With the temperature warming up and the weather looking perfect out, it’s time to get that off-road beauty out of the garage and hit the trails again. If your off-road machine is also your daily driver, it’s still time to gear up and get ready for some outdoor fun
. Slap those mudder tires on and get your truck ready to get ready to hit the trail with these 5 spring-cleaning tips to start the season off safe and ready for fun.
1. Underbody Maintenance
It’s always a good idea to wash your truck after a day on the trail not only to get it clean, but to check it over for hidden damage like stress cracks and tire punctures. What most people overlook is the part of your truck that you don’t normally see, but sees more dirt than the rest of the truck combined: the underbody. When getting ready to hit the trail for the first time you should not only thoroughly clean your truck’s underbody but give it a once-over, too. Once it’s clean look for leaky fittings and any damage that you may have not noticed before. It’s better to find that oil leak now than when your engine blows up on the trail.
2. Wiper Blade Replacement
Wiper blades aren’t thought of as off-road equipment too often, but if you can’t see where you’re going, how are you supposed to stay safe and keep it on the trail? Mud from the trail and dirt and salt from the winter can put a hurting on your blades, so go out and put a fresh pair on before hitting the trail. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Exterior Light Maintenance
Spring’s a good time to give your lights a once-over to see if anything is burnt out and to clean them up. Turn on all your lights, preferably at dusk so it’s still light enough to see what you’re looking at but dark enough for lights to show clearly. Have a friend hit your brake pedal while you look at your taillights to make sure they’re all lighting up. The last thing you need is your brake lights not working and having someone rear end you on the trail because they didn’t see you stopping. Clean the plastic housings for each light to make sure they’re shining as brightly as possible and finally look at the balance of your headlights and any other forward-facing lights. If anything looks out of whack, straighten them yourself or take them to a professional to adjust. Poorly adjusted lights can blind on comers and give you a bad view of the trail and the road.
4. Check Those Tires
Now’s the perfect time to check your tires for damage, tread, and inflation as well as alignment issues, before you get stranded on the trail. Look for uneven wear as well as underinflation. Run your hands across the sidewalls on the inside and outside of each tire, looking for broken belts and imperfections. Finally, make sure your tread has enough life on it to handle mud and water. Rotate your tires now too, just to make sure everything wears evenly.
Finally, the gold standard of basic vehicle care should be done. Check all your fluids including brake, transmission (if possible), oil, washer fluid, and any others that your vehicle has. If you’re close to needing an oil or transmission fluid change you might as well do that now, and top off the washer fluid while you’re at it. By making sure your truck is in perfect working order before hitting the trail for the season, you’re not only taking great care of your ride, you’re making sure you don’t get stuck in the woods with a broken truck and a really bad day. (Header photo courtesy of flickr)