There are a lot of good surprises in life. A stranger in front of you pays for your coffee; you get a free upgrade on your flight; your waiter doesn’t charge you for your last round of drinks. But there are also a lot of bad surprises that can pop up. Your favorite show gets canceled; your sink springs a leak; a skunk sprays your dog.
But of all the bad surprises that can happen, having your truck break down unexpectedly may trump them all.
The good news is that many of the most common truck problems can be prevented with routine maintenance. So today we are talking about three of the most common truck problems and how you can avoid a bad surprise.
Here are three of the most common truck problems and how you can prevent them with proper truck maintenance.
#1: Engine Overheating
The engine is the heart of your truck. Truck engines are built to be durable, but they often cannot withstand extreme temperatures. Everything in your truck is designed to work within a certain temperature range. When that temperature is exceeded, parts like gaskets and hoses can melt and fall apart. All trucks have cooling systems which aim to prevent this, but if this system isn’t working properly it could spell disaster for your engine.
What causes a truck to overheat?
If your truck overheats, you want to pull over immediately and wait for a while until your engine cools down. Don’t pop the hood until it has had the chance to cool a bit–you could seriously hurt yourself. When it’s safe, you can take a look at the engine to figure out what’s gone wrong specifically. Here are a few common reasons.
- Not enough coolant
- Cooling system leak
- Blocked hoses caused by mineral deposits or corrosion
- Broken water pump
- Not enough oil
- Problems with the radiator
- Defective hose or belt
- Blown head gasket
- Air trapped in the lines
You may be able to quickly determine what the problem is. Is there coolant spraying around everywhere? Is there a broken hose? If you cannot figure it out, it’s best to take it to a licensed mechanic to diagnose.
Try to decide if the situation warrants a tow or not. If you decide to drive home, be smart about it. Turn the heat on, which will help get rid of some of the heat. It won’t cool your engine down fully but it may help. Be sure to open your windows as well to further cool things down.
How can I prevent overheating?
Proper maintenance can help you avoid overheating in the future. It’s important to check your fluid levels. Make sure your car always has oil and coolant and top off when necessary. Flushing your coolant regularly will also help ensure your cooling system runs properly.
In addition to maintenance, try to avoid running your AC nonstop. This can put added stress on your engine. Keeping a bottle of antifreeze and a gallon of water in your truck is a good idea to help in a pinch if your truck does overheat.
#2: Suspension Issues
Modern pickup trucks are handling a lot more weight than they ever used to. And with that additional weight comes additional stress on the pickup's body and suspension system.
A suspension system is all of the parts that support the pickup on the road. It works to maximize the amount of friction between the tires and the road, creating a smoother ride. A suspension system helps keep the ride comfortable from bumps and potholes while making sure the handling is also smooth as you navigate turns, acceleration, and braking.
If a suspension system is not working correctly, it can lead to other issues.
- There is an increased chance of a rollover
- Your truck will be difficult to control in an emergency
- You can cause damage to your vehicle (which can include bent drive shaft, bent control arms, sheared tie rods, transmission failure, or a dead differential)
A suspension system has many parts to it. If your suspension isn’t working correctly it could be from any of the following issues.
- Shock absorbers
- Coil springs
- Ball joint
- Strut mount/ bearings
- Control arms
If any of these parts are worn away, corroded, misaligned, or broken, your suspension can feel off and you are at a higher risk for further complications. It is recommended that you get your suspension parts replaced every 50,000 to 100,000 miles. If your truck is hitting that mileage number it’s a good idea to get your suspension system inspected and replace any parts before you have an issue.
#3: Braking Issues
Your truck’s brakes are immeasurably important. Brakes are your number one line of defense when driving. Brake failure can occur for a number of reasons, but improper maintenance is at the top of the list.
Issues with brakes can arise for a number of reasons, but the more stress you put on your brakes, the more frequently they will need to be serviced. The following can put extra stress on your brake system:
- Driving on hills with sharp turns
- City stop-and-go
- Driving in a mountainous or hilly area
- Using cheap brake pads and brake parts
Brake maintenance is recommended every 20,000 to 60,000 miles depending on how aggressively you use your brakes. You may need brake service if you notice the following:
- You hear strange noises
- Your truck starts pulling one way
- You feel a vibration or pulsing when you apply pressure on the brakes
Brake maintenance can help ensure these problems don’t arise in the first place. Maintenance at the very least should include replacing your brake pads and changing your brake fluid. It is a good idea to have the brake system fully inspected to prevent additional problems. A certified mechanic can:
- Remove the caliper and fully clean and relubricate everything
- Replace the rotor as needed
- Replace the caliper as needed
Keeping your truck brakes well maintained can help prevent further issues and can even save your life. This is one area of truck maintenance where you definitely don’t want to drop the ball.
Those are three of the most common problems that trucks can have and what you can do to keep your truck on the road.
Maintenance is an important part of truck ownership, so creating and sticking to a maintenance schedule is very important.
Maintaining your automotive budget is also an important task, and refinancing your truck loan is a great way to keep some extra money in your pocket. Refinancing to a lower APR can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Don’t wait–contact Auto Approve today to see how much money you can save!