How good are you at taking care of your pickup?

Estimated Completion Time
5 min
How good are you at taking care of your pickup?
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

You do (sometimes) the required oil changes, tire rotations and other recommended vehicle maintenance. But, from how much you can safely haul in the bed to knowing where your blind spots are, are you up on the ins and outs of keeping a pickup on the road?
Which is better for your truck's gas mileage, a smooth, steady start or a quick start?
quick
slow
smooth and steady
Smooth, steady acceleration is always going to give you more bang for your buck, or in this case, more miles per gallon.
it makes no difference

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Which fluids should be on your regularly-checked and topped-off list?
engine oil
master cylinder
transmission fluid
all of these
It's important to keep the engine oil, master cylinder and washer solvent reservoirs checked and full, but basically, if it's a fluid in your truck, check it.

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If you're planning DIY maintenance and repairs on your pickup, which tool should you have?
a hydraulic jack
a socket set
a torque wrench
all of these
If you plan to do any home maintenence on your truck, you'll need all three of these tools (and more) -- and be sure the socket set fits the size of the lug nuts on your specific pickup's wheels.

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Which type of driving is best for your truck's engine?
letting the truck sit for extended periods of time
stop-and-start driving
traveling a distance 10 miles or less
none of these
Cars, trucks ... all vehicles want to be driven, that's their thing. And not stop-and-go traffic, either. No one, not even your vehicle, likes it. However, if you also don't drive your truck more than 10 miles at a time, or you leave it sitting, undriven, for long periods of time, the engine can become prone to corrosion.

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How would you correctly complete the following? The higher a tire's load index number is, the ____ the load it can safely carry.
heavier
The higher a tire's load index number is, the heavier the load it can safely carry.
lighter
longer
wider

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What system could be failing if your truck's brake pedal is unresponsive or if the brake pedal locks up?
anti-lock brakes
Symptoms of a failing anti-lock braking system (ABS) include both an unresponsive brake pedal, as well as brakes locking up. A faulty traction control system usually causes inconsistent braking.
the hand brake
traction control
vehicle stability control

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When you're pulling a trailer, is it safer to make wider turns or tighter turns?
wider
Because the trailer's wheels don't track the same as your truck, if you don't compensate by making wider turns, your trailer could cross the line into oncoming traffic.
tighter
makes no difference

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A broken air conditioning system doesn't necessarily mean no cold air. Which is a sign your truck's A/C is on the fritz?
wet carpet
mildewy smell
less air blowing through the vents
all of these are
Signs of a problem with your truck's A/C can show up in the cab as wet carpet from a clogged air conditioner drain, a mildewy odor from mold in the evaporator box, or less air blowing from the vents because of an evaporator problem.

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You forgot to unlock the lockable front hubs after you got back on dry road. What could you have damaged on your truck?
driveshaft
differential
transfer case
all of these
Never drive on dry, hard surfaces with your truck's front lockable hubs locked. Accidents happen, but doing so could damage your truck's driveshaft, differential or transfer case.

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Tires lose about one psi of pressure per month. And if it's getting colder outside, you'll notice another one psi lost for every 10-degree temperature drop. Why is that dangerous?
it decreases gas mileage
it could cause uneven tire wear
it could cause a blow-out
all of these reasons
Underinflated tires decrease your gas mileage, but they also can cause uneven wear and could cause a blowout.

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Even if you've planned out how you loaded the truck bed, bad ____ can make the load shift.
driveshaft
engine
shocks
Poor suspension and bad shocks mean a rough ride if you're not hauling, but it can shift the load in the bed if the shocks are bad.
transmission

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It's recommended when you drive under "severe" conditions you change your pickup's oil more frequently. What's a "severe" condition?
driving on dirt, gravel, and dusty areas
towing a trailer or hauling a load in the bed
stop-and-go traffic
all of these
Severe conditions may not seem extreme to you. In fact, they may just seem like normal daily driving, like stop-and-go traffic. It also includes driving off-road, towing a trailer or a hauling a load in the bed, too.

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What could happen if you overload your truck's winch?
drained battery
snapped line
underpowered alternator
all of these (and more)
An overloaded winch is going to fail, and that could mean a snapped line, or damage to your truck's battery, alternator and possibly more.

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What is one of the simplest and most important things you can do as part of maintaining your truck?
letting it idle
regular oil changes
Regular oil changes are one of the most basic and easiest ways of making sure your engine stays in good condition.
wash it
none of these

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If your truck is in need of a jump, which vehicle do you start first, after the cables are hooked up?
the working vehicle
Once the jumper cables are properly connected to your truck's battery and the working vehicle's battery, start the working car first.
your truck with the dead battery
both should be running

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Is it true leaving bird droppings on your truck's paint will cause damage?
that's true
Some of the compounds in bird droppings make it dull the paint of your truck, if it's left there.
that's false
only on certain kinds of paint

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Before doing any electrical work on your truck, what should you do first?
disconnect the alternator
disconnect the battery
Stop! Before doing any work on your truck's electrical system, disconnect the battery first -- and for safety, start with the negative terminal.
disconnect the starter

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You can prevent accidents and body repair work by checking your blind spots. Which is not a common one?
front, from angle of the windshield
behind the side mirrors
directly behind your truck
all of these are common
Blind spots can be a bigger problem in bigger vehicles like pickups and SUVs. Some common blind zones include: behind the side mirrors and directly behind the truck.

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Which is not a possible reason your pickup is overheating?
a blown head gasket
a cracked cylinder head
a faulty thermostat
engine oil designed for cold climates
A cracked cylinder head, a blown head gasket or a faulty thermostat can cause your vehicle to overheat, but not the engine oil you use.

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Before they outright fail to stop your truck, which is a sign your brakes need some attention?
your truck pulls to one side when stopping
you hear a high-pitched squealing when stopping
you hear metal-on-metal grinding noises
any or all of these
Brakes that need maintenance will often pull to one side, stop more slowly or cause noises like high-pitch squealing or metal-on-metal grinding. Failing brakes may also smell bad or cause your truck's steering wheel to vibrate.

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How can you tell if a truck's had body work?
check its body panels with a magnet
look for wavy body panels
look for uneven body panels
all of these are ways
Looking for wavy or uneven body panels is one way to tell, but did you know you can use a magnet, instead (or as well)? The magnet won't stick to any plastic body work.

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Where in the truck bed is the safest place to load heavy items?
on the sides
near the cab
Loading the heaviest items near the cab instead of near the gate can help with road handling and is also safest for the truck's drive train and suspension. Don't forget to make sure it's weight-balanced from side to side, too, to avoid messing with the truck's center of gravity.
near the tailgate
under webbing

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A bed liner protects the bottom and sides of your truck's bed. But what are the cons?
it can hide rust
it can rub, and wear the paint off
it can void the truck's warranty
all of these
Yes, a bed liner offers protection for your truck bed. But if it doesn't properly fit your pickup, it can rub, remove pain, hide rust and, worst case, void the vehicle warranty.

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Will putting a higher-octane fuel in your pickup give it greater towing or hauling capacity?
that's true
that's false
The belief that a higher-octane fuel will give your vehicle more power is just a myth. The best thing for your gas mileage -- and power -- is to just use the octane recommended in the owner's manual.
the fuel octane doesn't mean anything

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When you're removing your truck's battery, always disconnect the ____ battery cable first, and reconnect it last.
negative
The negative (-) cable going to the battery is the black cable, and the positive (+) is the red one. Always disconnect the negative first, or you could damage the battery, your truck or yourself.
positive
ground

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Is it okay to intentionally underinflate your truck's tires to increase its traction?
yes, go for it
no, that's dangerous
it depends on what you're doing
Sometimes it's Ok to intentionally underinflate your vehicle's tires to increase your traction, such as in inclement weather. But driving on underinflated tires long term will make them wear quickly and unevenly and decreases the fuel efficiency.

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What isn't used to determine the maximum working payload of a pickup truck?
the chassis
the ground clearance
The weight of the load you can safely carry in your truck bed is determined by a few things, including the chassis, as well as both the tires' load rating and load index number -- oh, and the weight of the passengers, too. But its ground clearance doesn't matter when it comes to heavy loads.
the tires' load index number
the tires' load rating

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Are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) tires the best for your truck?
yes
no
you can almost certainly do better
The OEM tires fitted to your truck at the factory aren't a bad choice, but they're not usually the best choice, either. While OEM tires are usually chosen for their pretty-good performance on both dry and wet roads, choosing non-OEM when it comes time to replace allows you to choose what's best for you.

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What is most engine wear caused by?
engine block heaters
idling
starting the truck
Most of the wear on your truck's engine isn't from an adverse condition. It's from engine turnover while starting the truck, which in cold weather can take years off of the engine, battery and starter.
the type of gas in the tank

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What part of your truck feels the brunt of hauling a heavy load?
the brakes
the gate
the steering column
the transmission
If you use your pickup for hauling things around, you're putting strain on the truck's transmission.

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How often should you inspect your brakes for wear and tear?
once a year
twice a year
They may not need any maintenance at these intervals, but experts recommend inspecting your brakes twice a year.
every 100,000 miles
never

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If you change your pickup's tires to some that are larger and more aggressive, you may also need bigger what?
calipers
exhaust
headlights
shocks
When you fit your truck with larger tires, you may also need to upgrade its shocks. Otherwise, it can cause bad handling and hot equipment.

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There are so many configurations of trailer hitches. If you have a ball mount on a trailer tongue, the ball on the hitch has to be the same size as what, for safety?
the 7-pin connector
the draw bar
the mount on the tongue
On a hitch that uses a ball mount on a trailer tongue, the ball on the hitch has to be the same size as the mount on the tongue for a secure lock.
the receiver hitch

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If you can see how much of Lincoln's head during the penny test for tread depth, it means you need to replace your tires?
just the top of his head
just Lincoln's chin
Lincoln's whole head
The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends replacing your tires when the tread depth reaches 2/32”. If you can see all of Lincoln's head when you use the penny test, that tread's too low!
the penny test doesn't work

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Where in the truck bed is it safest for the large items you're hauling, like a couch?
behind the cab
in the center of the bed
on the roof of the cab
along the sides
The safest place for big pieces of furniture, like a couch or chairs, is along the sides of the truck bed.

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