Category Archives for "Trucks"

Truck Maintenance Basics For Drivers

Semi Truck And Trailer At Airport

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.

Oil Changes

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.

Oil Leaks

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.

Tire Changes

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.

Preparing Your Truck and Yourself For Winter Driving

With winter just a few weeks away, this seems an appropriate time to discuss winter weather preparation and driving.

Bad Weather And Wrecks

The majority of weather-related auto accidents in the U.S. occur in late fall and winter. This fact shows the importance of getting your rig and yourself ready for winter driving.

Think Tires

Run tires with lug tread on your driving wheels. The deeper track on lugs makes them better suited to winter driving. Cold lowers tire pressure so check your air pressure regularly. Continually inspect your tires for signs they need replacement. Use tire spray to gauge road conditions. Lots of tire spray, the roads are just wet. A reduction in the mist indicates icing.

Emergency Supply Kit

There is always the risk of becoming stranded in a storm. Carry extra clothing, including shoes and socks in case the clothes you are wearing get wet. Keep a folding shovel, sand, and tire chains handy and pack water and protein bars. Remember a flashlight, cellphone charger, and a blanket.

Pressure Test

With the heater control valves on and the engine cold, pressure test your cooling system and the radiator cap. Check for hoses that are hardened, cracked, or softened. Make sure hose clamps are secure. Replace the warm weather water/antifreeze mix with straight antifreeze.


To keep your brake lines from freezing, routinely inspect the air dryer and air dryer filter. On slick roads allow at least ten times the usual braking distance. Pump rather than slam on the brakes. Sometimes, it's better to maneuver around an obstacle than to use the binders. Remember, that mound of snow could be a car.

Load Test Your Battery

Load test your battery to be sure it has enough life left to get through the winter. On the subject of things electrical, use headlights when visibility is reduced. Don't use cruise control if you are using your wipers. Pay extra close attention to the taillights ahead of you.

Carry Anti-Gel

Gelling from cold temperature turns diesel fuel to wax. To keep your engine running in wintry climes, use a high cetane (55) fuel and anti-gel. Always have extra anti-gel on hand. You might also think about installing a block heater.

Intersections And Ramps

When roads are slippery and visibility is reduced, use extra caution at intersections. Even if you have the green light, double-check that another vehicle isn't sliding through the opposite corner. On hazardous roads, disengage the engine brake when approaching a bridge or ramp. Remember, bridge decks freeze before pavement.

Use The AC

Yes, we are still talking about winter driving. Running the air conditioner helps the defrosters work more efficiently. Clean your lights, mirrors and reflectors. To determine a safe following distance start counting after the lead vehicle passes a marker like a road sign. If you pass the marker before getting to 15, you are following too closely.

New York Unveils Eco Friendly Garbage Truck

Mack LR Electric Garbage Truck In New York City


Mack Trucks finally unveiled their fully electric Mack LR truck. New York City’s sanitation department will begin utilizing the state-of-the-art vehicle on its routes and its results will be analyzed and review to see if the technology is beneficial to collection routes.

The Mac actually houses two motors that are 130-kW Together have a horsepower of 496. Though electrically powered the Mack Truck can give the same level of power and stability that trucks with traditional engines can.

The unveiling has been anticipated for quite some time as the city of New York has been planning to increase its environmental efforts and reduce fleet maintenance costs with similar rollouts of electric technology.

These advancements will benefit said routes will affect the city's bottom line and ensure its citizens get an even better refuse collection service.

The new electrically powered Mack truck is a brilliant innovation that allows for low noise emitted from the engine and introduces clean energy into the world of heavy trucking.

Dirty Energy Used By Most Cities

Typically, heavy trucks cause much environmental damage and until now there have been no viable solutions to solve the damage caused by the dirtier energy these industrial trucks produce.

These traditional types of large vehicles are used by cities all over the US at stunning rates and most still use environmentally damaging engines.

This new advancement, if tested and proven to be a viable option for cities, could change the environmental Landscape by a large margin. City-operated vehicles contribute to greenhouse gases significantly.

Largest Sanitation Department

New York actually has the biggest Sanitation department in the world. 12,000 tons of garbage is collected each day from the city's five boroughs. Most of the fleet for the sanitation department is made up of these mack trucks.

Reducing greenhouse gases has been a goal of New York City for a while and they aim to decrease these greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2035. This new electric Mack truck will be a major benefit to that goal.

New York is actually the first to test this new electric Mack truck and several different factors will come into play when analyzing the performance of the vehicle. This includes the capacity of the payload, the range in which it can operate, and the actual functionality of the vehicle.

Other Innovations Coming

Another company called Nikola is promising to bring to market a semi-truck that utilizes hydrogen fuel cells to power its engine. However, they have not made the vehicle available to public or private users as the Mack Truck company has.

Companies may use city and state departments to test their environmentally friendly Vehicles as many cities often have the infrastructure to accommodate real-world testing.

Demonstrations were held in Allentown, Pa. and included the mack truck being driven around a testing course. This testing course mimicked real-life situations such as stop and go traffic and extremely tight turns so as to give the testers the best understanding of what it would be like actually having to drive this vehicle.

3 Ways to Improve Truck Cornering

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  1. Slow Down: Approaching corners at increased speeds can amplify the level of difficultly in controlling your truck’s turn radius. Slowing down allows drivers to firmly grip the wheel, and steady control over the entire vehicle before an upcoming turn.
  2. Power Through: When pulling a heavy trailer, keep a steady pull-power through any turn. Relinquishing that control to a truck’s trailing counterpart can cause loss of control over the whole vehicle. Keeping a foot on the gas from start to finish can help drivers avoid control lose.
  3. Increase Anti-Roll Bar Size: Adding this larger bar in a truck steadies the truck’s center of gravity, and decreases potential body rolling on a closer-cut turn.


Looking for other trucking tips and tricks? Tatems has trucking management software to aid every need.


Girl on a High Wire between two speeding Big Rigs

Well summer is about over and yes I hit my goal and I am able to eat pizza on movie night again 🙂

Check out this great video of World record-holding highliner Faith Dickey crossing a slack line between two speeding Volvo trucks.

Will she make it before the trucks reach the tunnel?

How do you get a boat with an 85 foot mast under a 65 foot bridge?

A little ingenuity…

In other trucking, transportation and equipment news:

In TATEMS news we are working on getting a number of new features out the door. For example, the ability to attach items like scanned documents or pictures to a Work order and to the equipment itself.

I hope you have a great week!

All The Best!