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Are You Killing Your Truck: Protect Your Investment

June 30, 2018

truck driving in storm
In life there are few things more expensive than buying a vehicle. Especially when we are talking about diesel trucks. Whether you want to hit 1 million miles or want to enjoy your pride and joy for years to come, here’s a few truck maintenance and protection pointers on how to get the most out of your moving investment:

Starting off on an easy one: let’s talk tires. Over inflated tires wear suspension components, don’t have maximum traction and wear quickly. Under inflated tires hurt MPG, require longer stopping distances from the brakes and also wear faster than properly inflated tires. Keep tires properly inflated and rotate them every time you get the oil changed. Proper rotation will keep you buying tires in a full set, rather than in pairs which can be discontinued over time as well as the fast that two pairs of tires bought at different times will have different tread depth than each other.

Here’s where a little work can protect your truck investment big time, without even turning a wrench. Park on a level surface and with a rag in hand and the engine cool, open the hood and remove the oil dipstick. Wipe it clean, put it back in and then pull it out again to check the level. Glance over the radiator overflow reservoir level and the brake cylinder reservoir. Check the power steering fluid level, look at hoses and belts for any signs of wear or cracking. Check the air filter while you’re in there. Start the car and after it warms up, check the transmission fluid level. That might take a minute or two and only needs to be done once a month depending on the age of the vehicle. A $4 fix you might spot could save you thousands down the road.

Getting started. Your truck has been sitting for a few hours, all the oil has drained down into the oil pan. When you start the truck the oil will start trying to flow to all the parts again, but you should keep engine rpm down to a minimum to prevent excessive wear. Start the car and find a station with a song you like, check your phone before moving, it’s up to you; let the engine run for about 30 seconds (or more depending on your truck and the temperature) before dropping it in gear and driving away. This is especially important when you factor in our heavy weight oil, and those of us with turbos especially need this added precaution.

Pay attention to how much weight you’re towing and familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual to ensure you are towing safely and efficiently. While the occasional hard acceleration won’t necessarily damage a maintained truck, last time we checked there weren’t any spots open in the Indy 500 for a truck so there’s no reason to do it every time you drive. A common occurrence that you can see in any parking lot is when an impatient driver reverses and with the car still rolling backwards, drops it into gear. Come to a complete stop when switching between gears and reverse, there are plenty of expensive, moving parts you could damage from this constant abuse.

Maintenance time. If you have a new truck, odds are you’ll need to stop by the dealership and have them complete some of the maintenance so your warranty stays valid. Diesels typically have a warranty longer than gasoline powered cars, but if you don’t stay ahead of the game at the beginning, after the warranty ends you could get stuck with some pricey bills. Stick to the owner’s manual, get recall work done promptly, and keep in mind that products and services that are less expensive than other products and services are that way for a reason.

The fun part. Nothing beats driving on a sunny day with the windows down, a goofy grin on your face and a shiny truck. An occasional wash and wax will ensure that your truck does not rust apart from the reliable drive train that you worked so hard to maintain over the years. Wash the exterior, in the wheel wells and underneath, even in winter; especially if your area salts the roads. A clean, shiny truck will up resale value should you ever want to part with your truck. Half the fun of hitting those high miles is knowing your truck looks like it has half of what is on its odometer.