Truck maintenance isn’t something that most people think about until their car or truck freezes up in the middle of nowhere, but it’s important to keep on top of regular maintenance if you want your vehicle to last.
In Australia, driving a commercial vehicle is a big responsibility, and the cost of running a truck can quickly add up. This guide will look at some simple but effective tips that you can use to help maintain your truck and save money in the process.
1. Keep Your Truck Clean
This seems like a rather obvious one. Still, we must stress that regular cleaning of your truck will save you time on maintenance tasks and reduce the risk of corrosion developing at an early stage, which can cause expensive electrical faults later on.
If you use your truck for work-related activities, then it’s important to keep it clean for multiple reasons:
- Knowing exactly where all your tools and parts are located (especially when they’re covered in mud)
- Preventing the spread of any dirt, oil, or other contaminants throughout your vehicle, especially if you drive on unsealed roads, which tend to be dirty
- Keeping good airflow around your engine bay so that components such as your radiator, air filter, and battery get sufficient cooling and ventilation
- Preventing overheating, which can drastically increase the risk of expensive electrical faults developing over time
When washing and cleaning your truck, it’s best to avoid using products that contain bleach or strong chemicals, as these can strip the paint from your vehicle and increase the risk of corrosion sooner.
Instead, use car-specific cleaning products designed to be applied via a wet sponge or soft cloth until you’re certain that all surfaces have been thoroughly cleaned before rinsing off with clean water. Remember to dry all components immediately afterward and use a portable wash bay to comply with environmental regulations.
2. Mind Your Fuel Quality
Using poor-quality diesel or petrol is a bad idea and can cause serious problems to your engine. For example, the lower the quality of fuel, then the higher number of contaminants it’s likely to contain, such as water, dirt, debris, and even rust. All increase the odds of corrosion developing at an early stage.
This could lead to expensive electrical faults, such as shorting out within your vehicle’s wiring loom. Always use good-quality fuels with low levels of impurities, no matter how often you drive.
3. Change Your Oil and Filters Regularly for Best Results
The truck engines in Australia are designed to handle a lot of heat and pressure. However, an upper radiator hose lies within the engine, which is usually the main source of most truck breakdowns.
It can get clogged with thick sludge, causing it to stop transferring the heat away from the engine. This will lead to serious damage in anything up to six months before you realize your radiator cooling system has failed altogether.
However, there are simple steps you can take to ensure this won’t happen:
- Use a good-quality oil and change it regularly (every 40,000 kilometers or so). Find out what works best for your specific vehicle as different engines may require different types of oil.
- Occasionally, you need to change your oil filter (more often if you drive in dusty conditions such as on dirt roads).
Meanwhile, a dirty air filter can seriously reduce the amount of oxygen and fuel getting into your vehicle’s engine, causing it to work harder than it should. This, in turn, will cause increased stress and leave less power available for pulling tasks, which means that you’ll be having a lot more fun filling up at the petrol station.
If you use your truck for work-related activities, then changing your air filter is really important. The benefits of changing your air filter may not be immediately obvious, but over time, you’ll realize that your truck is using less fuel due to the increased airflow. If done regularly, then it will also help increase the life of your engine.
4. Replace Old Parts Before They Fail
New parts are expensive, but replacing them before they fail will save you money in some ways as follows:
- Don’t forget about regular inspections of your truck’s lights (checking bulbs, lenses, and fuse boxes). Replace any of these three parts before they fail. For example, your truck’s indicator bulbs tend to get used more than most other car lights, so the risk of them burning out is higher. Keep this in mind when checking them regularly.
- If you change certain parts such as brake pads or cables before they wear down, then you’ll be able to repair them easier and for less money than if you did it after they failed and caused more damage throughout your vehicle.Unless you’re particularly experienced within this area, it’s best to leave maintenance tasks (such as brakes, oil changes, and air filter replacements) to the professionals because they know how to do them safely and properly.
However, if you really want to maintain your truck yourself, then consider the tips above and make sure you follow the correct safety procedures beforehand to prevent serious injury.