So you’ve got a new truck in the yard. Whether it’s new from the factory or just new to you, here are a few tips to keep looking and running like new for many years.
If your truck sees a lot of gravel, like most farm vehicles, do your best to protect it from gravel damage. Mud flaps will keep gravel from chewing up the paint and trim. Make sure to buy good heavy flaps and make sure they are mounted well. Some of the more expensive ones come with wonderful mounting brackets. It often takes a bit more time and ingenuity to attach the cheaper ones properly. Mounting brackets are also available for some models.
Some vehicles need extra protection around the brake callipers. Check with your dealer or other owners to see if this is a problem on your model.
In a perfect world we wouldn’t have bugs on the windshield. They’d just fly along the side of the road and keep out of our way. However, in Western Canada, they aren’t that considerate and tend to splatter on the front of our vehicles. A bug deflector helps and may deflect the odd small rock from your windshield as well.
For the radiator, a good screen is a must in bug country. You can just put some window screen behind the grill or buy one of those nice custom made stainless steel bug screens. The stainless grill screens also have the added benefit of cutting down air flow enough in the winter so you may not need a winter front.
Trucks are meant to haul heavy things. But heavy things can damage your truck box. You can protect it with anything from a sheet of plywood to a spray-in box liner. As well as plywood you can get heavy rubber mats and of course the plastic box liners.
I love the plastic liner on my truck because I can slide all kinds of junk in and out quite easily. Many people hate them for the same reason — you can slip on them and invent lots of new words when you land. A spray-in box liner is not nearly as slippery but it costs more — about $500 and up.
Depending on your needs some even heavier box protection might be in order. Box caps for the side of the box keep the top edges from getting the well used look. If you haul heavier stuff a good rack system with rear window protection might be in order.
How do you keep that new truck looking good? Some people like seat covers. Make sure you get a good set that fits well. Some of them are washable. I prefer to use the original seats and give them a good cleaning once in a while. But I do keep a temporary seat covering handy for the days when the grease gun explodes and you run out of paper towels.
For the floors, there are lots of nice floor mats and waterproof rear mats are now available for trucks, vans and SUV’s. Why ruin the floor if you can protect it for a few dollars?
It looks good, but when you put a load on it the rear bumper almost drags? The nice ride on the new trucks sometimes means soft springs.
There are various ways to improve the load capacity. The simplest and most trouble free are Timbren Load Boosters. They are basically rubber cushions that mount beside your springs and cost about $230 and up. If you want something a bit fancier you can add a complete air load boosting system that is air controlled and auto level — just like the big trucks.
It’s a few years old and not a speck of rust. Wait a minute — what’s that spot over the rear wheel? We’re seeing trucks under 10 years old with rust damage costing thousands of dollars. Completely unnecessary.
If a truck is properly cleaned and protected every year or two with a product like Rust Chek rust can be almost completely eliminated. The cost? About $200 for each treatment. About $40 if you do it yourself. Keep it clean and protected and it will keep its value.
Live in deer country and hit one every second year? Why not get one of those heavy duty front bumpers? They’re not cheap but if you look at the cost of repairs when you hit that furry creature it might pay for itself in a short time.
Or, if you’re in an accident and replacing the front bumper anyway, you can upgrade to a heavier bumper. Most insurance companies are willing to let you put the cost of the new stock bumper towards a heavier bumper. The one in the picture costs about $1,550.
Proper maintenance and protection for vehicles pays off in the long run. †