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Stay on the Road with These Fall Truck Maintenance Tips

The last days of summer are coming to a close and the cool breeze of fall weather has begun, signaling a perfect opportunity for fall truck maintenance. The fall is the perfect time for truck owners and delivery professionals to prepare their vehicles for the upcoming winter and prevent any dangerous mishaps during the cold weather season. No one enjoys frozen fuel lines or metal corrosion in their pickup truck, stopping it dead in the middle of the road. Fall’s mild weather poses an incentive for truck owners to act smart and gear up their baby before the snow hits hard and it is too late. 

Follow these tips to protect and maintain your truck through the fall and winter months:

Check Your Battery Health

The summer heat and winter frost can cause extreme damage to the internal structure of your truck’s battery. In particular, cold starts during the winter are common as the battery produces less current when it is cold, severely impacting battery life. Since it’s between seasons, fall pickup truck maintenance is the perfect time to check the health of your battery. 

The best way to identify a weak battery is with professional test equipment. However, routine maintenance can be done on your own. If checking your battery on your own, please make sure to wear eye protection and rubber gloves. Avoid contact with corrosion and acid. Once you are suited up, it is important to clear any corrosion from posts and cable connections with a wire brush or cleaning tool. In addition, wipe away dirt and oil deposit build-up. If your battery has removable caps, check the fluid level and refill with distilled water on a routine basis.

Conduct Routine Oil Changes

A battery in good condition can be rendered useless if your pickup truck holds sluggish oil. Constant fluctuations in temperature can negatively affect your truck’s oil filter. As oil thickens under lower temperatures, a considerable amount of pressure is placed on the oil filter. A poor oil filter will not be able to sustain the pressure and is at risk of failure.

To avoid the deterioration of your truck’s core functions, make sure to change your oil and oil filter based on recommendations from your truck’s manufacturer. If your truck is frequently engaging in heavy hauling, more regular oil changes are necessary to maintain the cleanliness of your engine. During the autumn months, prepare for winter with an oil change. 

Inspect and Replace Your Tires

Just as oil is negatively affected depending on weather conditions, tires behave in a similar manner. Tire pressure drops substantially the colder it gets, causing all sorts of handling and durability issues. In addition, tires without solid traction during icy road conditions and rainy fall days have poor traction and can lead to dangerous situations when driving.

To ensure your truck’s tires are ready to roll on the slippery roads, check the tire pressure on your truck’s tires, as well as your spare, to ensure that they are properly inflated. Conduct the penny test by inserting a penny into your tire’s tread groove, ensuring that Lincoln’s head is upside down and facing you. This is an easy method to inspect tread depth, uneven wear, and cupping. Generally, if Lincoln’s hair is not covered, it is time to replace the worn tire. If you live in an area with extreme winter weather, consider investing in snow chains and a set of dedicated snow tires. Fall is the perfect time to purchase these items, so they are at the ready when you need them.

Improve Your Truck’s Visibility

The nights get longer as winter approaches. This is perfect for drive-in movie theaters, but not so great for safe driving. Nighttime darkness can be problematic, especially if poor vision is hindering your ability to clearly see what is in front of you while driving. Rain, snow, and ice tend to pile up throughout your truck’s exterior parts, which can cause an array of visibility issues.

To make life easier when driving on the jet-black roads, start with inspecting your truck’s lights and replace any burned out bulbs. Clean any road grime and insects from all lenses using a moistened towel. Make sure not to use a dry rag as it can potentially scratch and leave marks. Another important task is to check and replace your truck’s air filter as necessary. 

Having a heater and defroster in working condition is vital to clear any condensation on your windshield and windows. Check for working windshield wipers, replace old worn blades, and consider purchasing winter blades to combat against snow and ice build-up. Lastly, stock up on windshield washer solvent and always keep an ice-scraper and snow brush on hand.

Clean Out Your Truck Bed

The exterior condition of your truck is just as important as its interior functions. In particular, the truck bed is a vulnerable spot for fresh snowfall and slush. These can build up rapidly over the wintertime. What is a pickup truck without a functional truck bed? It is essential to maintain your truck bed’s durability by lessening its exposure to the harmful winter elements. Include truck bed protection in your fall pickup truck maintenance routine.

If you don’t already have one, adding a bed liner can help tremendously with sheltering your pickup truck bed. Bed liners are attached to the bed’s surface and act as a second skin, providing skid-proof and dent-resistant protection. 

If you want to take truck safeguarding to the next level, consider installing a tonneau cover or truck cap. These accessories are placed over your truck bed so that nothing can enter, which helps tremendously with shielding your cargo from the harsh environment. 

Protect the Underside of Your Truck

If you live in an area with wet winter weather, the roads may be treated with salt. Salt and water can lead to corrosion damage to the underside of your vehicle. Use the fall time period to ensure your vehicle is protected. An undercoating spray will seal any nooks and crannies in the undercarriage. It adds a layer of protection and prevents rust from eating away at your vehicle.

Create an Emergency Kit

Who knows what surprises you might encounter over the winter season? Despite taking all of the precautionary measures to maintain your truck, unexpected events do happen. While conducting your fall pickup truck maintenance, it’s a good idea to create or restock, your own emergency kit for unforeseen circumstances. We suggest including work gloves, blankets, jumper cables, first aid supplies, flares, snacks, and a flashlight. Keep this kit in your vehicle at all times, so it’s available in case of an emergency.

Trucks are built to last, but only if they are well-maintained. By following these fall truck maintenance tips, expect your truck to overcome any harsh obstacles over the course of the winter season.

Additional Resources

Check out these other helpful articles to get more information on pickup truck maintenance and care.

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