Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (Pacific Northwest)

    Ok, I know we have covered some of this already, but it really is that important! Getting your truck ready for winter means taking some very specific steps if you live in the Pacific Northwest. Failure to plan ahead for the cold months can cause failure to systems in your vehicle.

    What sort of steps should you take to get your truck ready for winter?

    Antifreeze

    Your coolant does not need to be changed every year, but it should have the level and the temperature range checked. If the mixture is not right, adjust it accordingly. The old standby of 50/50 water and antifreeze is not always accurate, so check your owner’s manual.  Make sure to not mix types of coolant. An easy way to keep it straight is to not mix colors.

    Other fluids should be check at this time as well. Differentials, transfer case, brake fluid (should be changed every 2 years) and washer fluid … Always washer fluid!

    Change your oil every 3 months or at the recommended mileage. Heat breaks down oil, and it can become gummy or watery. When this happens, it can’t lubricate properly. The longer it's in the engine, the dirtier it gets. Replacing old oil with new fixes all these problems. The fresh oil lubricates and cools the engine better. When you flush the old oil out, you also flush away the dirt and grit. Make sure to replace the filter at the same time. There is no better thing you can do for your engine.

    Tune Up & Filters

    Most newer trucks don’t need a tune up as often as older trucks, but this is the time to check. Check your mileage and compare it to the recommended schedule. While you are under the hood, check all the filters. Air, fuel, breather and your PVC valve (if equipped). Change if needed.

    Electrical System

    Electrical systems can freeze if they are in bad shape once the frost settles in. It is smart to have your battery and electrical systems checked out as winter arrives. Most parts stores will perform tests for free. Take advantage of the service before it gets too cold out.

    Tires

    Check and rotate your tires. The air pressure in your tires will change with the changing temperatures, and to keep your fuel mileage at its best, keep your tires filled to the specification listed on your door tag (not on the tire). Rotating them regularly will help get the most miles out of them. While your tires are off, have your brakes checked. This is also the right time to have your alignment checked and corrected if needed. This will show if you need any front suspension work, and may save your tires as well. Now is also the time to check your snow chains, try them on and don’t forget about the tensioners.

    Don’t let your truck down, and it won’t let you down. Keep in mind, check your owner’s manual for specific times and mileage intervals for any questions you have. There is a maintenance schedule listed, and should be followed to the letter.

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (Southwest)

    Getting your truck ready for winter in the southwest is tough … depending where you are, and where you are going, you need to be ready for anything and everything. Where else can you go for a drive, leave in 80 degree weather, catch a major rain storm, and finish the day off in a blizzard?

    Yep, fun stuff right there.

    So, this should be easy … Just buy a new truck every year and stock it with cool stuff. There, problem solved - unless you can’t buy a new truck every year.

    Ok, it really is kind of basic at this point. Good tires are always at the top of the list. The issue here is you may have great tires, but can still find yourself in a situation that your tires are not ready for. Pay attention to where you are going, and keep in mind what you are set up for.

    Get the Right Accessories

    This is not only for you, but for the people that are inevitably not as prepared as you. You may have to help them, if for no other reason than to get them out of the way.

    Time for the truck box check list:

    • Tow rope. Check to make sure there are no cuts or frays. Replace it if needed.
    • Tire chains and tensioners. Check for broken links and cracked tensioners.
    • Shovel.
    • Tarp.
    • Kitty litter.
    • Washer fluid. Maybe two.
    • A good jack.
    • Basic hand tools.
    • These items could make the difference between almost making it home, and being home.

    Prepare Your Truck

    • Time for the oil change. Use the recommended winter weight, this makes it easier on the engine when it’s cold. I know we cover this a lot, but it really is the best thing you can do for your vehicle. Don’t skimp on it, good oil and good filters are always worth the cost. Synthetic is always nice.
    • Transmission fluid should be checked at this point. Check the color, is it brownish? It might be time for a change.
    • Check all of your u-joints, they tend to snap at the worst possible times.
    • Check the antifreeze. It’s called antifreeze for a reason, make sure its protecting down to the temperature you expect to be in. Remember, it’s also called coolant. Check it.
    • Check your differentials for play, and top off the fluid if needed.
    • Check the brakes. A simple check can save money and a life. Brakes are the most important system on your truck. If it doesn’t start, no one gets hurt. If it doesn’t stop, well…
    • Check your windshield for cracks and chips, swap out those old wipers and top off the washer fluid, and you should be ready to roll.

    Have fun, be safe, and be smart. Enjoy your truck this winter!

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