup Truck Maintenance You Should Know


The key to motor vehicle longevity is proper routine maintenance. Whether you drive a pickup truck for work, outdoor adventures, or leisure, as a truck driver, it’s essential you keep your truck in good condition. Use this awesome maintenance checklist for the basic maintenance you should know to keep your truck working smoothly.

Check Fluids

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 and reduce unwanted truck repairs.

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.

Transmission Fluid

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.

Car Tire On Tow Tuck

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. Check your tires and tread depth often as a part of your vehicle maintenance.


Rotating your tires maintains even tread wear 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.

Underneath of a pickup truck

Check Your Hardware

Keeping your hardware in check is crucial for a proper maintenance check. Joints should be regularly greased and kept in good condition. Do this every oil change as a key step of your maintenance services.


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.

Check Your Electrical System

During your annual inspection or even on a more frequent basis, be sure to have your electrical system checked as part of your maintenance requirements. This part of your truck often gets overlooked when compared to the importance of your oil or brakes, but it is important to make sure this system is running properly

Get Inspections Regularly

Ford or other major pickup dealerships offer inspections. It’s important to get inspected regularly on a routine maintenance schedule. Think of it like preventative maintenance for your truck. You want to prevent potential problems, and regular maintenance will prevent some bigger issues and those pesky extra maintenance costs from occurring. This way, you’ll know if every part of your pickup truck is working efficiently with an in depth vehicle inspection. 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.

Follow these best practices for general and preventive maintenance! Once your pickup truck is good to drive, be sure to customize your truck with different accessories. Check out Specialty Performance Parts for your truck light kits and more. 

Basic Pickup Truck Maintenance You Should Know infographic