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The Long Haul: 10 Tips to Help Your Truck Run Well In Old Age

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A truck is like most things in life: You get out what you put in. And for those who depend on their vehicle day-in and day-out to deliver results, a bit of care and maintenance goes a long way. While each make and model will have its own special needs (yes that means consulting the owner’s manual) with these simple maintenance tips, your truck can continue running like it’s fresh off the lot for years to come.

1. Never Miss an Oil Change

This one’s easy, but no doubt one of the most important things you can do to ensure a long life for your truck (or any vehicle for that matter). For older, higher mileage trucks, always change your oil filter when you change your oil. Be sure to pick up the best oil for your needs. There are dozens of varieties of oil and a wide range of high mileage options tailored to increasing the life of older engines, so be sure to consult your owner’s manual to ensure you pick the right viscosity-index for your truck. And then double check before you buy.

2. Rotate Your Tires

Changing your oil is a good time to check up on other types of routine maintenance too. Rotating your tyres each time you change your oil helps ensure an even wear—because tyres wear unevenly according to the drive train of your truck. Rotating them can not only extend the life of the tyres themselves, it can make for a smoother ride and reduce the burden on your truck’s suspension that can come from unevenly worn tyres. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended tire rotation pattern.

3. Keep Your Tires Balanced

When getting your tires rotated, it’s also worth having them balanced. A tire is balanced when the weight of the tire is equally distributed around the axle. With each bump, pothole and off-road mission, your tyres get more and more out of balance. An unbalanced set of tyres can lead to vibrations on the road and cause increased wear on your suspension as well as uneven wear on your tyres.

4. Alignment is Key

If around the time of your oil change, your truck is pulling to one side or the other it’s probably time for a wheel alignment. Driving over rough roads at high speeds and aggressive driving can both increase the likelihood of misalignment. If your wheels are out of whack, you’ll cause higher wear and tear on tyres, generally get worse gas mileage, and experience poor handling on the road. Getting your wheels aligned pays off big in the long run. Vehicle pulling can also happen when your tyres are unevenly inflated or you’ve got your truck bed weighed down heavily on one side. Inflate all of your tyres to the designated pressure and keep your load evenly secured and spread across your bed to reduce pull.

5. Check Your Lights

It’s easy to get into complacent, so that you’re only thinking about maintenance around oil changes, but monthly checks on a few basic components are worth the minimal time investment they require. That way, if there are any issues with your heavy vehicle, they’ll be on your radar before they become bigger problems. For instance, check that all of your interior and exterior lights are working properly. A dim light can indicate an electrical problem, while a burned out light can be dangerous and lead to a hefty fine. And while you’re at it, ensure your glove box is stocked with spare fuses—few things are as embarrassing as calling a tow truck when all you really need is a seventy-five cent replacement fuse.

6. Make Sure Fluid Levels are Up

Next, check out your essential fluid levels. The most important one to check is the engine oil. Just make sure it’s cool first, in order to get an accurate reading. Also, check the oil itself. If it’s dirty or smells like gasoline, it’s time for a change. Next, engine coolant. Truck engines make a lot of heat; this is what keeps them from overheating. Check the levels by popping the cap (generally identifiable by a warning and matching illustration indicating you should never open when engine is hot). Refill as needed with the coolant specified in your owner’s manual. Finally, check out your windshield washer fluid.

7. Give Your Engine a Breath of Fresh Air

In order to function its best, engines need clean air. Over time, air filters become clogged with dust, debris, and chemical contaminants. A clean air filter will not only help your engine last longer, it can optimize your engine’s efficiency and acceleration.

8. Know Your Driving Conditions

Routine maintenance and checklists can only get your truck so far down the road. One of the most important aspects of long term care is keeping in mind what kind of wear and tear you’re putting on your truck. Whether you’re carrying heavy loads, driving off road, or making multiple short trips daily, the way you use your truck will determine the exact type of maintenance you’ll need. “Some driving conditions require special maintenance, such as if you’re in a high idle situation or dusty conditions,.” Talk to Nutek mechanical about the best ways to care for your truck given the roads you’re driving on each day.

9. Stop in for an Inspection

If there’s one thing that can help keep your truck going longest, it’s knowing when to bring an expert in to regular inspection and maintenance.

 

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