Truck Extended Warranties and Duals

Just as in everything in life, there is the good, the bad, and the worthless. On used 4x4 trucks, I usually recommend an extended warranty if of course you get the right one. We've all got friends who bought extended warranties and when they tried to use it, it was worthless. The biggest reason I've seen was clutches. Even the new factory warranty doesn't cover clutch discs, belts, hoses, and brake shoes.

With the equalization of the Internet in bringing vehicle prices out in the open, one of the last havens for auto dealerships to make money is extended warranties. But there're not all bad. Don't get talked into them until you can do your research. I know the friendly finance manager wants you to buy it now, telling you how easy it is to add it to the auto financing. If it's a new vehicle, you have until right before the factory vehicle warranty expires to buy an extended warranty and get the best coverage and price. And most warranty companies will finance you if you need it latter on.

Don't get worried about missing an opportunity to get a good deal on a warranty. Your credit union, insurance company, or the Internet can help you find a good warranty. Some companies will let you try out the warranty first.  A high percentage of the time you will never need the extended warranty, just like life insurance and crop insurance. And on cars you use it even less. 4x4 s have twice as many of the expensive parts which is why I recommend it on a used 4x4. Just one major repair will cost as much as the warranty. You won't always know how the truck was used before you. It might have been raced to the airport often, or used to chase coyotes or it might not have even been serviced once. I know people who trade cars every couple of years, and never change oil, filters or anything else. You have to decide your own risk tolerance. But always ask a lot of questions and make sure you get answers before you sign.


I often get asked about the need for dual wheels on pickups. Dual wheels will carry more weight. Most of the weight limits manufactures put on their trucks are conservative to avoid breakdowns in drive trains, axles and frames. On my farm-ranch I was loaded above the weight limits most of the time. My trucks had to pay for themselves. But today in the cities with so many lanes side by side and in the mountains I stay a lot closer to the proper load limits in heavy traffic. It's just not worth the risk of breaking an axle or burning a clutch and endangering other folks. I've seen universal joints break and watched drive shafts bounced off the pavement and swing around, coming close to hitting the fuel tanks. Now I find other ways to get my thrills!

The reason I eventually went with a dually is dirt roads. Dirt roads test everything. The ruts remind you that if the truck and trailer track the same, they pull better. The newer trailers are wider and track better behind the dual wheels. Dirt roads also eat the magnets, which activate the trailer brakes in the hubs of the trailer axle. Because of that, I never relied on the trailer brakes. It would surprise you how much better dual wheels will brake. Generally going from a 1-ton single rear wheel, (Ford F350, Dodge, GM 30,3500) to a 1-ton dually will give you one size larger axles and brakes, (Dana axles in Ford and Dodge, Eaton in GM.) Duallies also give better stability for the bigger overhead slide in campers.

Of course, the disadvantages are worse mileage from the extra weight and drag, the cost of the extra tires. Also, they are 8 feet wide and bump drive up windows. On the farm, when I wasn't pulling a trailer and needed to get around in the snow and mud better, I pulled the outside duals off. If the dually is not a cab- and-chassis type, but a regular bed with fender extensions for the outside wheel, the inside dual will track behind the front tire. With duals you will need to carry a hammer around to check for flats by pounding on the face of the tire just like the big rigs do. You can't see if one of the tires is flat by glancing at it. If one of the duals is flat for a long drive, the vibration can cause the wheels to loosen up the lug nuts. Make sure you have wide enough mirrors and the spotter mirrors to see past the duals to monitor which trailer tire is trying to go flat.

Till next time,
Good Truck'n