Are you a new driver who’s unfamiliar with diesel truck maintenance? Or, are you an experienced driver who needs a diesel truck care refresher course?
Either way, you’ll learn all the tips you need to know from the following guide. This checklist describes the most important maintenance steps you need to follow to keep your diesel truck in excellent condition.
Specifically, we cover engine maintenance, tire care, and fluid, oil, and filter changes. We also explain how often you need professional maintenance.
All of these points are mandatory for maintaining your truck. Thus, it’s important that you read through the entire list so you don’t miss anything. Plan your diesel truck care routine by following these steps.
1. Maintenance Checks
Before anything else, you need to schedule professional maintenance checks every 10,000 miles or at least once per year. Regular professional check-ups are key for maximizing the performance and life expectancy of your truck.
Generally, at these appointments, the diesel specialist will check the condition/levels of:
- Fuel filters
- Air filters
- Other fluids
These fluids and filters will be changed/topped off when necessary. The technician can also detect many types of problems during these check-ups and then fix them before they get worse. Furthermore, you should always bring your truck to a diesel specialist any time your truck has performance issues.
2. Change the Oil
Your oil needs to be changed every 3,000-5,000 miles. You may, however, elect to check the oil yourself and only change it when it appears soiled. We don’t recommend it, though.
Dirty oil can cause severe damage to your diesel engine very quickly. It’s safer for your engine if you get in the habit of changing your oil every 5,000 miles.
3. Wash the Engine
Yes, you can and should wash your engine regularly. As diesel engines work hard and travel far, they accumulate a buildup of dirt, grease, and road debris.
This buildup hinders the performance of your engine. It can even cause dangerous engine fires that result in fatal driving accidents.
To clean the engine, open the hood and remove large debris by hand (branches, leaves, litter). Then, warm up your engine for 5 minutes.
Next, cover the sensors, power steering filler, alternator, and air intake in plastic secured by rubber bands. Apply an engine degreaser and let it sit for another 5 minutes. Lastly, scrub it with a long-handled brush and spray it down to rinse it.
4. Brake Maintenance
In general, your brake pads will last about 50,000 miles. You should always change your brake pads at this point, just to be safe. Furthermore, you should inspect your brake pads every time you check your tire pressure.
Aside from this general guideline, there are warning signs that indicate the need for new brakes. For instance, some trucks display warning indicators on the dashboard when the brakes need changing.
Alternatively, you may notice squealing, vibrating, or poor stopping power when you use your brake. Another warning sign is when your truck starts veering to one side.
5. Tire Maintenance
Always check your tire pressure before a trip. It’s a good idea to check every time you stop for gas, too.
Improper tire pressure can cause increased fuel consumption, excess tire wear, and blowouts. And the pressure changes throughout long trips as you travel from warmer to colder climates.
Also, check your manual for the recommended tire rotation intervals. Regular rotations maximize the lifespan of your tires.
6. Change Fuel Filters
Change your fuel filters according to the recommendations in your user manual. Typically, this should be done between 10,000 and 15,000 miles. If your truck has two fuel filters, change both at the same time.
This keeps your emissions clean and your engine efficient. It also keeps you from failing a smog check.
7. Change the Air Filter
Your air filter keeps dirt and debris from reaching your engine where it might cause performance problems or damage. Once the filter is full, however, it blocks the airflow to your engine.
When this happens, the engine must work harder to function. As a result, the engine burns more fuel and wears out faster.
You should be able to check/change the air filter yourself. It should be under the hood near the front of the engine.
Change the filter every 12,000 miles. If you drive where the air quality is poor, you should change the filter more frequently.
8. Check the Coolant and Other Fluids
Your coolant should be replaced every 60,000 miles or else it becomes too acidic and rots your cooling system. In between coolant changes, you can use test strips to test the acidity.
Furthermore, whenever you’re looking under the hood, it’s good to check all your fluid levels. Catastrophy can occur when you drive with insufficient oil, brake fluid, or even washer fluid. Top off all fluids before a trip to avoid accidents.
9. Tune Your Engine
When you take your diesel truck in for maintenance, consider tuning the engine. This ensures that your engine is performing at maximum efficiency.
Keep This Diesel Truck Care Guide
Don’t lose this important diesel truck care checklist. Keep your truck in top shape by following these maintenance steps.
Is your diesel truck in need of transmission and undercar services, electrical services, professional engine maintenance, 4×4 services, or other expert care? If so, let our Diesel Performance Specialist team help.
We also handle electronic services, heating and cooling services, engine & transmission services, and all other diesel maintenance needs. Contact us here to schedule an appointment.