So, you are now the owner of your very own diesel truck and can’t wait to hit the road. First of all, congratulations. There’s something undeniably appealing about heavy-duty vehicles, and you are on track to countless hours of fun.
If you are a fan of adventuring, diesel trucks can be particularly enjoyable due to their off-roading abilities. Can anyone deny that conquering challenging trails isn’t addicting for motor-heads? However, all this fun doesn’t come free. The life of a diesel truck owner isn’t complete without the constant responsibility of maintenance.
Many diesel trucks come equipped with four-wheel drives, high ground clearance, and extra-durable suspension systems. Moreover, diesel engines are popular for the extra modifications that are possible. As always, the more parts you introduce, the more maintenance you need.
In today’s article, we will explore the feasibility of diesel truck maintenance and what most people can handle by themselves.
What Can You Fix and Maintain on Your Own?
The most important part of maintaining a diesel truck at home is knowing what you can and cannot handle. Not all repairs and maintenance tasks are created equal. For some issues, professional tools and experienced mechanics will be needed.
However, there are many troubleshooting areas that you can address at home. Let’s explore some of them.
Oil and Filter Changes
Oil and filter changes are among the most common and straightforward maintenance tasks for diesel trucks. The most trouble you might encounter would be gaining access to the oil filter and drain plug. You may need to remove engine covers, skid plates, or other components to reach them.
On the chance that you are unsure about handling an oil filter, certain upgrades make the process easier. According to Diesel Power Products, an ‘easy engine oil drain valve’ can make the process tool-free and mess-free. If you are a complete beginner or someone who prefers a clean garage, this can be worth looking at.
Air Filter Replacement
Replacing your air filter typically requires only basic hand tools, such as a screwdriver or a socket set. Unlike some other maintenance tasks, changing air filters is a straightforward procedure that anyone with basic mechanical aptitude can perform. Just make sure to clean any debris or dust from the filter housing before installing the new filter.
This one has some potential for complexity. Basic brake inspections that involve visual checks and simple tests are easy and can be handled by most owners. However, in-depth brake inspections, which involve removing components and measuring wear can be out of a beginner’s skill level.
What Will You Need Professional Help For?
Thus far, we have looked at a few of the areas that you can handle in your own garage. Let us now look at what maintenance tasks are best handled by professionals.
When we say engine overhauls, we are referring to the process of disassembling, inspecting, repairing, and replacing worn components. This process may be necessary when an engine has experienced significant damage or isn’t performing up to par.
Engine overhauls can be challenging due to the difficulty in procuring certain diesel parts. This is especially true if you own a vintage or slightly older truck. Even if you manage to find them, they often require specialized tools and equipment that are not readily available.
Professional mechanics usually have a good inventory of spare parts they have collected over the years (new and used). Similarly, they are likely to possess precision measuring tools, compression testers, engine hoists, and extractors. Most home garages are unlikely to have the space or the budget for such equipment.
Working on a transmission can involve heavy components and potentially hazardous conditions. DIY attempts can not only take significantly longer time to complete, but they can also be a severe safety risk. Moreover, if your vehicle is under warranty, attempting transmission repairs or using non-certified mechanics can void it.
Similarly, identifying the exact source of a transmission problem may not be as easy as you hope. This is especially relevant when you realize that misdiagnosis can lead to unnecessary repairs and increased costs.
Electrical System Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting electrical problems tends to require interpreting wiring diagrams and schematics. You will have to deal with sensors, modules, wiring harnesses, and relatively complex circuitry. It’s easy to mess things up if you don’t know what you are doing.
On another front, trying to update vehicle software on your own can also cause you to ‘brick’ important components. This isn’t limited to the trucking world. Even gamers and computer enthusiasts are often nervous about bricking their motherboards when flashing or updating their BIOS. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry and have a professional handle these areas.
The idea of managing routine maintenance tasks from the comfort of your home garage can be appealing. That said, you also want to recognize the limits of your knowledge and resources. Remember that maintaining diesel trucks will often demand more than just a basic toolkit and a DIY spirit.
It is commendable to want to increase your maintenance skill level. Knowing how to work on your truck will come in handy in many situations. However, let it not come at the cost of harming your truck’s components and performance.