Road Tripping In A Diesel Truck

Diesel Truck Featured Image. Photo: Gmc
Diesel Truck Featured Image. Photo: GMC

What You Need To Know About Road Tripping In A Diesel Truck

When I bought my GMC Sierra 4×4 Elevation X31 Turbo Diesel truck last year, I never knew how much I would need to learn about owning a diesel truck. I love how comfortable it is, and I love how great the fuel mileage is. But among the daily differences in owning a diesel truck, there was a lot to learn about road-tripping in one, too.

Related: RAM 1500 EcoDiesel Limited: Can a Pickup-Truck Be a Family Hauler? Yes.

Diesel Fuel vs. Gas

Buying diesel fuel instead of gas seems like an easy thing to do when you’re road-tripping with a diesel truck. But when you have driven vehicles that take gas for over 30 years, you really need to concentrate on this the first few times you fill up, so that you don’t accidently put gasoline in your diesel engine.  Finding diesel isn’t as easy as regular gas either. If you are taking a long road trip, I suggest planning out a few filling stations on your route to make sure they carry diesel fuel. The expense of diesel as opposed to gas is another thing to take into consideration when you start planning your road trip. Diesel is more expensive, but as you will see, I was getting great fuel mileage with my diesel truck.

Related: Should You Buy a Diesel Vehicle? Pros, Cons and What You Need To Know

Filling Up My Diesel Truck With Def Fluid

What do you know about def fluid? Photo:Adeina Anderson

DEF Fluid is a Must When Road Tripping in a Diesel Truck

What is DEF fluid you ask? Don’t worry, I asked the same thing.  So, what is DEF fluid and why is it necessary when you drive a diesel truck? DEF stands for diesel exhaust fluid; it is a mix of deionized water and urea. Urea is a compound in nitrogen that turns into ammonia when heated. Have you ever seen those trucks on the street that have heavy soot coming out of the exhaust pipes (rolling coal as they call it on the streets),  a DEF System uses the urea to trap those soot particles from the engine exhaust preventing harmful pollutants from reaching the atmosphere. Let’s keep our earth clean, shall we?

Quick Facts:

  • DEF fluid has a separate tank from the diesel tank, so when you are filling it, be sure not to get any on your paint. If this happens, clean it off right away, it will eat away at your paint.
  • How often do you need to add DEF to the tank? Luckily my truck comes with a sensor telling me how much I have and when I need to add more. But it does depend on MPG, and how you use the truck. What kind of engine do you have? Are you towing? Driving through mountains? Just driving it day to day? All of this comes into play when calculating your DEF fluid fill-ups.
Road Tripping With A Diesel Truck

Keeping the pups comfortable and safe in the truck. Photo: Adeina Anderson

Packing For A Road Trip In A Truck

Packing for a road trip with a big truck is much different than packing a car or even an SUV. One tip I have for a long road trip where you will be stopping overnight is to pack a hotel bag so you don’t have to take everything in. You can also use my other tip which is to take a black tablecloth to cover items in your truck when you leave it for a long time.

Storing heavy items like your DEF fluid or baby strollers in the bed of the truck is great as long as the weather is good. I would strap them down so they don’t bounce around. If you travel a lot, I would look into buying a tunnel cover, it keeps your items safe from weather and being stolen.

Related: Why Your Best Road Trip Car Just Might Be a Truck; the RAM 1500 Laramie Crew Cab

Road Tripping With A Diesel Truck

My traveling companions. Photo: Adeina Anderson

Road Tripping With The Pups In A Truck

Traveling with my pups is pretty much a given when I road trip. They have their car seats, and they love hitting the road as much as I do. I always make sure I can reach treats and water for them when on the road, and believe me, they will let you know when they want a treat. It is a little harder to reach the treats in the truck, but this wasn’t a huge hurdle to get over. Just put items you don’t need to get to under the bags that you do need to get into. That way you or your passenger can reach everything with ease.

Related: Tips for Traveling With Pets

Road Tripping With A Diesel Truck

Road tripping in a diesel truck is the same as any other vehicle, gotta keep the snacks handy! Photo: Adeina Anderson

What Are Must Haves Inside The Truck

I always take a cooler and bag of snacks when I road trip. They usually sit behind either my seat or the passenger seat. One thing with trucks is that they are bigger inside, so you need to prop up any bags that you may need to get into while on the road. Keeping a first aid kit in your vehicle is also a must. You never know when you’ll need a bandaid or a pair of tweezers. Another tip is to take a black tablecloth to cover items when you travel. That way no one can see what you have in your vehicle if they look in the windows.

Road tripping in a diesel truck or car can take a little bit of planning. But the efficiency is worth it.

For over a decade, lifestyle expert Adeina Anderson has been a nationally trusted source of information on travel tips,... More about Adeina Anderson