Owning real estate adds to your balance sheet, providing you with an item that appreciates over time.
Vehicles rarely work that way. Most new cars and trucks start to depreciate from the moment you drive them off the lot.
Yet there’s a lot of wiggle room for what your vehicle will truly be worth when you try to sell it. If you own a truck, preserving the value starts by performing regular maintenance and keeping it in the best condition possible throughout its life.
But what does that mean? How do you maintain your truck to preserve its value, ensuring you get top dollar when it comes time to sell?
This is what makes the most difference in keeping your truck in top condition.
Schedule oil changes regularly
Some basic maintenance items are more important than others. You can add “oil change” to this list.
Regular oil changes fall right behind “keep fuel in the car” as a fundamental need to keep your truck on the road. Yet many drivers “forget” and wind up with problems because there isn’t a direct reminder system built into your car. (Outside of your car seizing if it no longer has motor oil!)
Motor oil provides lubrication to many of the internal components within the engine compartment. To avoid damage and keep the engine running smoothly, it needs fresh, dependable motor oil present every time it runs. Today’s modern vehicles don’t burn oil the way they did a few decades ago, but trouble will arise if oil isn’t provided at necessary levels. It’s the lifeblood of the modern day vehicle.
There is confusion about what oil changes look like in a truck. While the 3,000 mile rule is in place for cars, it’s not as steadfast for trucks. The best way to find out what’s best for your truck is to read your owner’s manual and abide by manufacturer’s guidelines. Today’s trucks often need changing about every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
Monitor your tires
If you want to extend the life of your pickup truck, give the tires a little TLC along the way. This goes beyond replacing them when they’re worn down.
Trucks usually wear each of the four tires down in different proportions. Front tires may wear differently than rear tires. And it often depends on the type of driving you do. Do you head off-road? Or haul heavy loads? All of that can impact the wear of your tires.
In general, manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every time you schedule an oil change. This provides a more even wear process for each of your tires, and extends the life of a set of four to maximum levels.
You should also check tire pressure regularly to prevent under and overinflation. Underinflation can lower the flexibility of the tire, making your vehicle more squirmy when you corner or come to a halt. Overinflation can ultimately wear the inner tread faster than the outer tread, creating less contact with the road. Both put you at risk and increase your chances of an accident.
In addition to rotating the tires regularly, you should also balance and align the tires every other oil change to ensure ultimate control.
Keep your car clean, inside and out
Here in Colorado, a dirty car can impact more than the paint. If contaminants and chemicals accumulate on the undercarriage, it can break down various components and wear out systems before their time.
Have you ever seen a “brand new” truck that’s actually a decade or more old? Chances are it was owned by someone who took “cleaning” seriously. Washing it regularly ensures the paint isn’t harmed by chemicals eating away at the paint. Waxing the exterior is also a great way of sealing the paint from the harmful effects of the environment. And we have a bunch of them here in Colorado’s climate. Those UV rays will stay at bay with a fresh application of wax.
Don’t stop cleaning once the outside is done. The inside is equally important. It’s a great way to keep the interior finishes looking their best, and prevent rapid deterioration of vinyl, cloth, or leather seats.
Once the finishes are clean, continue by popping the hood of your truck and keeping the filters clean. Both oil and air filters on a pickup truck are a crucial part of truck maintenance.
The air filter is critical because it traps dirt and prevents it from moving into the engine compartment, causing it to lose efficiency and functionality. A clean air filter also helps prolong items like spark plugs and ignition, to ensure your car runs smoothly every time you drive.
If preserving the value is important to you, say “yes” to a new filter every time you schedule an oil change. It’s an easy way to keep it running efficiently every time you drive.
Don’t wait for a battery to die, replace it instead
Batteries typically have a lifespan of 3 to 7 years. But if your truck takes you everywhere from off-roading to hauling heavy loads up the mountain, it’s better to err on the side of replacing the battery frequently.
If the “check engine” light pops on, it could be for many reasons. An inspection will allow a mechanic to hook your truck up to a diagnostic machine and find out right where the problem lies. If the battery is weak, it’s good to replace it before it leaves you stranded.
You can also perform a physical check from time to time. Do you notice buildup on top of the battery? Does the case look as if it’s swollen? Do you see spots of corrosion? All are good indicators of a potential problem with the battery.
Batteries often quote several years of life, but once you move into the lower spectrum, it’s a good idea to have it tested regularly as it continues to age.
What do you do to preserve your truck’s value?
When in doubt, schedule an inspection. Allowing a certified mechanic to evaluate the various systems and pinpoint where problems lie is the easiest way to keep it running for years.
When was the last time you scheduled a maintenance visit? Make one today.