Whether you just bought a new pickup truck or you’ve owned one for several years, routine truck maintenance is essential for keeping your truck in peak condition. Conducting regular maintenance will allow you to catch problems early on before they become bigger problems and really put a dent in your wallet.
Here at BullRing USA, we understand that a lot of pickup truck drivers not only depend on their truck for transportation but for work and recreation as well. That’s why we’ve come up with five basic tips to help keep your pickup truck running at its best for years to come.
1. Routinely Change the Engine Oil and Filter
Clean oil lubricates and protects your truck’s engine. Engine oil can easily become contaminated with dust, dirt, and debris from the engine and environment. When this happens, the engine can’t do its job properly.
You should always check your owner’s manual to find out how often you should get an oil change. For 2008 and newer truck models, Ford recommends changing the oil every 7,500 miles or every six months (whichever comes first). For 2007 and older truck models, Ford recommends changing the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months (again, whichever comes first).
Ford also recommends changing the oil more often if you frequently tow or carry heavy loads, drive at low speeds for long periods of time, drive in dusty conditions, drive off-road frequently, or use E85 fuel more than 50% of the time.
Just as your truck needs clean oil to function at its best, it also needs clean air. Be sure to change the oil filter on a regular basis to remove any dust and debris that would slow down the engine’s efficiency. Oil and filter changes are the most critical parts of a good truck maintenance schedule.
2. Check Your Other Fluid Levels
In addition to the engine oil, you should also routinely check the engine coolant, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, and brake fluid.
Engine coolant keeps engine fluids at a consistent boiling and freezing point. Keeping the engine at an optimal temperature is essential for the engine’s performance and for reducing problems associated with extreme temperatures.
The power steering fluid is considered a hydraulic fluid. This means it’s responsible for moving the various components of your truck’s steering system. Changing the power steering fluid can help prolong the life of other more expensive power-steering components, like the power-steering pump and the power-steering rack.
Although it may not seem like a big deal, changing the windshield washer fluid is an important part of routine truck maintenance. Dust and smears can quickly build up on your windshield, making it difficult to see. Routinely changing the windshield washer fluid is not only a safe practice, but it protects your windshield. A clean windshield is less prone to damage.
Like power steering fluid, your truck’s brake fluid is also a hydraulic fluid. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air, causing it to not work properly. This is why your brake fluid should be replaced with new fluid on a regular basis.
3. Rotate Your Tires
Rotating your tires is essential for maintaining an even amount of treadwear on all four of your truck’s tires. Rotating your tires on a regular basis prolongs the life of your tires. It can also improve gas mileage and prolong the life of your vehicle’s suspension components by reducing vibrations.
When you get your tires rotated, the technician will be able to look at all the other undercarriage components. This will allow them to catch any other problems before they get more severe and costly.
4. Clean the Exterior
Cleaning the exterior of your truck will do more than make your ride shine. It will also protect the paint on your truck by removing any abrasive dirt or dust.
Cleaning the exterior of your truck is especially important in the winter months in places where it snows. Sand and salt on the roads can quickly build up on your truck and damage the paint.
When you do clean your truck, don’t forget to clean the undercarriage. It’s just as important as the other parts of your truck.
5. Get Your Truck Inspected
A truck inspection is a little like an annual physical for your truck. An expert analyzes your truck for any issues. It’s important to catch any mechanical or safety issues early on. Getting your truck inspected can at times feel like an inconvenience, but it’s a critical part of maintaining your vehicle.
We’ve all heard the saying, “You get out what you put in”. This holds true for your truck maintenance as well. If you put in the time to take care of your truck, you will get many more years out of it.