Vehicle maintenance is always important, but if you have a work truck, maintenance matters even more. Whether you drive a big rig on long hauls or have a small-sized pickup truck for carrying tools to work, every work truck is essential to its business and needs proper care.
Good maintenance makes the truck more reliable, and no one wants to have to deal with unexpected breakdowns, especially with the vehicle that is responsible for income.
These five tips are pretty straightforward, and they apply to motor vehicles in general. But, when you’re dealing with a work truck, you want to attack routine maintenance a bit more aggressively. Work trucks take more abuse than your average vehicle, so they need adequate care to compensate.
Manage Fluids and Filters
Any care you would give to a personal vehicle should be extended to a work truck as well. This means that you need to stay on schedule for fluid and filter maintenance. Get oil changes on time. Keep up with air filter and fuel filter replacements. Make sure the radiator fluid is at a healthy level and able to withstand sufficiently cold temperatures.
Check the transmission fluid schedule as well. Don’t forget about brake fluid, power steering fluid or the windshield washer. Make sure that every single fluid is managed according to mileage — especially since work trucks can wrack up mileage a lot faster than personal vehicles usually do.
Give Extra Care to the Tires
Work trucks are more likely to go off road and/or through construction sites than your typical vehicle. They also frequently haul heavy loads, so the overall wear on the tires is greater than normal.
- Check tire pressure weekly (and before every long trip). Stay on top of tire rotations as well. This will help to avoid tread wear that can make truck operations unnecessarily dangerous.
- Inspect the truck rims on a regular basis too. They are more likely to take damage or end up bent, and that is never good.
- Mostly, stay on top of tire replacements. The tires should be inspected monthly to check the treads and for signs of wear and rot.
It’s pretty simple. A clean truck will last longer. It’s easy to let junk accumulate in the truck. If it’s constantly on sites that make it dirty, it’s easy to forget to wash the truck too.
Cleaning the exterior ensures that you keep up the protective coating. This helps avoid UV damage and other weather-related problems. As for the interior, a clean interior lasts longer. It can also help with mentality while using the work truck. A long drive in a cluttered truck might not be as pleasant, so clean out the interior when you can.
Give It Shade
This is probably the easiest maintenance tip for any motor vehicle. Whenever possible, park in shade. Sunlight and weather eventually break down every vehicle exterior. Any amount of time the truck can spend in the shade delays this inevitable problem. If it can park in a garage, that’s great, but any shade is better than no shade.
Take Advantage of Professional Maintenance
Any motor vehicle should get an annual checkup, but work trucks might need a little more attention. It really depends on usage. Your truck should have a professional eye on it at least every year, but every 10,000 miles is probably a better gauge. If it is always hauling or doing heavy-duty work, you can shorten that span to every 8,000 miles.
It doesn’t have to be a state inspection. The idea is to get a professional eye on the truck regularly to stay ahead of emerging problems. Tune-ups and other routine visits to your trusted mechanic should suffice. If you stay ahead of routine maintenance and put effort into caring for the truck, it will last a lot longer. It will be more reliable throughout its life, and best of all, it will retain more value as it ages. If you need to replace the truck, that cost goes down when you can sell the older vehicle for more money to cover the transition. Most of all, a well-maintained truck is safer, and in any work environment, better safety is invaluable.