GOLDEN TIPS FOR TRUCK MAINTENANCE

Maintenance is very important to safety on the road and it improves the life of a truck. Having a good maintenance culture also helps in lowering the operation costs of a truck. If routine maintenance is carried out on a daily basis, a lot can be avoided. It helps in reducing the risk of the truck experiencing a break down as its problems are detected early.

Before embarking on any trip, there should be a daily ritual of checking the turn signals, hazard flashers, tires and the lights. This should be done for both new and old trucks.

A lot of industries and companies make use of trucks on a daily basis, as many of their products are conveyed from one destination to another. Freight tonnage has also been on the increase. The revenue generated by the trucking industry in the year 2015 was $726.4 billion. All these freights are moved by a freight broker.

However, if these trucks aren’t maintained regularly, they could cause problems for the owner and also affect others using the road. Like any other machine or vehicles, these trucks require ongoing maintenance in order to deliver best.

Below are a few tips on how to maintain trucks.

1.    MAKE IT A HABIT OF CHANGING THE OIL REGULARLY

For trucks that are always on the road, it should be noted that their engine deteriorates every few thousand miles. This situation can be prevented by making use of clean oil. The engine of a truck runs into serious problems if the oil lubricates aren’t clean. There’s always a thermal break down of oil over time, when this happens, there’s an increased level of friction in the engines, this eventually leads to serious problems or complete failure of the engine.

Oil can be contaminated by dirt, debris or dust from the external environment (even the engine itself). This should be prevented from happening by carrying out an oil change after every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. This singular act protects the engine and saves you money that would have otherwise be spent on repairs. This recommendation however varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as there’s a recommendation from 2008 Ford truck manufacturer’s that the oil should be changed after every 7,500 miles or after an interval of 6 months. There’s also another recommendation that oil should be changed for every interval of 6 months or for every 5,000 miles. The manufacturer’s recommendation for changing the oil should be followed.

The frequency of this fluid change depends on a few factors such as the type of truck, the number of miles covered, what the truck is being used for and the load weight. It is highly recommended for the trucks that are used very often. Trying to extend the life of oil saves costs temporarily but leads to more expensive repair costs in the nearest future.

 

2.    RUN A CHECK ON THE TRUCK TIRES

The tires should be regularly checked for possible wear or tear, alignment or suspension and its pressure. Also the tires should be checked to meet DOT requirement for its tread depth and its general condition.

Tires are very prone to tread ware and blow outs if they are overinflated and under-inflation is known to cause uneven weight distribution which seriously affects the alignment, framework, steering, traction and braking. Tire blow out severely affect the condition of the car and cause damage to other motorists too. A simple maintenance culture of verifying the tire pressure can save you money. By properly inflating truck tires, 3.3 percent can be saved, on your fuel money, according to the United States Department of Energy. The proper air pressure of trucks can be seen in the owner’s manual.

A tip to ensuring that all the tires of your truck maintain an even total of tread wear is rotating the tires regularly. When this is done regularly it prolongs the lifespan of the tires, also improving the gas mileage. 

The technician can have a better look of all the other components in the tire region when it’s rotated. This tire rotation serves as a form of preventive maintenance as other problems are detected early.

 

3.    THE FLUID LEVELS SHOULD BE CHECKED AND CHANGED.

 A lot of engine system fails due to the lack of maintenance culture. This lack of routine check should be stopped in order for your truck to serve better with little or no hitches at all. In this routine check, fluids shouldn’t be excluded as they also play an important part in the functioning of trucks.

Apart from the engine oil, the windshield washer fluid, engine coolant, brake fluid and the power steering fluid levels should be checked on routine. When these fluids are checked and a significant drop in fluid levels is noticed, it translates to either a leak or a consumption problem.

All the component parts of the truck’s steering system are moved by the power steering fluid, popularly referred to as the hydraulic fluid. If the power steering fluid is changed the duration of usage of other components of the truck’s steering system like the power-steering rack and the power-steering pump is prolonged.

When the engine coolant isn’t maintained, it leads to premature engine failure.  This engine coolant plays the function of maintaining the freezing and boiling points of engine fluids. When the engine is kept at its optimal temperature, the engine performs better and there isn’t any case of any problem arising from temperature extremes. There are different types of engine coolants, care should be taken so as the right type and even amount is used and the coolant should be well diluted proportionately so as to maintain the temperature of the engine. 

The brake system of a truck is supposed to be at its optimum on a regular basis. With time, the brake fluid also known as the hydraulic fluid gets to absorb moisture, resulting in it not functioning properly, hence the need for replacing the brake fluid regularly.

A lot of truck drivers rarely give much attention to the windshield washer fluid. This is however an important aspect of truck maintenance. Visibility can be difficult when there’s a buildup of smears and dust on your windshield. It’s highly advisable to change the windshield washer fluid routinely as it offers protection to the windshield.

 

4.    CHECK THE BATTERY AND RUN A VERIFICATION TEST FOR THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM.

There should be routine battery checks, it should be secured and the connections shouldn’t be loose but tight so as to prevent cases of malfunction. Truck drivers are generally advised to replace their batteries after using it for a more than 72 months. If the truck is used in colder climates, to avoid problems arising from the battery, it pays to run a battery check.

New generation trucks make use of wires and sensors to keep the vehicle running smooth. The efficiency of a truck’s electrical system is put to a test in situations where the truck experiences frequent stops and starts and long distance driving. 

 

5.    RUN A TRUCK INSPECTION

A lot of frown at this, largely due to the time the truck isn’t on the road or due to the cost of this maintenance. A professional runs an analysis on your truck for any problem that needs fixing, either mechanical, electrical or safety issues. 

This truck inspection should be done on routine for efficiency and truck durability.

 

6.    RUN A REGULAR BRAKE CHECK

Trucks are usually used for transportation to carry loads from one destination to another and as such needs to have a highly efficient brake system. A good number of accident cases reported are as a result of brake failure. A test on the brake should be carried out for adjustment, air system performance and stopping performance. It is also advised that an inspection and required maintenance should be carried out on the truck every time the oil is being changed. 

Brake parts should be checked frequently and replaced when they wear. Anytime you are replacing your brake pads, it’s important you install new brake pins, bushings and springs. The components of the brake system work together for better performance of the break, so whenever you stop at your maintenance provider, make sure the S-cams and slack adjusters are greased.

Pressure is very important in bringing a truck to stop. The minimum, the pressure gauge needs to read is 60 psi. But if the pressure is always below 100 psi, the brakes should be checked, since the ideal pressure gauge reading is 100 and 125 psi. 

 

7.    REGULARLY CHECK YOUR ENGINE BELTS

This strong rubber belts drives the air conditioning compressor, the alternator and a bunch of others. The engine belts are strong but happen to break down after a long period of use. The engine belts should be checked regularly for signs of small cracks in the rubber. When such signs are noticed, it’s advisable that the belt should get changed.

It is recommended by experts and professionals that the engine belts should be checked after every 25,000 miles and a replacement should be carried out around 50,000 miles.

It is therefore highly imperative to take into consideration these golden tips to keep your trucks and other motors in good shape so as to get the best possible result out of them on the roads.

Categories: Service