People who own trucks take pride in the hardiness of their vehicles. While trading an old truck in for a flashy new model can feel great, there is a certain pride and street cred that goes with keeping an old truck going, and then bragging that the mileage is just about as good as a new truck. Trucks are supposed to be indestructible, and keeping them way past their sell-by date helps the image.

Of course, it’s no empty boast. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind it. Once you make sure that you’ve squeezed every bit of juice that your truck has, only then will it be ready for the used car lot. It’s a matter of pride.

Double down on those oil changes

The more worn the parts of your engine get, the greater the lubrication is that they need. Unfortunately, people usually practice oil changes and other maintenance in exactly the wrong way — they tend to be enthusiastic about all of it with a new vehicle, and to completely lose interest over time. When it’s an old truck, it’s important to change the oil filters, air filters and oil a little more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. It’ll help with all kinds of problems.


Keep a close watch on those spark plugs and the exhaust system

If you have copper spark plugs, they need changing once every 7,000 miles. It’s about 10 times as long if you have platinum or iridium spark plugs. It’s also a good idea to take a plug out once a month to inspect it. If it seems discolored, it usually means that the air-fuel mixture is incorrect. It actually helps to get the O2  sensor in the car’s exhaust checked. It tells the car’s computer about the amount of unburned oxygen left in the exhaust. It’s an important way to determine the health of your car’s combustion system.

The mufflers deserve a look, too. While most car owners don’t think about it, the internals of the exhaust system can get rusty, and blocked up with soot over time, making it hard for the engine to breathe.  A truck’s efficiency can greatly suffer as a result. A high-flow exhaust system, a turndown kit and mufflers can cost as little as $300. It can also help to get new electrical grounds. They can make sure that all the sensors in your car, the O2  sensors and the airflow sensors included, communicate properly with the car’s computer, ensuring combustion efficiency.

Get your transmission reviewed

If you have an old truck, you need to think about the transmission. A sloppy shift is likely to waste a great deal of the car’s energy. If your truck always seems overloaded, you can even get the transmission shop to change out the rear axle gear ratio to one better suited to the loads that you haul.

Auto parts stores that deal in Silverado parts, Dodge Ram parts and the like charge very reasonable prices. A shift kit, for instance, can cost as little as $100.

When it comes times to sell, these improvements will actually pay off

A squishy gearshift is one of the things that used car buyers tend to look out for. Often, when you invest in a crisp shift you’ll quickly get a better price when you’re ready to sell. There are other things that you can do for the best possible deal. You can spruce up your car, make sure that you understand what value it commands on the market at the moment, and advertise the fact that you keep great records (which you should).

One of the best ways to get a good deal on your used truck is to make sure that you go to a fair-minded dealer. You shouldn’t even take your truck to the dealership at first. Talk to them over the phone to get a feel for what they are like. When you’re ready to sell, do the sale completely separately from the purchase. Clubbing the two into one deal is always bad news.

Heather Newsom has been in the auto industry for over 25 years, working both with businesses and individuals. Now semi-retired she has taken to blogging in her free time where she shares her insights on a selection of auto related sites.