Whether you are an owner-operator or drive for a commercial trucking company, maintaining your semi-truck or fleet ensures truck drivers will reach their destinations on time. When delays occur because of road-side breakdowns, it can result in lost business. Loads are not delivered and picked up on time. If this becomes a common occurrence, you could lose business as a result.
Taking care of your semi-truck also helps you identify potential problems before they become major repairs. When minor truck preventive maintenance issues are addressed sooner than later, the amount of time your truck is down will also be less. What items should be on your truck maintenance list? Here’s our list of top maintenance items to never ignore:
1. Change the oil and oil filter frequently.
It can be tempting to go by mileage—but don’t. Trucks can idle for long hours at a time, so oil and oil filter changes need to be based on service hours. In addition, if the oil warning light comes on at any time, stop and check out what could be wrong. Continuing to drive could result in oil leaking out and the engine seizing up because it is not being lubricated.
2. Change your tires before they go bald.
You should never drive on tires that no longer have sufficient tread. Bald tires won’t help you stop safely and could cause you to slip and slide all over the place on wet roads. Use the penny test to check the treads on your tires. Hold the penny upside down and stick it into the tread. If it covers Lincoln’s head, you are good to go. If the tread is at the top of his head, it is time for new tires.
3. Pay attention to the warning lights and gauges on your dash.
If you notice a warning light comes on, take the time to have it checked out. Just because a warning light goes off, it does not mean the problem has gone away. If you notice a gauge is not where it normally is—like the oil pressure is too high or the engine temperature is higher—you need to get it checked out by a truck mechanic right away.
4. Get new brake pads before they are metal-on-metal.
Brake pads can burn up quickly when you are riding the brake coming down steep inclines. They also wear out faster if you drive in heavy stop-and-go traffic. Take the time to inspect your brake pads before hitting the road. If you notice they are getting low, get new pads installed as soon as possible.
5. Change any burned-out lights and carry spares with you.
You never know when a headlight, taillight, turn signal, or trailer light will fail. You will want to have a selection of lights in your cab and the tools to change them. Driving with burned-out lights could be dangerous and lead to a serious accident.
6. Change other fluids at the correct intervals.
It is easy to get into the bad habit of saying you will change your truck’s other fluids next time. Before you know it, ignoring fluid maintenance will leave you stranded on the side of the road. Remember to go by service hours for fluids and get them taken care of when required.
By taking the time to review your truck preventive maintenance list and verify these items on there, you will find you have fewer unexpected breakdowns. Plus, your truck will run better and last a lot longer.
For all your truck maintenance and fleet maintenance needs in the Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Atlanta areas, please feel free to contact East Coast Diesel LLC at 984-209-1766 today! If you forgot to keep up with your maintenance and find yourself stranded, we also offer emergency roadside repairs and towing.