Keep Your Brute on the Road

01.03.16 - 2016 Ford F-150

Whether you just purchased a new truck or you have bought a great used model there are many things you need to do in order to keep your truck running right and on the road for a long time.  Trucks like the Ford F-150 and others are made to be rugged and tough from every vantage point, but they do need your loving car in order to be able to continue to perform for you.  With these tips you should be able to enjoy your truck for many years and see just how many hundreds of thousands of miles you can put on your trusty steed

Oil Change – Simply don’t miss them.  You need to have fresh oil running through your truck and thankfully most trucks can last longer on the oil than cars making this an activity you perform a little less.  When you change the oil make sure you also change the oil filter and once your truck is considered a high mileage truck you should change to the right high mileage oil for you.  Consulting your owner’s manual will help with this activity to ensure you have the right oil for the job.  Stay on schedule and let your truck stay freshly and properly lubricated.

Rotate the Tires – When you change the oil, go ahead and rotate your tires at the same time.  This not only helps to ensure your tires wear evenly but it also helps to protect suspension parts that need to work for you every single day.  If you use your truck for work the front tires will typically wear faster than the rear ones.  This also gives you the opportunity to spot any alignment issues that are present when you rotate your tires.  The rotation patter is usually pretty simple, but check your owner’s manual to ensure you know exactly what to do.

Balanced Tires – Tire balancing is important to ensure you keep wear and tear off your suspension as much as possible.  Yes your truck is meant to handle rugged and tough terrain, but you also need to make sure everything can continue to work properly and having a balanced set of tires is one way to help protect these important items.  A tire is balanced when the weight is evenly distributed around the axle.  You will know when your tires are out of balance because of the added vibration and road noise that you will hear while driving.

Alignment – Pay attention when driving to what your vehicle is doing.  When you take your hands off the steering wheel does your truck pull to one side?  If it does then you need to have an alignment done to put your wheels back to following a straight line.  A poorly aligned vehicle will cause tires to wear improperly, return poor gas mileage and be harder to handle on the road.  Having a truck usually means hauling cargo and you will want to have a properly aligned vehicle in order to give yourself the best performance when carrying a load of any material with you.

Lights – Maintenance is a huge part of keeping your truck on the road and one thing you should check on a regular basis is your lights.  Look for dim lights and burnt out bulbs to make sure you aren’t pulled over for a headlight or taillight that has burned out.  Keeping a few fuses in the glove box is a good way to avoid a hefty tow truck bill when all you need is a part that costs less than five dollars.  Pay attention to your truck, especially as it ages and make sure you change wiring when needed to keep it in good working order.

Fluids – Some vehicles, including trucks can have a tendency to overheat or become low on fluids.  Check all fluids on a regular basis and make sure you have them at the proper level.  This needs to be a habit for trucks that are older, but keeping the fluids at the proper level and understanding warning signs when it comes to your truck will help you keep it running much longer than other models on the road.  It’s a good idea to carry a jug of some of the fluids you use most such as coolant, wiper fluid and oil to make sure you aren’t stranded without these items.

Air Filter – The air filter does not need to be changed at every oil change, but it should be changed every 15,000 to 30,000 miles depending upon your driving conditions.  Having a clean air filter installed on a regular basis helps to improve the acceleration of your engine and in some older models it actually affects the efficiency as well.  This is a simple piece of equipment that can be a possible life saver for your truck, allowing it to enjoy the fresh air through the air filter.

Know Your Ride – Where do you drive your truck?  How do you use your truck?  If you use your truck in an extreme manner in the outdoors carrying heavy loads on dirty areas you will need to perform routine and regular maintenance more often.  On the other hand if your truck is part of the arsenal of family haulers and only has to carry a load once in a while you can stick to the recommended maintenance schedule and be able to enjoy optimal performance from your favorite ride.

Inspection – Even if you perform most of the maintenance on your truck yourself at times it’s a good idea to take advantage of the inspection features offered by a professional or dealership.  By having a full checkup performed on your truck you can enjoy the smooth riding with confidence for a longer time.  A professional can let you know what items you have that are wearing out and need replaced soon along with the ones that need to be taken care of right away.  This full look at your vehicle will help you keep your truck on the road for many more miles of great driving.

Read It – It’s a good idea to read the owner’s manual for your vehicle to learn what you need to know about maintaining your vehicle and what levels things should be at.  This book is a comprehensive information reference for your truck and is chock full of what you need to know including checklists for maintenance and fluid levels.  Read through the manual when you buy your truck and stick to the recommended schedules and you will have a truck that will perform optimally for you for many years to come.

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