A modern vehicle is a costly investment that, for those of us, is a necessity rather than a luxury. It’s crucial to take care of and keep your Ute in the best condition possible if you want to get the most out of it. This contributes to maintaining its value as well as ensuring your safety. There are a number of maintenance procedures you can perform on your own to ensure your driving safety and enjoyment, prevent unneeded breakdowns and accidents, and help maintain the value of your Utes despite the fact that many aspects of a complete service are best left to a professional mechanic because today’s modern vehicles are so sophisticated.
These quick, easy maintenance tasks should be carried out on a regular basis in between full workshop services and before any significant journey. However, the first thing you should do after purchasing a car is read the owner’s manual, which will contain diagrams and instructions specific to your model of Ute.
Checking your Engine Oil, Transmission Fluid, Power Steering Fluid and Brake Fluid levels
The first step is to find your dipstick; an automatic car will also have one for the transmission fluid, so make sure to confirm which one is for engine oil before adding more. A manual car has just one dipstick. (On the top, it should state). Typically, the knob is made of colored plastic and is shaped into a loop or has a rounded top that can accommodate your finger for easier removal.
To inspect the end and identify the fill and empty lines, wipe it clean using a clean cloth or paper towel.
Pull out the dipstick once more and re-insert it into the engine. You can check the amount of oil by inserting the dipstick into the engine sump.
The quantity of oil is then visible. The full mark indicates that the oil level is ideal. It is safe to continue driving if the oil level is above the halfway point because there will be enough oil. However, make a note of this and check the level again after a few hundred kilometers.
If it is below the halfway point, add the engine’s recommended amount of oil. (Special cleaners are added to diesel engine oil to remove any carbon buildup. Petrol engines have different additives) It is best to add only 200ml at a time and then recheck and add a bit more if needed to ensure you do not overfill the engine (A very slight overfill is generally OK)
If you have your vehicle serviced at the manufactures recommended times and check the oil regularly and suddenly it has fallen it may be because you have gone past the service life of the oil and it is advisable to have it serviced and checked at a mechanic shop
Use the recommended transmission fluid and check the transmission oil in the same manner.
The brake reservoir is a clear, white plastic screw-top container with a viewing area that is located on top of or very close to the brake master cylinder. It allows you to check the fluid level and top it off as necessary.
Don’t use plain water as the radiator’s coolant because an adequate anticorrosive is required to prevent electrolysis.
Squeeze the rubber hoses surrounding the cooling system to make sure they are firm and have not become brittle, and inspect their visual condition.
With the aid of a second person who is standing outside the Ute, check the lights’ functionality and keep an eye on them.
Examine the turn signals, brake, park, reversing, and number plate lights. Additionally, it’s critical to check the functionality of your headlights, including spotlights and both full and dipped beams.
Verify that all of the instrument lights on the dashboard are functioning; typically, they all turn on when the ignition is turned to the second stage, just before the starter motor is activated.
Check the horn and that all the power windows work properly; in an emergency, it’s critical that they do so without the engine running.
Examine the drive belts that connect the engine to the alternator; some cars have more than one belt that drives the air conditioning, the power brake pump, and the water pump. It may have a hydraulic lift pump connected to the engine or a separate electric hydraulic pump; the fluids and any belts of these need to be checked as well if your Ute has a back tray rather than a molded body.
Filters; Fuel, Oil and Air
Particularly if you travel through dusty areas, having a clean air cleaner is important. Remove the cleaner, then use compressed air to clean it of any dust. You can either buy a new one or have it professionally cleaned if it is really filthy. Many vehicles are now fitted with pollen and dust filters on the air-conditioning system so these also need to be checked and cleaned where necessary
See the manufacturer’s instructions for more information. The fuel filter needs to be changed frequently because contaminants in the fuel and any moisture in your tank can cause it to clog.
Unless you have adequate facilities to collect and dispose of the waste oil (this can be very messy), it is best to leave the oil filter up to your service center.
Windscreen Washer and Wipers
Check the windscreen washer reservoir’s liquid level and, if necessary, top it off with a high-quality windscreen washer solution. The wiper blades need to be inspected and replaced as necessary because they can brittle under the hot sun and long dry periods.
The tyres on your car are crucial, and keeping them inflated to the right pressure will improve fuel efficiency and the handling and braking of your Ute.
A good way to assess the state of your Utes suspension is to look at the wear on your tires. It’s likely that you need to have this checked if the tires are wearing unevenly.
Tyre rotation, in which you switch the front and rear tires every 10,000 kilometers, will help to prolong the life of your tires.
Using used tires is a very bad idea for safety reasons because modern tires are synthetic rather than the rubber-based ones of thirty years ago. Even when not in use, these modern tires start to degrade after three to five years. The opposite is true for pure rubber tires, such as nylon tires (without steel belts), which get stronger over time but are typically saved for off-road use because of their greater propensity to puncture.
I hope this has given you some insight into the kinds of maintenance you can perform on your own to keep you and your family secure, content, and moving in your Ute.