2004 F-150
Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - User:Blake500

Keep Your Truck Running

Mine has Over 235,000 Miles

My F-150 pickup has been around long enough that it’s almost a member of the family.  My daughter even named it Trucky.  The pickup has over 235,000 miles on the odometer and drives like it can go a while more.  I purchased the vehicle new in 2004.  I previously owned another F-150 so I was familiar with the brand and decided I wanted another one.  That was a great decision.  I wish I was as good at deciding everything else!  Here are some tips of what I’ve done to make my vehicle last a long time.

Find a Neighborhood Mechanic

Avoid the Dealer

When you go to the dealership for service, you generally drive up to one of two or more kiosks.  The dealer representative then takes your information and starts badgering you to perform additional services.  Their job is to sell services, not actually fix or repair anything.  By using the dealer, all you get is a hole in your wallet.

F-150Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - IFCARThe last time I went to the dealership, I had my car key fob stolen from the gym the day before and I wanted a new one.  I wanted to assure that the person who took the key fob couldn’t get back into my truck again.  I was told that a new part to avoid such occurrence would cost over $500.  I decided to check other alternatives.

Someone from my office told me later that day that the owner’s manual had a section on reprogramming the key fob and synching that with the vehicle.  Following the manual’s instruction took a couple minutes and was free.  Needless to say, I am not a fan of dealer service.

Find a Mechanic with Older Cars in the Parking Lot

The best way to find a good local mechanic is to ask around, particularly friends or neighbors with older cars.  My daughter’s boyfriend drives an old beater and he told me about a garage a couple miles from my house.  I’ve been going there for a while now.  They have quite a few older cars in the lot at any given time.  They specialize in keeping older cars on the road using the cheapest fix solutions possible.  The dealer won’t try to use the cheapest solutions, they try to sell the most expensive services.  The local guy with a small shop is more likely to service your car for a more economical price.

Change Your Oil Regularly

I have Trucky’s oil changed every 3,000 miles.  I don’t know for a fact that it’s actually necessary to do so, but the vehicle has lasted forever and runs well.  I go to the same local An F-150Credit: wikipedia comons public domain - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Bull-Dosermechanic for the oil changes.  You may getter cheaper and faster service from the quick lube places, but you are also likely to leave with an oil leak as well.  That’s happened to me with my F-150.  Additionally, the local mechanic get used to seeing you and will treat you more like a regular customer if you get your oil changed.  While the small shop could cost a smidgen more, going there regularly for oil changes is likely to catch you a break on a more expensive repair later.  The mechanic knows you’re a regular and will want to keep you as a customer.

Oil Treatment

Bg MOA Part # 110 Engine Oil Supplement
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About a year ago the truck was running very rough.  At idle speed it would lurch some.  I hated sitting at stoplights.  Sometimes the truck even cut out when moving.  I thought maybe it was the end of the line for my old truck.  I went to my local mechanic and he added some BG MOA #110 oil additive and the truck started running smoothly again.  This product was like magic.  The mechanic explained that clogging in the camshaft could send the wrong signals to the electrical system and that the BG MOA #110 would help with the clogging.  I continue to use Red F-150Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - IFCARthis product by purchasing more at each oil change.  My daughter calls it the magic juice.  I think she’s correct.  Oil additives can be helpful to your vehicle servicing.  Different types of additives can help with different servicing issues.[1]

Make Sure Your Battery and Alternator Work Well

One of the impacts of more intricate electronics on our vehicles is that they can diagnose problems for us.  That’s the plus side.  On the negative side, a problem with the electronic system can fool you into thinking something else is wrong.  For instance, if your battery is weak or your alternator is not working properly to keep your batter charged, the electronic system can send the wrong signals to the automatic transmission.  You may think you need a whole new transmission when what you really need is a battery or an alternator.  Both are quite a bit cheaper than a new transmission.  This is another reason to avoid the dealership.  They will recommend the new transmission in any event, even if the diagnostics say otherwise.

Get Seat Covers

Black F-150Credit: wikipedia commons public domain - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bull-DoserThe longer you have your truck, the more likely the seat will be beat up.  My seats started to
look ratty from years of wear and look much better with seat covers.  You’re more likely to want to keep a vehicle with a decent interior look and feel.  Getting a cheap air freshener also helps.  I have cloth seats in my truck and they are more likely to absorb odors than leather seats.  An air freshener helps keep the truck smelling clean.

Regular Washing, Plus Tire Care

Doing a regular wash job on the truck is more psychological for you than anything else.  A clean truck looks good and you are more likely to treat it with greater care than a nasty, dirty truck.  Cleanliness seems to engender more respect for the vehicle for me.  The more I treat the truck with care, the longer it will last.  You also need to make sure the tires have adequate air in accordance with their specs.  The truck will drive smoother and you’ll get better gas mileage.  My truck is not a gas mileage all star, so every little bit helps.

Keep your vehicle as long as you can.  Having no car payments is a wonderful thing.  I change the oil regularly and use BG MOA #110 Oil Treatment.  It’s a winner.