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?
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 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.
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.