TRUCK MAINTENANCE TIPS

24 Jul 2020

TRUCK MAINTENANCE TIPS

Regular preventative maintenance is the best way to reduce operating costs – sudden mechanical breakdowns are often expensive and can, in most cases, be avoided by routine truck and trailer maintenance. Performing regular preventative maintenance inspections can be based on time or mileage. Check the vehicle’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations on maintenance. Pay special attention to items such as:

 

1. HAVE A PLAN TO COMBAT BRAKE WEAR AND FAILURE

Brake failure is a common cause for accidents, which often result in vehicle damage, third-party injury and lawsuits. To avoid these potentially catastrophic results, be sure to establish a plan for having a professional service your brakes as part of your truck maintenance routine. The distance a truck can travel between brake service depends on the driving habits of the driver, but it's safest to have them inspected and maintained during every oil change.

 

Maintenance Tips: Brake parts wear and need to be replaced on a regular basis. Brake shoe indicators that are built into the pads will tell you when to replace them. When you bring your truck in to replace the pads, your maintenance provider should also install new brake springs, pins and bushings. The drums should be replaced at the same time shoes are changed out because they wear down and can develop heat cracks.

 

Application pressure is a key to stopping your truck, so check the pressure gauge to be sure it reads at least 60 psi or greater — between 100 and 125 psi is ideal — before putting the truck to work. If pressure is consistently less than 100 psi, have the brakes checked.

 

2. DO TESTS TO AVOID ENGINE PROBLEMS

 

Engine and drivetrain problems will take your truck off the road faster than you can say “downtime,” so be on the lookout for signs such as excessive smoking, loss of oil pressure or a decrease in power. These are symptoms of an unhealthy engine and should be dealt with immediately, preferably by a professional such as Empire Truck & Trailer that can properly diagnosis the problem and make the appropriate repairs.

Maintenance Tips: For the engine, arrange to have your maintenance provider conduct periodic compression tests, which will provide a sense of how long the engine will last. Other maintenance checks include monitoring engine coolant and exhaust temperature and keeping an eye on oil and boost pressures. Have all rubber parts under the hood and the wheel alignment checked on a regular basis.



3. KEEP ABREAST OF ELECTRICAL SYSTEM ISSUES

Newer trucks are more reliant on electrical systems to keep the engines running at peak efficiency or at all, for that matter. These newer vehicles use bundles of wires and many sensors to communicate with an onboard computer to keep their engines turning.

 

4. REPLACE PARTS THAT ARE SUBJECT TO WEAR AND TEAR

Parts wear out and you replace them, right? Well, maybe not. Truck manufacturers eventually stop making parts for older models, and then you may be out of luck.

 

Maintenance Tips: Stockpile parts you know you will need, and buy parts with lifetime warranties. Here’s another tip. Some parts you might think don’t come with lifetime warranties actually do. Most brake pads, alternators, starters, and even oil seals come with warranties, so be sure to include them when making your parts list. Stockpiling may cost more in the long run, but the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll have t6. MAINTAIN LUBRICATION

Keep your truck lubed, using only high-quality grease on the suspension, steering, and drivetrain zerks. Failure to do so can lead to premature wear and costly breakdowns.

 

Maintenance Tips: Make sure that checking for leaks and slop in drivetrain parts is on your routine truck maintenance checklist. As a best practice, you should lube all applicable parts and fittings before each haul.

 

5. MAINTAIN LUBRICATION

Keep your truck lubed, using only high-quality grease on the suspension, steering, and drivetrain zerks. Failure to do so can lead to premature wear and costly breakdowns.

Maintenance Tips: Make sure that checking for leaks and slop in drivetrain parts is on your routine truck maintenance checklist. As a best practice, you should lube all applicable parts and fittings before each haul

 

6. CHANGE OIL REGULARLY

On average, engine deterioration occurs every few thousand miles and that’s especially true for trucks that are constantly on the road. Every engine wears down eventually, but fresh oil prevents that from happening prematurely. Oil undergoes a thermal breakdown over time. As it fails, engine friction increases, raising the chances of total engine failure or a very expensive trip to a repair shop.

Maintenance Tips: Although most manufacturers recommend an oil change every 5,000 to 7,000 miles in reality the frequency varies based on the vehicle and the use of the vehicle. Some mechanics recommend more frequent oil changes, especially for trucks that receive heavhem when you need them is priceless.



7. AVOID DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTER CLOGGING

Maintaining the diesel particulate filter is an important part of your regularly scheduled diesel truck maintenance program for several reasons. If you ignore it, you risk more than just the cost to replace the filter: 

Maintenance Tips: Worn fuel injectors will result in the use of more fuel, which is costly to you. It also results in the generation and accumulation of soot in the fuel filter, which retards the filter’s effectiveness and affects the overall performance of the vehicle. Bottom line, your truck maintenance schedule should include repairing and replacing your fuel injectors at regular intervals as recommended by the manufacturer.

You’ll also want to have your maintenance provider check the turbocharger regularly for proper operation and wear. Turbochargers that don’t produce enough air or have leaky seals result in more soot or the occurrence of lube oil in the exhaust, which could put you out of compliance.



8. REGULARLY EXAMINE TIRE

 

Regularly examine every tire to make sure it is properly inflated and meets DOT requirements for tread depth. Tire pressure changes when temperatures drop, reducing fuel economy and creating a greater risk of tire failure at high speeds. Underinflated tires can also affect weight distribution, which in turn can cause problems with the framework, alignment, traction, steering and braking.

Underinflated tires are a drag on fuel efficiency, and overinflated tires are a safety risk because they are more prone to blowouts or premature tread wear.