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Four Wheel Thrive: Getting the Most Out of Your Truck
4 min read
Extend the life of your truck with these maintenance tips.
Why do you love your truck? Is it the durability? Or the ability to haul everything you need for a home improvement project?
Maybe you like sitting up higher and having four-wheel drive when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Whatever the case may be, you can take a few steps to extend the life of your favorite ride.
Get the most out of your truck with these maintenance tips.
Maintenance Tips for Trucks of Every Age
Check the Engine Oil and Filter
When oil turns to sludge, bad things happen to your engine.
Your oil filter helps remove dust, debris and other contaminants that can build up in your engine. To be on the safe side, change your oil filter every time you change your oil.
But when should you change your oil? Every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, or every six months (whichever comes first).
You might want to check the oil more often if you regularly drive off-road or haul heavy loads.
Know Which Fluids to Check
You know all about oil, but you should check these fluids, too:
- Power steering fluid – once every month.
- Engine coolant – every two weeks.
- Windshield washer fluid – once every month.
- Brake fluid – every time you change your oil.
- Transmission fluid – every time you change your oil.
Rotate the Tires
Rotating your tires helps them wear more evenly, and doing this could extend their life.
Michelin recommends rotating your truck tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles or every six months. You could do this every time you change your oil.
Check Tire Pressure
Tires with low pressure burn more fuel, and they can drain engine power.
Do you know where to find the recommended tire pressure for your truck? You should be able to find it on a sticker inside the door jamb or in your owner’s manual.
It’s easy to check your PSI every week. PSI gauges are cheap, too.
Pay close attention to tire pressure throughout summer and winter. Goodyear says extreme cold can cause tire PSI to drop, while extreme heat can cause PSI to rise.
What happens when your front end alignment drifts over time? Your tires roll slightly sideways instead of straight. Just like low tire pressure, a misalignment puts more strain on your engine.
That’s why you should check your truck’s alignment at least once every year.
Give It a Wash
Here are the benefits of washing your truck, courtesy of Motor Biscuit:
- Preserves the exterior finish.
- Keeps salt and other substances from building up below the vehicle.
- Improves safety with higher visibility (no dirty windows).
- Gives you a chance to check for other issues like loose wires.
Maintenance Tips for Older Trucks
You have to pay closer attention to your health as you age. The same rule applies to your truck.
If you have an older truck, keep a close watch on the following maintenance areas.
Don’t Ignore Those Squeaky Brakes
There are clear signs your truck needs new brakes (see: screeching, grinding, and a spongy brake pedal). Brake pads last anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 miles, according to Advance Auto Parts.
There are calipers and rotors to consider, too. They can become warped as you rack up miles. It’s a good rule of thumb to check all brake components every six months.
Monitor Your Shocks and Struts
Bad shocks and struts can cause uneven tire wear, long stopping distances, and a harsh ride. They present very serious safety hazards, too.
Les Schwab says, “If ride control parts like shocks and struts are worn, they may not properly respond. Then the crash prevention systems can’t function as designed, and you have less control behind the wheel.”
Look for Fluid Leaks and Overuse of Oil
As your truck’s engine ages, it tends to use more oil. Oil leaks also become more likely with age. That’s why it’s important to check fluid levels between oil changes.
Whether it’s a ’57 Chevy or a new Ford, Pekin Insurance has the right coverage for your truck. Talk to your local, licensed Pekin Insurance agent about finding the perfect plan for your favorite ride.