Here at BullRing USA, we know a lot of pickup truck drivers not only depend on their truck for transportation but for work and recreation as well. A truck is a serious investment. So it makes sense to do everything you can to help your truck run well for as long as you own it.That’s why we’ve come up with a few basic tips to help your pickup truck run well into its old age. Helping your truck withstand the rigors of time and stresses of daily use boils down to two basic principles Maintenance and Driving technique.
Proper maintenance makes all the difference
Keep your Oil clean.
First off, always keep up with your recommended oil and filter change schedule. It may seem simple, but it’s one of the most important things a truck owner can do. Most manufacturers recommend 7,500 mi. or 6-month intervals for this, whichever comes first. For older or high mileage trucks you might consider a more frequent change at around 3,000 miles. When replacing the oil, go ahead and throw on a new oil filter as well. Filters are inexpensive and do the work of keeping particles and debris from damaging your engine’s sensitive moving parts. If you really want to help your truck go the extra mile consider switching to a longer lasting, high-performance synthetic oil. Synthetic oil’s lifespans run much longer than their petroleum-based equivalents, often well into the 15,000-20,000 mile range. Make sure to take your time and choose a reliable manufacturer. Your oil is the lifeblood of your engine and not an area of maintenance you want to cut corners on. Look to your truck owner’s manual to be sure you have selected the right viscosity-index.
Maintain alignment, balance, and rotation.
Tires can wear unevenly for a number of reasons. Such as driving behaviors, alignment issues or drivetrain configuration, with front tires usually seeing the most wear. Tire rotation allows your tires to wear more evenly, providing a smoother ride and reducing the strain put on the suspension of your truck. Check your owner’s manual for suggested tire rotation pattern.Improper wheel alignment is also a major contributor to tire wear. Poor alignment also detriments your truck’s handling and fuel efficiency. Be on the lookout for alignment issues as you rotate your tires. Balancing your tires should also be done at the same time as tire rotation to ensure each wheel’s weight is evenly distributed around the axle.
Give your truck some room to breathe.
Your engine performs best when given a steady supply of fresh oxygen. Over time your air intake filter acquires a build-up of dust, debris particles, and other contaminants. Robbing your engine of its fresh air supply. Throw in a new filter every 15,000-30 thousand miles of use to improve your fuel consumption and acceleration, and most importantly help your engine last longer.
Knowledge is power.
As with anything in life, being informed is half the battle. Many drivers only consult their owner’s manual when they have a problem, but a good truck owner knows their manual inside and out. All relevant info regarding maintenance schedules, cleaning, and fluid specifications are included. While it’s great to handle your trucks basic maintenance procedures yourself, don’t try to do DIY everything. It’s important to know when to bring in the expertise of a trustworthy mechanic. Periodically have a reliable repair shop inspect critical components such as steering and suspension.
You get what you pay for. Pay for quality.
When it does come time to replace parts on your truck don’t settle for anything less than the best quality parts. Either from your original equipment manufacturer or from well known, trusted brands. Cutting corners to save a few bucks on repairs does more damage in the long run.
Ways to drive to keep your truck alive
Warm up! Don’t just wait around.
Allow your vehicle time to warm up properly on cold days. Contrary to popular belief, this does not actually mean sitting with the engine idle, until the thermostat slowly moves out of the cold range. Instead, turn your truck on and wait 30-60 seconds before beginning to drive the vehicle. Taking care not to push the engine too hard until it warms properly. This will allow the engine’s temperature to rise quickly maximizing warm-up time spent in the optimal temperature range.
Be a smooth operator
.Practice smart driving techniques, like limiting severe braking and aggressive acceleration. Faster takeoffs and higher speeds put excessive stress on your engine. The easier you can be on your engine the more reliably it will perform in the long haul.
Stop. Now, back it up.
On trucks, with automatic transmissions, you can put a lot of stress on the drivetrain if you shift into drive from reverse, or vice-versa for that matter. Even more so if you shift and apply the accelerator. Take the time to reach a full stop before shifting in either direction but especially into drive from reverse.Try to shift from reverse to neutral while still rolling backward, coming to a complete stop before proceeding to shift to drive. Making the shift to early means the transmission needs to accommodate excessive force, which causes undue damage over time.
Look forward, see trouble.
Watch out ahead of you to identify potential road hazards such as potholes bumps, dips, or transitions over railroad crossings and onto bridges. Actively avoiding these everyday hazards will reduce stress and pressure placed on your truck’s steering and suspension systems. This will go a long way toward extending the life of your truck’s original components.
Mind your speed.
Many states now have speed limits in excess of 75 miles an hour (here’s looking at you, Texas). This may be great for both drivers and passengers in a hurry to get to their destination. But that kind of speed can significantly increase wear and tear on your truck’s critical components. Higher speeds force your engine to pump and expend more fuel. They can also cause pistons and other moving parts to run at higher than optimal rates.
Following these simple habits and making a concerted effort to take care of your truck will save you a lot of money and hassle in the long term. You will also realize other benefits too, like improved fuel economy and less wear on critical parts. And the peace of mind you’ll enjoy knowing you’ve done everything you can to ensure your vehicle stays reliable and ready well into its vintage years, you just can’t put a price tag on that kind of thing.