Any experienced truck driver will tell you that preventive maintenance is one of the most critical things to avoid a truck breakdown. Maintaining your truck's dependability also means maintaining its affordability. Let's begin by putting things into context. Consider how much it would cost if your engine failed while driving. That's a scary figure for anyone, but some good news is, you may cut your maintenance costs in half by keeping on top of preventive maintenance. Here are five suggestions for avoiding a truck breakdown and keeping your pickup truck up and running for the long haul.
Tire issues account for at least 25% of all truck failures. Prevent these issues by thoroughly inspecting both your underinflated tires (which are more prone to blowouts) and overinflated tires (which have poor handling), reducing fuel efficiency and tire life. The recommended tire pressure for your truck is listed in your owner's handbook, and this information is also usually shown on a plaque in the driver's side door jam of trucks manufactured after 2003. Keep in mind that truck tires lose roughly 1 psi every month. For every 10 degrees of air temperature change, an extra 1 psi is required.
Tread damage, cracks, and bald areas are all huge red flags. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the minimum tread depth for a steer tire is 4/32 of an inch. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) states that if the tread depth is less than 2/32 of an inch, the truck will be removed from the road until the tires are replaced.
Brakes are the second most common cause of pickup truck failure due to the constant heat, pressure, and friction they absorb. Be wary of these six "enemies" of the braking system:
Not sure how to keep an eye on your brakes? Could you bring it to a shop? Nobody expects you to be a mechanic, so ask for assistance if any maintenance activity appears too difficult.
Trucks have a lot of power, and a malfunctioning electrical system degrades performance and may cause damage to other components, resulting in expensive repairs. Keep an eye on the following: Ensure that yours is in excellent working order, has the manufacturer's suggested capacity, and is always ultimately charged. Defective batteries may cause severe engine damage or leave you in the dark. Prevent shorts, faulty lights, and potentially significant system failures by keeping battery cables and wire connections firmly attached and corrosion-free.
There's no faster way to ruin your pickup truck's engine than failing to maintain the oil and coolant systems correctly. Keep track of when these fluids were tested and serviced in your truck's maintenance records. Then, follow the maintenance intervals prescribed by the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). There are a few things to bear in mind:
Work with a service shop at major oil change intervals (every 10,000 miles), particularly if your truck has accumulated 300,000 miles or more. Professionals may examine how your engine uses oil, breaks down viscosity, or runs outside of OEM limitations.
Follow OEM advice and consult a professional for significant intervals. Keep track of the kind of coolant your engine needs (for example, Extended Life Coolant or conventional coolant). A visual check is also relatively simple. Take a coolant sample and examine it for clarity, color, and particles. Antifreeze concentration and additive levels may be determined using low-cost test strips.
Adhere to these tips, and you will be able to overcome expensive truck breakdowns in the middle of the road