A semitruck has a lot of parts to maintain, and more miles you put on the truck, the more they need regular service. The suspension system is not normally a high-maintenance item, but you need to keep an eye on things and inspect it regularly is critical to avoid a breakdown from a broken spring or air bag damage. Here are some tips to follow.
1. Check Your Suspension Between Loads
The best time to visually inspect the suspension on your semitruck is when you are between loads. Once you disconnect the trailer and pull out, you will have a clear view of all the suspension components on the rear of the truck. Inspect the following elements.
Airbags and Springs
Depending on the type of suspension system you have, you may see leaf springs on the rear of the truck or rubber airbags on the axles. If you have leaf springs, visually check the springs for cracks, check the hangers on the frame for damage, and check the pack alignment, verifying that they are all lined up and straight.
For airbags, take a look at the rubber bag and take note of cracks or tears in the rubber. The bag will not hold air with a tear in it, and cracks can lead to tears over time. Check the fasteners that secure the airbags to the axle and frame, making sure they are tight and the airbag can’t move around.
Hydraulic and Air Lines
The air lines that connect the compressor to the airbags is also a concern. Check the lines for damage or corrosion and make sure they are not rubbing on any moving parts under the truck. Check the brake and any hydraulic lines running along the frame while you are there. While they may not be suspension components, they are important, and you should check them.
- Pay Attention to Ride Changes
You may notice a change in the way your truck rides. If the handling suddenly changes, or if the truck feels like it is not handling bumps well, you may have a suspension system problem that you need to address. The weight of the trailer can change the ride of the truck, but you will most likely know if the load is causing the problem or if something in the truck feels off.
If you do not see any problem with the suspension, take the truck in for a full inspection of the suspension and running gear by a qualified shop or technician.
- Check Your Shock Absorbers
While the shock absorbers seem like a small part of the suspension system, they have an important job. The shock absorbers slow the bounce rate of the springs as the truck travels over bumps in the road. They also limit the travel of the suspension and keep airbag springs from overextending. If the shock breaks, the airbag can overextend and come apart inside, causing a failure of the bag.
A quick inspection of the shock absorbers can alert you to a problem before it happens. If the shock has oil leaking from it or has damage you can see visually, you might need to replace the shocks with new ones.
- Inspect Your Suspension Bushings
The suspension system uses many rubber bushings, so take the time to look at them as well. If you see a bushing with a lot of deterioration or cracking on it, replace the bushing with a new one as soon as you can.
At Godfrey Brake Service, we have technicians that specialize in replacing springs and rebuilding your airbag suspension. Bring your truck in for a full suspension inspection and we will help you get back on the road right away.