You know that off-roading is tough on your truck, so you prepared in advance.
You've invested in the right tires and custom bumpers and added safety parts like differential covers and skid plates as well as enhanced your performance with suspension kits and modified gearing.
You've even gone so far as installing a winch for aftermarket truck bumpers and you carry all the recovery and personal safety gear you need so your day on the trails stays safe and fun.
So, what do you do afterward?
Good truck care doesn't end when you're done bouncing down the trails having a blast.
It must include good after-care to make sure you'll be ready for the next adventure.
Follow these off-road maintenance tips to keep your truck rolling.
1. Clean Off The Mess
It's a given that after a day off-roading, your truck is going to be filthy; get into the habit of washing it off first thing when you get home or even on the way home.
Give it a good pressure washing to remove mud, dirt, sand, and other debris, paying particular attention to the undercarriage to prevent corrosion and allow you to do a good maintenance inspection.
2. Check Tires
Once your off-road truck is clean, start your checkup with the tires, the most likely component to get damaged when you're out playing on the trails.
Look for gouges and cracks in the rubber, objects stuck in the treads or sidewalls, and other damage.
Test and reset the air pressure and make sure your lug nuts, valve stems, and bead locks are all working correctly.
3. Inspect Shocks and Suspension
From the tires, move on to the shocks and suspension.
Look for evidence of leaks and other damage such as dents, cracks, loose nuts, bent or loose suspension parts, and evidence of parts rubbing together where they shouldn't.
Check the steering box and shaft, making sure all looks good and functions properly.
4. Check Axles, Transmission, and Differential
Inspect each axle looking for leaks, cracks, loose parts, and more; jack up the truck to test the ball joints and make sure they're not damaged.
Check your gearbox and diff cover for cracks or leaks; check the fluid if you've been in water.
If anything doesn't look right, diagnose the problem and remedy it before you think about heading back out with your off-road truck or you could do some extensive damage next time.
5. Inspect Engine and Frame
The last part of your mechanical check should be going over as much of the frame as you can see, looking for cracks or other damage; then lift up the hood and take a good look under there as well.
Look for leaks, damaged hoses, loose belts and clamps as well as any other evidence that parts are damaged or wearing out.
6. Clean and Spool the Winch
Once you're done looking the truck over, unspool the winch if you've got one mounted on a custom bumper.
Clean off the winch and cable, let the cable dry, then spool it up once more so it's tight and straight.
7. Test Brakes
After the truck is clean and dry and you're sure everything is in good condition, inspect your brakes and brake lines thoroughly looking for leaks, damaged lines, and other problems.
Then get in and take your truck for a spin to make sure your brakes are working the way they should.
8. Do Regular Maintenance
When you've finished the brake check and noted anything that needs attention, you're ready to do some routine maintenance and any necessary repairs.
Hopefully, you don't actually need any repairs; if you do, start with those.
Then go around and grease all joints that need it; do any other maintenance due to be done so your truck stays in tip-top running condition.
Clean It Up - Always!
Although this may seem like an extensive list of things to check, it's essential that you do these checks after each day on the trails to ensure you're safe to go the next time.
Make a habit of doing a thorough cleaning and inspection after every ride and you'll encounter fewer problems that can result in serious and costly damage later!