Truck Maintenance You Might Have Missed
Whether you’re commuting, hauling, towing, or vacationing, your truck’s abilities come with a price. Truck maintenance is critical to retain the power, torque, and fuel economy you expect. People used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but today’s trucks last longer than ever, and regular maintenance sure beats a breakdown.
Top Eight Truck Maintenance Items You Might Need to Check Again
Engine oil level – Your engine oil change interval may be 5,000 km, 7,500 km, or 15,000 km, but all engines consume oil. If the crankcase holds eight litres and the engine consumes a litre every 2,000 km, you might not want to wait 15,000 km for an oil change. Check and top off your engine oil every 2,000–3,000 km, or monthly, to ensure engine lubrication, cooling, and protection.
Fuel filters – If the fuel doesn’t flow, the engine doesn’t run, which means your truck is stuck! To maximize fuel economy and engine performance, replace your fuel filters every 30,000–50,000 km. On diesel trucks, replace them every 15,000–40,000 km.
Tire pressure – The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is only a fallback measure. Most TPMSs only alert the driver if the tire pressure drops several pounds, or 25 per cent, which is too late to prevent abnormal tire wear, load failure, or loss of traction. Check and adjust your tire pressure at least once a month.
Windshield wipers – If you can’t see, you can’t drive; and stiff, chattering, or cracked wipers can’t clear the windshield in rain, snow, or fog. Even unused rubber wiper blades will degrade and disintegrate from air exposure. They should be replaced every six months.
Grease fittings – Back in the day, mechanics knew that LOF service meant lube, oil, and filter. Today, many mechanics forget to lube because most new cars and trucks aren’t equipped with greaseable joints. Many trucks—even newer models—have grease fittings on key bearings such as ball joints, kingpins, and universal joint bearings. They should be greased at every oil change.
Brake system – You could wait until your brakes start making unusual noises, or until the pedal starts to feel strange underfoot, but by then it would be too late to prevent collateral damage and possible brake failure. The brake system should be inspected at least every six months for wear and tear and to ensure it is functioning properly. It’s wise to have your brakes serviced before winter. This should include descaling and lubrication of moving parts.
Motor mounts – Engine mounts and transmission mounts flex every time the engine and transmission torque, allowing for movement, absorbing vibrations, and reducing shock. Made of rubber, they eventually become brittle. Worn or broken mounts can damage wiring, hoses, tubes, or exhaust. They should be inspected every six months for cracks or leaks.
Diesel particulate filter (DPF) – The DPF captures particulate matter, or soot, before it can escape into the atmosphere. When the DPF is full, it needs to be heated above 600°C to enter its regeneration process and burn off the soot. This is a problem for trucks that don’t see many highway miles. You may need to get on the highway for 20–30 minutes to let the DPF regenerate before it clogs completely.
Some truck maintenance items are easy, like oil changes and diesel exhaust fluid refills. A notebook or smartphone app can help you remember manufacturer recommended service intervals, but a few items are often forgotten. Every maintenance item will keep you and your truck on the road for the long haul. Check out the fuel system services available at any of our 600 NAPA AUTOPRO locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on truck maintenance, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.