Top 5 Truck Care Tips
Run your truck hard, but take care of your new baby, too.

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You finally made the leap and invested in your dream pickup truck. Your service vehicle. Your mobile office. It’s much more than just a pickup truck. It also serves as your day-to-day workhorse, conveying you to meetings with potential clients and jobs where other prospective customers see it. Remember, you don’t get a second first impression. 

Taking care of your new baby so it lasts for the long-term is vital. You run your work truck hard, so keep these suggestions in mind to maintain its pristine appearance and preserve what might be your greatest source of income. Who knows, your truck might even outlast you if you treat it well. 

1. Regular upkeep

Regularly scheduled vehicle maintenance — oil changes and all-over inspections — tops most automotive experts’ lists to ensure trucks last longer. Should be a no-brainer, right? But regular maintenance can easily fall to the wayside when busy schedules, meetings, payroll, customer complaints and other obligations get in the way. 

Don’t fret. If you don’t already have a plan in place for regular maintenance, Kelley Blue Book provides a list of 10 handy tips for a great bumper-to-bumper inspection. Bonus: No need to dish out big bucks for most of these, so you’ll be saving money while keeping your truck in top shape for many years to come. 

Whether you take your rig to a trusted repair shop, hand over the keys to one of your mechanics or choose to take the DIY path, make sure routine oil changes are at the top of your to-do list.  

2. Be kind (Drive smarter, not harder)

Poor driving habits can take a toll on your truck. Quick takeoffs and short, abrupt stops affect the engine, brakes, hoses and expensive sensors. 

Aggressive driving like tailgating falls into this category. Speeding up and slowing down doesn’t help your truck maintain its cool and it shows you’re losing yours. What did your parents always say? Slow and steady wins the race. If you’re on an interstate or a highway with minimal traffic, set the cruise and enjoy the ride. 

City driving is a sport worthy of Olympic competition, especially when you have a long bed or crew cab. But keeping up with the general flow of traffic can safeguard against those excessive stops and starts. 

So when you’re checking how your vehicle runs, make sure to check yourself, too — your attitude and your motoring skills. 

3. Clean it up

If you’re not familiar with the effects of cold weather on vehicles, here’s an example: My normally white vehicle is currently a shade between murky dishwater and a stained coffee mug after a few refills. Thank you, salt and sand. 

Cold weather has definitely taken a toll on the Midwest this year — and basically all of the United States — as wind chill warnings recently stretched all the way to Florida. Vehicles couldn’t escape the effects of the brutal temps and heavy snowfalls. 

Regularly hosing off winter salt, sand and road grime make this list because something so simple can be easily disregarded. Running your rig through a hands-free carwash might seem like an extra expense, but the perks outweigh the cost.    

Waxing isn’t a bad idea either. You might consider this a cosmetic — therefore, unnecessary — step, but waxing your truck a couple of times a year can keep protective topcoats doing what they’re made to do: protect your paint. It’s just icing on the cake that your truck turns heads. 

4. The pressure is on!

Get out and kick the tires. You did it when you were scoping out that new beauty, so keeping tires properly inflated to prevent unnecessary or uneven wear and tear should be common sense. And, no surprise, correct tire inflation can save money on gas, too. 

Both underinflation and overinflation can significantly lower tire performance and cost you money. “Lower inflation pressure will allow the tire to deflect (bend) more as it rolls,” says TireRack.com. “This will build up internal heat, increase rolling resistance and cause a reduction in fuel economy of up to 5 percent.” 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, underinflated tires decrease gas mileage by more than 1.25 billion gallons of gasoline annually. 

Not only can properly inflated tires put money in your pocket, they can save your life. Low tires make your vehicle unstable. Instability means it’s difficult to maintain control, especially in inclement weather conditions like rain, sleet or snow. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report says one in 20 crashes could be linked to tire-related problems. 

Side note: Don’t rely on your eyes; seeing is not believing in this situation. Keep a tire gauge on hand to accurately check pressure regularly. 

Tires are often the most neglected part of a vehicle. The simple step of keeping tires properly inflated costs almost nothing and it’s one of the most valuable ways you can extend the life of your truck. 

5. Make some room

You have a garage at home, but you don’t see the need to park your rig in there. It’s just a work truck, right? Think again.  

An MSN Autos article notes storing your truck in a garage or under a carport or cover will make it last longer and be more pleasant to drive. 

Covering your truck also ties into No. 3 above. Removing winter salt, mud and road grime not only makes your truck easy on the eyes, it prevents rust and damage to the paint and exterior of your truck. 

Dampness and humidity are tricky, too. Normal lubrication for some under-the-hood parts is necessary, but moisture from rain or snowmelt is a whole other ball game. Moisture can cause certain components to corrode and fail, so take care to protect them from the elements whenever possible. 

Run your truck hard, but take care of your new baby, too. And while it may outlast you, you probably won’t keep it forever, so use these tips to increase the resale value when you decide to upgrade. 



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