The pickup truck is one of the toughest and most hardworking vehicles in the world. It endures more wear and tear compared to other types of vehicles because of its versatility. Because of their sheer power and durability, trucks are often used for hauling cargo, off-roading, and towing.
Though trucks are known to be one of the most powerful vehicles ever invented, there are still many ways to boost performance and improve efficiency. There are many ways to maximize a truck’s capability, from routine vehicle maintenance to enhancing its performance with the help of modifications.
So how do we properly maintain a truck?
- Undergo regular servicing.
Have a mechanic check your truck often. They know which parts need to be fixed or replaced—sometimes, having a simple problem such as a clogged air filter or unbalanced tires can cause significant issues on your truck. Undergoing regular tune-ups is vital in maintaining your truck’s efficiency.
- Change old spark plugs.
Replace them every 30,000 miles. Check the owner’s manual to know what kind of spark plugs to use on your truck. Replace the spark plugs immediately when you see visible signs of engine deposits such as carbon, fuel, and oil. Worn-out spark plugs can cause engine misfiring, reduced gas mileage, slow acceleration, hard starting, and rough idling. This device is responsible for your truck’s combustion process. It provides the spark that will ignite the air-fuel mixture needed to produce engine power.
- Clean or change the engine air filters.
Dirty air filters hinder proper engine airflow. Doing a simple visual check on the filters will tell you if you need to clean or replace them. It is also indicated in the car manual what type of air filter to use and when to replace them. Vehicles with dirty air filters usually experience engine misfiring, poor acceleration, blinking check engine lights, and poor fuel economy. Emission of black smoke on the truck’s exhaust is also possible if the filters are clogged.
- Have a regular oil change.
Maintaining a routine oil change schedule is essential in prolonging your vehicle’s lifespan. Having a sufficient oil level and using the correct type of oil can cool down, clean, and lubricate moving engine components. Do a dipstick check on the engine to know the level and color of the oil. When a truck is overdue for an oil change, it causes engine noise and knocking, blinking check engine and oil change light, dark or dirty oil in the oil tank, exhaust smoke, overheating, and poor gas mileage. An oil leak may also cause a low oil level. When this happens, you can smell the strong scent of oil inside your car.
- Check your truck’s tire condition.
Owning a good set of tires can improve your truck’s performance. Some types of tires offer better traction and handling than regular tires. It is better to use the correct tires to make the truck capable of tackling certain road conditions. Always check if your tires have proper air pressure. They should not be unbalanced, overinflated, or underinflated. Underinflated tires cause uneven tire wearing, blowouts, and tire overheating. This is due to increased friction between the road and the tire itself. When your vehicle has overinflated tires, the ride is harsher and unstable. While unbalanced tires will cause the truck to pull to the side, the tires to vibrate, and the steering wheel to shake. This will lead to poor fuel economy and eventually damage the truck’s shocks, wheel assembly, and bearings. If you can afford it, invest in high-quality, branded tires such as Goodyear, Pirelli, and Michelin Tires.
- Lighten your truck’s load.
Remove unnecessary cargo if you can, such as non-essential items or accessories in your vehicle. A heavy truckload will be a burden on the engine, slowing the vehicle down. Maximize your truck’s horsepower by decluttering.
- Use a Fuel System Cleaner.
These are used to clean a truck’s fuel system. An entire bottle should be poured into the fuel tank when it is almost empty before being filled with gasoline. This removes harmful debris and carbon buildup on vital engine parts such as engine cylinders, fuel injectors, and valves. Experts recommend that fuel system cleaners should be used on trucks every 1,500 to 3,000 miles. It is guaranteed to prolong the engine life, improve gas mileage, maximize horsepower, and lastly prevent friction, corrosion, and rust on engine components.
What modifications are needed to boost the truck’s performance?
- Performance air filters and cold air intakes
Improve your truck’s airflow by making use of performance air filters. These are proven to be more efficient in filtering air contaminants than stock air filters. Cold air intake kits are also vital in boosting the engine performance by allowing it to breathe better by converting warm air to dense, cold air. When your truck has proper airflow, it has better fuel economy, horsepower, and throttle response.
- Aftermarket exhaust kits
Replace stock exhausts with cat-back exhaust kits that allow unrestricted engine airflow with its large pipes. They are louder and larger in diameter than standard exhausts. It is proven to improve a truck’s horsepower and torque. Some examples of popular aftermarket exhaust brands are Borla, Gibson, and Magnaflow.
Forced Induction Systems such as Turbo or supercharger kits bring in compressed air and jams it to the engine cylinders. This process is proven to increase a truck’s torque and horsepower.
- Lightweight tonneau covers
Some claim that typical tonneau covers aren’t proven to improve the MPG of a truck; lightweight covers such as soft-folding and roll-up tonneau covers do. With reduced drag on the truck bed, easier engine acceleration is possible. It guarantees improved gas mileage.
- Performance shocks
Aftermarket suspensions perform better than stock shocks because they offer improved handling and ride quality even in harsh road conditions. Some aftermarket shocks are adjustable and heavy-duty, such as HD shocks which are typically for off-roading rigs.
- Performance chips and programmers
You can plug these small electronic devices into a truck’s OBD2 diagnostic port. It modifies the vehicle’s ECU programming and allows settings such as ignition timing, fuel-to-air ratio, and turbo boost to be adjusted.
- Performance fuel injectors
This mod paired with a larger throttle body is a proven way to increase your truck’s horsepower and torque. Performance fuel injectors efficiently inject fuel into the engine’s combustion changer. With sufficient air volume and fuel delivery, the engine will have a better horsepower, torque, and throttle response.
You can easily improve a truck’s performance with the help of modifications and proper maintenance. There are a lot of available aftermarket options to help you boost its performance. You should also learn basic car maintenance. Learn it from a friend who’s a car enthusiast, a trusted mechanic, or through online tutorials. Always research to know what aftermarket modifications will suit your truck. Modifying and maintaining any vehicle is not cheap. It takes time, money, and effort to improve its performance.