How to Keep Your Semi-Truck in Great Condition
A semi-truck is a hefty piece of machinery that requires all parts to work together in order to function properly. It’s important to take proactive steps to prevent breakdowns and keep your semi-truck in good condition.
1. Maintain the truck’s brakes.
Worn out brakes or brakes that are malfunctioning can cause accidents, vehicle damages and serious injuries. Schedule regular inspection of your brakes and have them replaced every 50,000 miles or so.
2. Be on the lookout for engine problems.
Loss of oil pressure, decreased power or excess exhaust are signs of a malfunctioning engine. Schedule regular maintenance to conduct compression tests and prevent a sudden engine breakdown.
3. Prevent body corrosion.
Dust, salt, certain environmental conditions and even chemicals can cause rust and body corrosion. Washing the truck once every two weeks will help remove contaminants from the surface of the truck. During winter months, spray the door locks with lubricant and be sure to wash the truck after snow or heavy rainfall.
4. Purchase spare parts.
A list of spare parts you should have on hand:
- Fuel filters
- Heater hose
- Electrical wire
- Electrical connectors
- Baling wire
- Duct tape
- Nuts, bolts and hose clamps
- Washer fluid
- Starting fluid
- Socket sets
- Claw hammer
- Tire gauge
5. Change oil regularly.
Long-distance semi-trucks can travel over 100,000 miles in one year and experience significant wear and tear. It’s important to change the oil regularly to help extend the life of the engine and decrease the risk of costly engine failure.
6. Keep tires properly inflated.
A single-axle semi-truck can carry up to 20,000 pounds. Divide that by 18, and each tire holds about 1100 pounds of weight. Underinflated tires can cause blowouts and keep you from meeting the delivery date. Be sure to regularly check tire pressure and keep the tires properly inflated.
7. Conduct pre-trip, en-route and post-trip inspections.
By law, truck drivers are required to inspect the following parts and accessories:
- Service brakes and trailer brake connections
- Parking brakes
- Steering mechanism
- Lighting devices and reflectors
- Windshield wiper
- Rear-vision mirrors
- Coupling devices
Each of these parts must be in good working order before and after every trip.