Let’s face it – there is nothing worse than being stuck on the side of a busy highway waiting for roadside assistance because something went wrong with your rig. Experiencing a breakdown is especially frustrating in the summertime when it is really hot outside. But, it’s also not fun to be stuck out in the cold. Really, there is no ideal time for a breakdown, especially when you’re on a deadline. Not only is a truck breakdown inconvenient and uncomfortable, but anything that requires maintenance can slow you down and put you behind schedule. You are on the road for long enough as it is, so who wants to be stuck even longer because of a flat tire or issues with your breaks? Surely not you. To avoid the most common causes for a truck breakdown, make yourself a truck maintenance checklist before you head out for your next delivery.
Before you create your truck maintenance checklist, it is important to keep in mind what the most common causes of a truck breakdown are. Tires, for example, make up a quarter of all road calls and are the second most common cause for a violation in the trucking industry. Other issues arise with brakes, such as air pressure leakage. Fuel and cooling systems can also create issues on the road. With all that in mind, what should you have on your truck maintenance checklist?
Truck Maintenance Checklist: 5 Tips to Avoid a Breakdown
1. Test the Tires
At least once a week you should be checking your tire pressure, and if you’re on a long trip, check the pressure more frequently. Underinflated and overinflated tires can both cause issues. If your tires are underinflated it can lower your fuel mileage and make steering more difficult, while overinflated tires are more likely to pop or get damaged by potholes. Keep in mind that your tire pressure can change depending on the temperature outside, how fast you’re driving and what altitude you are at.
2. Look Out for Shaky Brakes
Your breaks are pretty good at telling you when it’s time for new ones. For example, do you feel them vibrating or hear them squealing when you are stopping the truck? That’s a sign you should schedule an appointment to have your brakes checked by a mechanic.
3. Fill the Fluids
Before you hit the highway, you should check all of your fluids, like the oil, radiator fluid and although it seems like common sense, your fuel levels. Making sure everything is where it should be can avoid any type of damage to your truck further down the road.
4. Check the Electrical System
Make sure you are monitoring the condition of your truck’s battery. This will help you to avoid any surprises while you’re on the road and don’t have time for delays. While you’re at it, you should also take the time to check all of the wiring and cables and make sure they are secure and free of rust.
5. Take Your Time
You’re in a hurry to reach your destination on time, but if you just slow down a little bit, you may avoid accidents or other mishaps on the road. Drive at the posted speed limit, try to avoid slamming on your breaks and before you shut your truck off at a stop, allow your engine time to cool down so that your exhaust gas temperature is below 300 degrees.
These five tips are essential for your truck maintenance checklist and can help you to avoid a truck breakdown and better prepare you for roadside inspections. Are there any tips that we missed on this list? Drop them in the comments below!