If you are someone who is reasonably confident about working under the hood of a truck and carrying out some regular repair and maintenance tasks it makes sense to save time and money by taking the DIY route.
With the availability of international truck parts online you should be able to get the items you need to carry out some DIY repairs and complete some routine maintenance as well.
Here are some useful pointers that should show you how to repair and maintain your own truck.
What sort of maintenance tasks can you do yourself?
Even if you consider yourself to be a reasonably competent amateur mechanic there are some tasks that are best left to a professional workshop, mainly because they will have the right equipment and tools needed in these circumstances.
However, there are lots of things you can do yourself. Changing the oil in your engine is definitely something you can tackle, but you might also be surprised to learn that a task such as replacing a shift motor is not as challenging as it sounds.
Other useful fixes that you can do yourself include fixing latches that won’t shut properly. All of these tasks would cost you more if you took them to a local garage, so it makes sense to tool up and learn how to rectify some of these issues without their help.
Make sure you have the right tools for the job
Certain tasks require you to have more tools and equipment than others. However, if you are serious about performing DIY mechanical repairs and maintenance there are some basic items that should be in your kit.
These include a decent socket and ratchet set. You should also have an adjustable wrench, a 4-in-1 screwdriver, a torque wrench, and some lithium grease.
It is essential that you have safety in mind too, so make sure you have disposable gloves and safety glasses.
These are just some of the items you will need and the best approach is to prepare for each task by checking exactly what you need before you start doing any work.
Changing the oil
A regular maintenance task that you can carry out would be to change the engine oil.
You will need to prepare by ordering the right type of oil, along with the correct gasket and sealer for your truck. Make sure you check to see if your differential is a limited-slip type. This is important to confirm as you will have to add a friction-modifying additive if you have that type of differential.
A good tip would be to purchase a suction gun and some room-temperature vulcanizing (RTV) sealant to reseal everything properly.
In basic terms, all you have to do to change the oil is to drain the old oil following instructions for your type of vehicle into a drain pan before adding new oil and resealing everything properly.
Changing your coolant
It is best to change your coolant after every 25,000 miles, or every fifth oil change, as a rough guide.
This is also a task that is well within your DIY capabilities.
You will need a 4-in-1 screwdriver, an air compressor, and a hose, along with a socket and a wrench. Make sure the engine is completely cool before starting this task and check that the coolant appears to be clean and the levels are as expected.
If you see any signs of rusting around the cap or floating in the coolant liquid you should get this checked by a mechanic. Otherwise, you will be good to go and your truck will be at a lower risk of overheating with the new coolant.
Changing your air filter
Another job you can do alongside an oil change is to check your air filter while you are waiting for the oil to drain out of your truck.
Check to see if it is reasonably clear of any debris and does not have any noticeable discoloration. If the air filter looks dirty and clogged you should change it.
With most vehicles, all you have to do is unscrew the cap that is covering the air filter and slide it out. Slide the new one in and replace the cap. This is a job that doesn’t take long and won’t cost much when you do it yourself, but it is time and money well spent. This is because a clean air filter helps to keep your truck running efficiently and allows your heating and air conditioning systems to function properly.
Give your battery a new lease of life
It goes without saying that you and your truck are heavily reliant on having a good working battery. That’s why it pays to include some attention to your battery terminals in your DIY maintenance tasks.
A sure sign that your battery terminals need looking at is when you find that your battery starts letting you down and doesn’t seem to be holding enough of a charge.
The obvious assumption when that happens is you might need a replacement battery. However, you could find that a quick DIY job could save you the cost of buying a new battery.
Check to see if your battery terminals are showing any signs of rust or corrosion. If they are in poor condition the terminals will put an unwelcome strain on your charging system. You can try cleaning the terminals using a mix of baking soda and water, using a wire brush to gently clean them up.
If the terminals won’t clamp tightly enough or you find evidence of green corrosion on the copper cable running to the terminals you could replace them quite cheaply. New terminals are a lot cheaper than a new battery and it should only take you a couple of hours to replace them.
As you can see, some regular repairs and maintenance tasks are easy enough to perform on a do-it-yourself basis.
Keeping your truck in a roadworthy condition doesn’t have to cost you a fortune if you are prepared to do some of the tasks yourself. When you consider how easy it is to get the parts you need online, what’s stopping you?