Pickup trucks may look rugged and powerful, but they are not invincible. Since they are often used for heavy-duty use cases, they are bound to break down occasionally. Periodic checks and maintenance are the best way to reduce the risk of facing some common pickup truck problems. Unfortunately, due to their versatile nature, most truck owners need their trucks for daily activities. As a result, it is easy to forget or skip maintenance appointments.
As a pickup truck owner, you have invested a lot of money to get your truck. You will want to keep your truck in perfect condition always. As such, you need to know the common pickup truck problems that could arise as you use them. This is to help you find possible ways to avoid them and be ready for them when they inevitably occur.
How to Prevent/Fix Common Pickup Truck Problems
Trucks are built for hauling hefty weights, but they share in vulnerability like other mechanical engines. Regardless of your type of truck, understanding what affects your trucks and what you can do to keep them productive is vital. Let’s explore some common pickup truck problems to give you an insight.
1. Engine overheating
The most common problem pickup trucks encounter is overheating. A blown gasket or a malfunctioning radiator primarily causes it. For a truck’s cooling system to function properly, it requires a sufficient amount of coolant or water. However, any obstruction in the flow of coolant to the radiator can lead to engine overheating.
Overworked engines resulting from worn-out fuel pumps, injectors, or EGR valves cause the engine to overheat. Overheating is always a symptom of an underlying problem that could ultimately lead to a complete engine shutdown, necessitating an engine rebuild. To avoid this, it is crucial to have a professional mechanic examine your engine as soon as you detect the first signs of overheating.
The best course of action is to identify and repair the underlying cause of the issue. Regularly checking all engine fluid levels is important since low engine or gear oil levels may also cause the engine to overheat.
2. Tire Blowouts
Pickup truck owners often encounter tire problems, usually as a result of neglect. These vehicles have larger tires to support their powerful engines and heavy loads. They are frequently driven on rough terrain, which makes their tires more susceptible to uneven wear and tear.
If you often use your truck to carry heavy loads on bad roads, rotating your tires more frequently is important to prevent brake failure and tire blowouts. Neglecting to do so can increase the risk of fatal accidents. Additionally, always make sure to have spare tires and a basic toolkit to change tires in case of a puncture or blowout.
3. Brake Failure
Brake malfunctions frequently happen because of a flaw in your truck’s braking system. The brakes on pickup trucks have intricate parts that must be accurately aligned to avoid brake malfunction. Brake failures can lead to catastrophic accidents, so it is essential to inspect and maintain the braking system of all vehicles regularly.
The primary reasons for brake failure are insufficient maintenance and hauling loads that exceed the brakes’ capacity, causing excessive pressure. Other potential causes of brake failure include overheating, heavily worn tires, inadequate air pressure, and poor tire alignment. To ensure safety, it is crucial to adhere to your truck’s hauling capacity and hire only experienced truck drivers.
4. Battery Problems
One of the most common pickup truck problems is weakened batteries. This is because they are frequently used for heavy-duty work that demands a lot of power, causing the battery to drain quickly. Moreover, the battery’s performance can also be influenced by extreme temperatures.
To address battery problems, examine the battery terminals for corrosion or loose connections. If the connections are loose, use a wrench to tighten them. Employ a wire brush to clean the terminals if there is any corrosion. Additionally, use a multimeter to check the battery’s charge. If the battery is low, you can either charge it or replace it.
5. Starter Failure
When the temperature drops, truck users often experience starter issues. This happens because the cold weather weakens the battery. It becomes unable to generate enough power to start the engine and may lead to excessive cranking.
Additionally, several factors can contribute to a truck’s ignition system malfunctioning, such as flawed electrical connections or faulty cables, damaged electrical motors, freewheel, faulty ignition switches, blocked fuel filters, single-pinion gears, contamination of spark plugs, starter pinion, and low engine fluid levels. If you notice your truck having trouble starting, it’s crucial to take it to an auto shop for a thorough examination as soon as possible.
6. Wheel-bearing problems
Despite the advancements in engineering technology, truck users are still struggling with wheel-bearing issues. The primary function of pickup trucks is to carry heavy loads, making wheel-bearing problems a significant issue that affects driving experience and handling. It is crucial to frequently inspect your transmission system, especially after hauling past crooked routes.
Driving with a defective wheel-bearing system causes unstable and noisy drives and sudden jerking. Which can lead to uneven wear, tire blowouts, and axle breakdown. These issues will occur if you continue to drive with a faulty wheel-bearing system. Performing routine checks and monitoring the essential fluids specified for your truck is advisable. Poor suspension systems are also a common cause of these problems among trucks.
7. U-joint failure
U-joints are vital in transferring power from the transmission to the differentiator. If your truck’s U-joint fails, you will notice vibrations while driving at high speeds of over 60 km/h. Additionally, you might hear squeaky noises or observe transmission leaks. Sometimes, the truck may require extra energy to move, which can lead to engine overheating.
To prevent this problem, replacing your U-joint regularly is safer since they primarily fail due to wear and tear. It’s also essential to lubricate the bearing and avoid hauling weights beyond your truck’s maximum capacity.
8. Excessive Oil Consumption
Excessive oil consumption is a common problem experienced by many pickup truck owners. Oil consumption is just as important as fuel efficiency. This issue arises when the truck starts using more oil than it should. The primary reason for this problem is the presence of worn engine components such as the piston and rings. Ignoring the engine’s oil requirements can cause it to overheat.
Additionally, the oil may contaminate the spark plug, leading to starting problems. When you observe that your engine is using too much oil, it indicates weakness and demands attention.
9. Clutch Problems
Due to their application areas, most pickup trucks are built with manual transmission. For a manual setup, the clutch plays a vital role. Over time, the clutch plate wears and should be re-banded regularly. A worn clutch makes it difficult to select between gears when driving.
There are different causes of clutch problems, including careless driving, overloading the clutch, or oil leaks. Dumping the clutch is a habit that should be avoided because it can overheat the clutch and increase the stress and pressure on the clutch disk and driveshaft.
Aside from improving driver habits, clutch problems can also be prevented by checking for leaks that can contaminate the clutch disc. Besides, the leaks won’t only affect the clutch, they can also affect other parts of the truck. Getting rid of any leaks will benefit different parts of your truck.
Pickup trucks are built differently from smaller vehicles. Their components are complex because they are designed to work in harsh conditions and haul enormous weights. As with most machines, they require maintenance to keep them running perfectly. As a truck user, learning about the common pickup truck problems we highlighted will help you avoid costly damages by preventing them through timely repairs and maintenance.