Spring is the time to say thanks to our hard-working truck for its great performance during the winter by giving it a thorough maintenance check. A spring checkup can help uncover winter damage while preventing unnecessary breakdowns during the peak summer season. Below are a few common sense maintenance checks that take little time and money.
- Batteries, Plugs & Wires: After a winter full of cold-morning starts, check your battery, plugs and wires. All of these components work extra hard when it’s cold. Winter wear and tear can compromise their performance up to 60 percent. Test and replace weak or old batteries, plugs and wires, especially those more than three years old. It will certainly be cheaper than a tow and replacement down the road.
- Tire Pressure: Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so make sure all tires (including spares) are properly inflated and balanced. Improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage.
- Belts and hoses: Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts, as well as hoses that are blistered, brittle or too soft. Belts and hoses older than five years, even if they look intact, might need to be replaced.
- Brakes: After a season of snow and ice it is advisable to inspect the brake system, including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid for proper level. These are one of the most used (and abused) components of your truck.
- Suspension & Wheel Alignment: Deep potholes aren’t friendly to shocks and struts. An inspection to determine wear or leaks can alleviate bigger issues down the road. Also having your wheels aligned properly after a season of tough conditions can help keep you on the road in a safe direction.
- Fluid Levels: There are lots of things to check but don’t skip over any of them: engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant and even windshield washer fluid. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of your vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly checked and filled.
- Engine Air filter: Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.
- Windshield Wipers: Spring showers and summer storms are upon us and properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in these conditions. Worn windshield wipers during adverse weather conditions are notorious for causing accidents.
- Check shocks and struts: These are vital to a smooth ride and could affect other parts in your vehicle.
- Check Headlamps, Tail Lamps, Turn Signals and Hazard Lights: Check that each are in working order and alignment to ensure safe driving, especially at nighttime or in rainy or foggy conditions.
Preparing your truck for spring and summer driving should be treated no differently than winterizing your vehicle. Taking a few precautionary measures now could save you huge headaches later.