Pickup Trucks: Big is the New Small

I was helping my parents move the other day, and it struck me – “Wow, today’s pickups are massive.” Trundling up Highway 53 in northern Wisconsin behind the wheel of my dad’s Ford F-150 felt like navigating a battleship. And many of the trucks on the road dwarf his pickup.

So I examined some numbers. My old 1987 Ford F-150 “regular cab” (is that term still part of our automotive nomenclature?) was 210.2 inches long. Atruck_-webnd it boasted an 8-foot box. Today’s “compact” and “small” trucks are even longer than my “full-sized” pickup.

2015 Chevy Colorado Extended Cab
• 212.7-inch length2015 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab
• 219.4-inch length

With each, you’re stuck with a box slightly longer than 6 feet. A sheet of plywood is still 8 feet last I checked, so good luck with that.

Even more interesting, today’s engines are generally smaller. The 300 straight-six that powered my 1987 F-150 churned out 165 hp. Meanwhile, the Colorado’s 2.5L I-4 puts out 200 hp. The Nissan uses a V-6, but at 261 hp, it makes nearly 100 hp more than the ‘87 Ford.

A host of engineering advancements, led by lighter aluminum engines and other components, turbos, direct injection (DI) and variable valve timing (VVT), have culminated in the automotive landscape we enjoy today – bigger vehicles powered by smaller engines that use less fuel and produce fewer emissions. A win-win, right?
towing_truck_utv_smSure, if you’re using high-quality synthetic motor oil. Simply put, today’s engines are brutal on motor oil. Turbos, for example, can spin up to 150,000 rpm, creating extreme operating temperatures that can cause low-quality oils to quickly break down, creating deposits and shortening the life of the oil. In engines with VVT, sludge or deposits can plug the solenoid screen or oil galleries and impact the operation of VVT mechanisms. This not only disrupts performance, it can be the first step toward a costly repair bill. DI can lead to fuel contaminating the oil and reducing viscosity, inviting wear.

Conventional oils are quickly being left behind. In fact, many of today’s vehicles come straight from the factory with synthetic lubricants installed and recommended as the service fill. AMSOIL synthetic motor oils are purpose-built to withstand the toughest conditions of their intended applications. They don’t contain the impurities inherent to conventional oils, meaning they last longer and deliver maximum engine protection.

Owners of any pickup, big or small, can get behind that.

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