Tips on Taking Care of Your Ute
So, you’ve got yourself a ute? Like most pickup truck owners, you’re not just using your ute to haul and tow cargo. You also use it as your service vehicle, taking it to where your clients or customers are—busy city areas, suburban districts, or the outback. Moreover, you drive it to send your family to work or school or take them on a road trip adventure. It’s more than just a workhorse. It’s your life partner. (Just don’t let your wife know.)
Since you purchased a ute for its sheer power and versatility, you should also give back the TLC it deserves for all its hard work. Proper vehicle maintenance is essential to ensure its efficiency and extend its lifespan.
Keep these things in mind if you want to maintain your baby’s pristine appearance and preserve its value for the long term:
1. Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Regular car servicing and maintenance work just like getting a regular team meeting. It helps facilitate issue tracking and resolution. It allows you to know the actual condition of your ute and detect issues early before they develop into something with catastrophic proportions. This way, you can avoid sudden and unexpected break-down and its heavy repair cost, as well as accidents caused by a faulty car part.
The engine oil, in particular, needs to be replaced at regular intervals to keep sludge from building up and keep its exceptional quality. This will keep your engine from overheating and make it more fuel-efficient and run smoother.
You can either take your ute to a professional car service centre, have it checked by your mechanic if you have one, or take the DIY path. Ideally, it’s best to get regular servicing and maintenance from the professionals but if you need to DIY, give special attention to your ute’s:
- Engine Oil
- Fluid Levels (Hydraulic fluid in brakes and refrigerant in your car air conditioning system)
2. Regular Cleaning
Clean your ute’s exterior and interior on a regular basis, especially since you most likely take it with you to areas with tough working conditions, like mining and construction sites, and load it with dirty tools and industrial equipment, unwashed agricultural crops, or livestock.
The regular washing of the ute’s exterior and vacuuming and wiping its interior parts not only can make your vehicle clean and presentable. It can also keep the sand, grime, and winter salt from accumulating and damaging the car’s paint and body.
Car waxing, in particular, may be considered a cosmetic procedure as it helps your car look shiny and new, but it does more than just aesthetics enhancement. It actually provides a protective coat for your ute that protects the paint from the elements.
Your ute’s truck bed is constantly exposed to the elements and regularly traps debris and dirt. If you live in a winter wonderland, it’s likely to have also trapped snow. To clean:
- Remove any items and possessions that can obstruct the cleaning process from your truck bed before cleaning. Detach your toolbox for the time being if you have one installed.
- Use a push broom to remove all dirt, rocks, sticks, and other debris lying around the bed. Shovel out accumulated snow.
- Spray the bed liner and surface of the truck bed with water from a high-pressure washer to get rid of any remaining dirt and debris. Start from the rear window then work towards the tailgate. Angle the pressure washer in the right direction and leave your tailgate open so that the dirty water can flow directly out of the bed.
- Wash the truck bed with a simple car washing soap. scrub and remove dirt pileup with a mop or stiff bristle deck brush or a heavy-duty, nylon scrubbing brush for more stuck-on dirt and stains.
- Deep-rinse your truck bed using the water from a pressure washer then leave your ute to dry out in the sun or open air. If it’s raining or snowing, wipe the bed liner with a dry cloth.
Lids and Canopies
If your ute comes with a lid or canopy, you would need to clean it the way you clean your aluminium or powder-coated steel tray.
- Wash your tray and lid or canopy with cool water, car wash detergent and a soft cloth or a clean sponge in a circular overlapping motion.
- Use warm water to remove snow and ice deposits without the need for a scraper.
- Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool or wired brushes.
For heavy dirt and grease, try sugar soap. Mild dish soap can clean heavily soiled accessories but it can also strip away wax. Refrain from using acid or acid-based products for cleaning because they can damage the coat. Use cool water to clean your canopy. Do not use harsh or abrasive cleaning tools like steel wool or wired brushes.
3. Mind the Tires
If you want to avoid the uneven wear and tear, keep your tires properly inflated on a regular basis. Not only can underinflation and overinflation lower tire performance, but it can also cost you money.
Underinflated tires will cause them to bend more as they roll, causing the build-up of internal heat, which increases rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy by up to 5 percent. Low tires also make your vehicle unstable and difficult to control, especially in bad weather like heavy rain or snow, which can lead to road mishaps in unfortunate scenarios.
Onverinfllated tires, meanwhile, can cause road accidents. They are at high risk for a blowout, which can result in you losing control of your vehicle and negatively affecting braking distance.
Properly inflated tires can save you money and save your life, as well as extend the life of your ute. They are also more affordable than other vehicle maintenance procedures.
When checking the condition of your ute’s tires, don’t rely on your eyes. Use a tire gauge to accurately check the pressure.
4. Keep it in the Garage
Just because your ute is a workhorse doesn’t mean it should be parked in the open, braving the cold and rain after a tough day at work while all your fragile sedans and SUVs are safe in the garage. In fact, you should have a nice and safe place for it to “relax”, just like how you are comfortably sitting on your couch, drinking beer and watching TV after a hard day.
Storing your ute in a garage or inside a closed, secure space when not in use will help maintain its good working condition for the long term. Why? Because it doesn’t have to endure the elements all day long. Dampness and humidity alone can be damaging to your car. Moisture from rain or snowmelt can corrode metal components and engine parts, as well as destroy electronic systems.
And then there’s the animals and humans that can damage your ute. Squirrels and rodents may chew on car wiring, which causes damage to its electrical systems. Humans, well, you know what they’re capable of. They can vandalise your ute or break into your vehicle and steal important car parts and accessories. Worst, they can steal the entire ute, disassemble it, and sell the chopped parts for profit.
So, the next time you go home and tuck yourself in bed after a tiring day at work, think about your ute. If it works just as hard as you are, it deserves a good night’s rest, too.
5. Drive Smarter
Yes, you can drive hard with a ute but don’t overdo it. Aggressive driving like taking quick takeoffs and abrupt stops can destroy your car’s engine, brakes, hoses, and expensive sensors. It can also put you at high risk of road accidents.
If you’re driving on the interstate or a highway with minimal traffic, it’s tempting to beat the speed limit buy, hey, you're a smarter person than that. Keep your speed down and set the cruise to avoid tickets, as well as unfortunate road mishaps.
Driving around the city, with its busy streets and small roads can be challenging when you’re driving a ute with a long bed or crew cab. However, it’s best to keep your cool and just keep up with the general flow of traffic to avoid excessive stops and starts.
Aside from keeping your ute in good working condition, smart driving also helps you save fuel. Read more about this on this blog: How Your Driving Style Affects Fuel Consumption.
The Bottom Line
You know you’re not only dependent on your ute for transportation and work but also recreation, so take good care of it whether it’s brand new or you’ve owned it for several years. It will also help you avoid and detect problems early on before they become expensive issues that could put a dent in your wallet or your life at risk.