GMC Sierra 3500 HD: Gearing up Your Ride for the Long Drive
Although the GMC Sierra 3500 HD is built for the hard road and the long drive, you shouldn't take off with your monster pickup without some road trip checks. Skip these and you may see yourself stranded on the road. You can prevent minor or major breakdowns if you take the time to do some necessary inspections before going for a long drive. Here's a checklist:
- Perform some initial inspections.
Start by making sure that all car lights are working fine, from the turn signals to the headlights and brake lights. You may also need to adjust the headlights to their proper angles, so you could use the high beams and low beams properly and avoid blinding other motorists. Quick checks should also include the wipers. Check if the blades are already cracked or can still wipe off moisture and water drops on the windshield. Don't forget the tires. With extreme heat and high speed, tire blowouts can happen. Before you roll down the highway, make sure the tires are inflated according to the recommended air pressure by the manufacturer. Over-inflation would create accelerated wear on the center of the tires and could cause the vehicle to skid on wet road because of less tread contact, while under-inflation would create premature wear on the edges of the tires and would adversely affect vehicle handling. They could also increase fuel mileage. Check for tire tread wear such as cupping or bald spots, so you'll know if it's time to put in new tires.
- Do some under hood inspections.
Don't let your truck starve on essential fluids, especially if it's going for a long drive. Keep tabs on the fluid level. Check the motor oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant, transmission fluid, and even the windshield washer fluid. Take time to check the quality of the fluids. You can usually tell by the color. If they're cloudy or dirty, then you'll have to change them even before the recommended maintenance or service. Use motor oil that can protect against thermal breakdowns and can cut friction loses.
The belts and hoses also need your attention. Check for leaks and proper fit. Also look out for loose clamps. Hard hoses may crack easily. If the lines are already brittle, you may have to replace them. The more vulnerable parts of the hoses are those near the clamps or fittings. See to it that all connections and attachments are tight and steady. For the belts, you'll have to inspect the alignment and watch out for glazing, tears and cracks. If they're already stretched or loose, then it's best to replace them.
Check the battery before leaving for a trip. Clean the battery contacts and posts and make sure that the cables and terminals are free from corrosive buildup. The positive and negative leads should be tight. Make sure that there's no loose connection and that the battery has a proper charge.
- Conduct some under vehicle inspections.
Check for some fluid leaks. A pool of fluid underneath the vehicle is your clue. As you crawl underneath the vehicle, you may want to give the joints and grease points some squirt of lube. An exhaust leak can be dangerous; hence, this shouldn't be ignored. Find the source of the leak and fix it. For your driving safety, inspect the brakes. See if the pads are already too thin or the rotors are badly grooved or scored. A test drive will reveal the trouble signs. Watch out for unusual noises, vibrations, and drivability issues.