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Maintaining Your Truck like A Pro
Owning any vehicle requires regular maintenance to keep it running steadily. Trucks in particular go through a lot more wear and tear from hauling heavy loads and plowing through muddy roads. When you own a truck, there are some things you can do that will keep it humming for a long time. Here are ten tips for up keeping your truck just like the professionals.
Know Your Blind Spots
Ok, so this tip isn't really about maintaining your truck, but by being a better driver you'll avoid scraping the truck's body or worse, hitting another vehicle. Just like you learned in driver's education, adjust all the mirrors if someone else drove the car before you. Note your blind spots and double check when changing lanes. Back-up carefully and slowly. You'll be glad you took the extra time to be careful next time a car unexpectedly pops up from behind a blind spot.
Never Miss an Oil Change
This tip goes for all vehicles and is no exception for trucks, especially older, higher-mileage trucks. For 2008 and newer models, oil changes should occur every 7,500 miles or six months, whichever is sooner. Older trucks will also need their oil filters changed during each oil change. While you're at it, check your owner's manual for the best oil for your truck.
Change the Air Filters
Maintaining your truck means maintaining your engine. Clean air filters will help your engine run more efficiently and extend its life. The rule of thumb is to swap out the air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles, more often if you regularly drive on dirt roads.
Check Your Fluids
There are a few fluids that help keep your truck running smoothly, checking them regularly will prevent small problems from escalating into pricey repairs. You'll want to check the oil, engine coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
For the oil, make sure the engine is cool so you get an accurate reading. Note the color and smell of the oil: dirt in the fluid or a gasoline scent means it's time for an oil change.
Engine coolant is extremely important in keeping an engine from overheating. Check your owner's manual if you can't locate your truck's coolant reservoir. Usually it's under a cap with a warning to never open when the engine is hot. Refill the reservoir with manual-recommended coolant.
Finally, while it's not entirely vital for maintaining your truck, it does help boost driving safety to ensure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is full.
How Much Does Your Truck Work?
Understand your normal driving habits. Do you haul heavy loads routinely? Do you go off-roading every weekend? Does your daily commute involve a lot of idling in traffic? Depending on your driving, your truck's regularly scheduled maintenance might need to be adjusted. Check your manual or with a trusted mechanic for advice.
Be Familiar with the Manual
We've mentioned your truck's owner's manual in a few tips, and that's no accident. When it comes to maintaining your truck the owner's manual will tell you what kind of wear and tear to look for as well as timelines for inspections and recommended service. Catching a problem when its small helps prevent it from becoming a hassle, and knowing your owner's manual inside out will help you better spot those small problems.
Space Out Turns
Trucks have a wider turning radius than smaller vehicles. Remembering this will keep your truck scratch-free and your tires from rubbing on the curb. Don't try to squeeze through a turn and be sure to allot enough space for other vehicles around you. If you don't, you'll end up being that guy who tried to make a U-turn, but needed to 3-point turn instead.
An inspection is like a doctor's check-up for your vehicle. Staying on top of routine inspections is an easy way of maintaining your truck.
Brake with Care
Trucks are heavy. Heavy vehicles need more energy and time to stop than lighter vehicles do, so plan to brake a bit earlier if you're used to driving smaller cars. Not only will this ensure a smoother ride, but it'll save your brakes.
Rotate Your Tires
Just like any other vehicle, regularly rotating your tires will ensure even wear and tear. Be sure to keep them aligned and balanced, too. Good tires will ensure a smoother ride and help upkeep your truck's suspension.
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