This is my final post for About.com Trucks. I'm moving on to a brand new site and topic, and invite all classic car and truck enthusiasts to stop by and say Hello. Thank you to everyone who's followed the Trucks site since I began writing it in 2002. If old trucks are your passion, you'll soon find me at aboutclassicautos.com.
BedSlide designs and manufactures durable units that extend beyond the end of a pickup truck's tailgate, making it a cinch to load and unload cargo without crawling inside the bed or reaching over its sides. Multiple stop (and lock) points keep the surface firmly in place while you deal with cargo, and when you're finished, the full-width handle makes it easy to slide the surface towards the cab and tuck it securely inside the bed.
BOLT locks can help simplify your life by reducing the number of keys you have to sort through the next time padlocks and other types of locks need to be opened. Once converted, your truck key handles them all, and that means no more fumbling around with a bundle of little keys that all look alike.
One new concept at a recent North American International Auto Show came from an unexpected source. Smart's For-Us electric truck is a 2-seater, aerodynamically engineered little vehicle with cargo space that's designed to carry a couple of Smart ebikes.
Some cars and trucks that have been through floods -- or water-damaged in another way -- will be cleaned up and sold, with no warning to the buyer that they've been soaked. It shouldn't happen, but it does, and there are nearly always plenty of flood damaged vehicles making their way around the country. Use our tips to help detect water damage when you're buying a pickup truck or other auto.
Toyota's A-BAT hybrid concept truck looks like a cross between a Ridgeline and an Avalanche -- with some Prius body lines (and technology) thrown in. The A-BAT concept targets commuters who want the ability to haul occasional cargo, but don't need a big truck, or don't use a truck often enough to settle for poor fuel economy. This thing definitely looks flexible -- it has a midgate that folds down to increase bed length from 4 feet to 8 feet, and a roof that slides forwards to accommodate tall cargo. The truck's a concept, so Toyota doesn't have to share projected fuel economy details, but if a real-world version of the A-BAT goes to production you can bet it will get pretty decent mileage from a tank of gas.
Photo © Toyota
Unique graphics and a tweaked interior make up a portion of the features you'll see on 2014 SVT Raptor Special Edition pickup trucks. Luxury systems that are optional on a typical Raptor are standard on the special, and the truck benefits from the continued updates Ford has made since its introduction in 2010.
Ford has tweaked its popular F-150 SVT Raptor for each model year, adding features that have truly improved the truck's already stable foundation. Raptor is still the go-to pickup for Ford enthusiasts looking for a combination of power and comfort -- and a truck that rolls off the assembly line with capabilities that perform equally well off-road as they do when running down a paved highway.
There's never a good time for a battery to fail, and unlike older parts, modern auto batteries usually don't give us any warning that they're on the way out. It's no fun to be stranded, so when your truck's battery finally fails you'll need to install a replacement asap. Learn a few battery facts now, to help you make battery buying and installation decisions before you're scrambling to get the truck running again.
I attended a driving event at the Cooper Tire Vehicle Test Center, where test courses allowed drivers to compare the performance of worn tires vs. new tires in wet driving conditions. We also had the opportunity to take a high-speed ride with Johnny Unser, former Indy car racer and a consultant to Cooper.
Overall, the event focused on tire design and tire safety, and was a reminder that most people don't inspect their tires on a regular basis (when was the last time you checked yours?). Use our easy tips to get into the habit of monitoring your tires.