Pickup trucks have always been popular because of their versatile use. They are used for off-roading, camping, towing and hauling. Although they are tough and hard-working vehicles they also have to be maintained regularly. Try to look at your car as an earning member of your family, because any ignorance and negligence can create unexpected mechanical problems and technical failures. So, proper maintenance is essential in order to enhance the efficiency of your vehicle. Also, it will surely expand your pickup’s lifespan and keep you away from unpleasant situations. Here are some ways and tips on how to keep your vehicle in good condition.
1. Clean your Ute on a regular basis
Make a habit of regularly cleaning the interior and exterior of your truck. For the exterior parts, you should perform simple tasks like washing and waxing. In order to keep your interior’s aesthetic value regular vacuuming and wiping will do the job. Cleaning products like wax and car shampoo can easily be purchased in any market so keep your ute/pickup nice and clean because there nothing looks worse than a dirty, rusty scarred car.
Always keep your tires well inflated. Before you introduce yourself to this habit check the users manual what is the recommended pressure on the front and rear wheels of your truck. Air pressure varies based on the climate you’re living in. When the temperature drops, air density increases, and pressure automatically falls. So, basically whenever there is a drop in temperature your tires will lose pressure. Always keep a watch on your tires and don’t always rely on the indicator on your dashboard.
3. Regularly change oil and fluids
It is important to keep the mechanical parts of your truck properly lubricated. Use the recommended oils and fluids which are indicated in your truck’s user manual. Use them for brakes, crankshaft bearings, piston and valve tappets. Regular lubrication will help you avoid friction and will keep the parts working at a normal temperature. This will increase the efficiency of your truck and will enhance your truck’s lifespan. Keep in mind that like coolant, brake, power, and windshield washing fluids must be kept at a recommended level.
4. Alternator and battery
Car engines work on a principle that is called ‘’ Internal fuel combustion’’ and the alternator and battery play an important role in this principle. These two crucial elements need to work perfectly and incoordination. Also, they power up the lighting system of your vehicle, so if you are having problems and your truck is losing power replace the alternator or the car battery.
5. Safety Accessories
Any worn-out accessory in your truck should immediately be replaced. These include belts, brake bads, hoses, drive belts, and timing belts. Regular adjusting and replacing these accessories will contribute to the safety of the vehicle and the person behind the wheel.
6. Electrical systems
In order to check your pickup truck’s electrical system, you will need assistance. Someone needs to stand outside the vehicle to monitor if the lights are working properly. When you’re checking the headlights also don’t forget to check full beam, dipped and spotlights. Apart from headlights, checking the indicators, park, brake and reversing lights is mandatory. Also, when you turn your ignition to the second stage, check if all the instrument lights are working on the dashboard.
7. Engine belts
From time to time check the belts between the alternator and the engine. Some vehicles have several belts for example if your Ute has a back tray and it isn’t a molded body than probably it has a hydraulic lift pump that is connected to the engine or it has a separate one. If this is the case then don’t forget to check on their belts and fluids as well.
If you live in dusty areas it is important to keep your air cleaner clean. You can do this by removing it and blowing compressed air through it, which will remove any dirt and dust. If the filter is too clogged and you can clean it using a compressor, there are companies that can do this for you or maybe consider buying a new one. Today, vehicles have air-conditioning systems that are equipped with pollen and dust filters so make sure that you check and clean them when necessary. Moisture and contaminants in fuel can make a clog in your fuel filter so it also has to be changed regularly and to do this you should check the manufacturer’s instructions. Changing the oil filter can get very messy so it is best you leave this job for your service center because they have adequate facilities that can collect and deal with all the waste oil.
9. Drive smarter
Poor driving and bad habits can have a devastating toll on your pickup truck. Avoid quick takeoffs and short abrupt stops because they can have a bad effect on your vehicle’s engine, brakes, hoses, and expensive sensors. Aggressive driving like tailgating is also something you should avoid. This is because speeding and slowing down makes it hard for your Ute’s engine to remain cool and it can lead to overheating. If you’re on a highway or on an interstate with not to much traffic just set your cruise control and enjoy the ride.
10. Don’t neglect your brakes
There is a saying that goes ‘’brake fluid is cheap and calipers, hoses, and sensors are expensive’’. So, make sure you change your vehicle’s brake-fluid at least once per year.
If you make this your habit then you will save yourself from having to replace more expensive parts. Basically, brake fluid is hygroscopic which means it attracts all moisture and we all know that moisture is the number one culprit in causing components to corrode and fail. By being dedicated to your vehicle’s brake fluid you will save yourself from headaches and financial expenses in the long run.
The shiny exterior part of your ute or pickup truck isn’t the only thing that should be maintained on a regular basis. Many people forget that the underside of their vehicle is exposed to an entirely different range of possible hazards. Most notably, the most common enemies of your truck are water and road salt, especially when they are mixed together. In time these elements can seriously damage your pickup with rust not just the bed panels but also the bed supports that are linked to the pickup’s frame.
If you live in an area where salt on the road is a must in winter then consider applying an undercoating or some other water-displacing films under your vehicle’s bed and chassis.
12. Tub liner
Often, heavy stuff is dropped into the tray of most pickups, and that’s how in most cases denting and scratching are caused. So if you want to protect your tray’s original paint from scratching and avoid further denting in the future then consider tub lining. Look for tub liners that provide access to the original tie-downs. However, keep in mind that tub liners are slippery to walk on and can get really hot in the sun. Also, they are known to create rust due to the condensation that happens between the plastic and the original steel bed.
13. Spray-on coating
People in Australia are one of the first to try spray-on coating. It has proven itself durable if the tailgate surface was vulnerable to damage. Today, several more companies have come out with spray-on coatings and at least one sells a DIY roll-on coating. Just as tub-liners it can get very hot in the sunlight but on the other hand it removes the possibility of condensation and rust.
Also, testing has shown that when heavy stuff is dropped in the tray, the coating protects the color very well, however, it couldn’t protect the tray from denting.
All pickup owners have a need to protect their vehicle’s trays from rusting and denting. This is sometimes difficult because pickups are hard-working vehicles and their trays are mostly used for heavy transportation. If this is your case and you want to avoid denting and corrosion as much as possible, there are a lot of rubber ute mats available on the market and you might want to consider purchasing one. These mats will protect the tray paint from scratching and denting and they allow an easy sweep or hose out. Although sheet mats suffer from condensation between the mat and the bed, the perforated ones have eliminated this issue and basically only have to be swept out regularly.
15.Cover-up with a canopy
If you want a whole new level of protection and security for your pickup than a canopy is the thing for you. They are available in composite constructions, steel, and soft covers and they will surely provide weather protection and a locking system for your tools and other goods.
They are highly customizable, which allows you to color match the canopy to your vehicle. Also, they are available with sliding, fixed or lift up windows. Canopies are highly versatile and for example, if the tray is full, you can just stack things on top.
16. Smart storage solutions
Today, modern commercial vehicles are equipped with ample storage doors and drawers. However, if you have your own vision than you should probably consider getting a set of universal-fit drawers or custom-fitted. They are available in a wide range of materials and can be used for various applications. These include top-shelf shelf storages, outback drawers, individual and removable boxes, and roller- element sliding drawers. Smart storage solutions will make it easy for you to carry your tools and camping gear at the same time, without mixing them up.
Also, removable boxes will allow you to safely take out your gear without the risk of damaging or denting your vehicle. These smart solutions will keep your road preparation and worksite visits more organized while keeping your gear safe.
If you do a lot of cross-country or off-road driving the bullbars are a must. This is because bullbars can protect your passengers and your ute/pickup from the danger of unpredictable animals like deer and wild hogs. Also, keep in mind that bullbars add substantial weight to the front of your vehicle and it will change its dynamics. Knowing this, you might want to consider getting an aluminium-alloy bullbar instead of a steel one.
Overall, there are many ways to maintain and improve your pickup truck and the important thing is to never be ignorant and negligent with your vehicle because as said before, your vehicle is a working member of your family.