Truck Maintenance Basics For Drivers
Repairs on the Road
Every seasoned trucker knows the feeling of coasting down the open road only to hear an unsettling screech, thump or bump radiating from the front end of the vehicle. Repairs are a part of trucking life and we have to decide right on the spot whether it is within our scope of knowledge, or if an outside contractor must be sent in to address the issue at hand. These types of decisions have to be made in the moment and as on the road trucking fleet operators, we have to prepare ourselves with the knowledge base necessary to make these types of decisions. There are several different common repairs that truckers have to address. There are those repairs that can be overlooked by the trucking fleet ownership and the trucking fleet operator must address them on the spot due to a lack of due diligence. These include oil changes and oil leaks. There are also routine repairs that must be made regardless of the ownership's upkeep of the vehicle, such as tire changes and battery jumps.
All semi-trucks must undergo frequent oil changes. How often the truck will require oil changes depends upon many factors. If the truck is climbing steep terrain frequently, then it will require a frequent oil change. It also depends upon how many miles the truck travels in a period of time. The more miles on the vehicle, the more frequently the truck will require an oil change. As truck operators, we know that diesel engines require oil changes just like gasoline engines do.
Another issue that may arise on the road is an oil leak within the engine. Oil leaks must be addressed by experienced mechanics. If the truck operator happens to have a background in engine mechanics, by all means, he can perform the repair. However, more likely than not, the truck driver will have to call upon the help of a seasoned semi-truck engine mechanic. This can require being off the road for a longer amount of time than expected in order to allow for repair time for the vehicle. Oil leaks are indicated by a consistently low oil level gauge even when the oil has just recently been refilled in the engine.
Routine tire changes must be made on the semi-truck vehicle. As semi-trucks frequently travel through rough terrain, worn roads, icy conditions, and generally hazardous environments, it is important to keep up a good thick tread on the tires. The tread on semi-truck tires gets worn down more quickly than on a standard vehicle both because of the extreme nature of the terrain and also because of the sheer amount of mileage being put on the tires. A seasoned semi-truck driver should become familiar with how to properly remove and install tires.
The life of a battery is very important when it comes to trucking because few vehicles that could stop alongside the road to help with a jumpstart would have battery power strong enough to jumpstart a semi-truck engine. It is important for the driver to consistently monitor battery life so that he never ends up in such a situation.