Pickup trucks have always been built to last. They used to be the workhorses of America, and now they have become a global phenomenon. An American institution like the Dodge Ram isn’t just something you picture with Old Glory waving behind it while someone drinks a coke and eats a slice of apple pie. Now you’re just as likely to see a pickup in front of a Union Jack while someone eats fish and chips and drinks a cup of tea – it’s a Dodge UK.
Part of its worldwide appeal means that now a pickup has the versatility of being something you can used to move stuff around as a small business, but can also have the interior of a luxury car. Take the Dodge Ram 1500. Rugged looks and off road performance, but it also comes with dual DVD screens, bluetooth and heated seats and steering wheels. But with all this extra technology, is there more maintenance with a modern pickup?
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Manufacturers know that these cars are used as work and family vehicles, so they’re built to last inside and out. Still, you want to make sure they last as long as possible, whether you’re Dodge USA or Dodge UK. Here are some maintenance hints to keep your pick up running as long as possible:
- Tire checks
Tires are the part of your pick-up that get the most wear and tear, and they can be easy to forget about. Firstly, make sure that you have picked the right tire for the purpose of your pickup. If you are mainly working on uneven ground, or driving off-road, then you will want to use a different set of tyres than if you are driving mainly around the city. If you are changing how you regularly use your vehicle, keep a close eye on your tyres.
You will want to keep an eye on the recommended inflation levels of your tyres and keep them at that level. You may want to consider rotating your tyres too, especially if you often carry loads in the back that put more weight on one side of the vehicle than another.
- Engine checks
Pickup engines are built to last, but they still need to be maintained. Regularly check your engine oil and fluids like coolant, brake, transmission, power steering and windshield washer fluids. If you are an area with cold winters, you may want to change some of those fluids or use recommended additives.
While you’re under the hood, you should also check the air filter and spark plugs to make sure the engine is running at peak efficiency. You should also check for blown fuses, as they may cause malfunctions in your windows, dash lights, radios and other electrical components.
You should also adjust belts, hoses, drive belts and timing belts, replacing them if necessary. Also, don’t forget to check the alternator and battery to make sure that they are functioning and don’t need to be replaced.
- Check around the pickup
You need to check the lights around your pickup, to check for damage or if one of the bulbs has gone out. When checking around the vehicle, look at your taillights, rear brake lights, turn signals, front brake lights, headlights at high and low beam – as well as your reverse lights. Make sure your hazard light function correctly.
It’s also a good idea to keep your pickup clean, not only to protect your paint and protective coatings, but so you can easily identify any damage. Keeping the inside clean too will help to maintain the life of the interior, and its value.
- Check under the pickup
Check behind the types to make sure that there isn’t a build-up or mud, snow or salt that could interfere with the drive chain.You also need to check your shock absorbers, struts, linkages and springs for damage – especially if you drive your pickup offroad. Keep an ear out for loud road noise or vibration – usually an indication of damage in some part of the suspension system.
- Cold Weather
Maintaining a pickup in the UK in the cold weather is easier than it is in most parts of the US, as the winters tend not to be as severe. As a result, the roads aren’t salted as much. In the winter months check the cooling system, check your tires (or change them if you need to), make sure you have antifreeze in your wiper fluid and a fuel additive if you’re in a really cold area.
Remember to drive safe in winter, and check the underside of your check for salt accumulation – as that’s the thing that is most likely to rust and cause damage to your chassis.
This article was written by Eric White. He is part of the team at 51st State Autos, the UK’s largest importer of American Pickup Trucks in the UK.