You need to make your truck last to keep costs under control as an owner-operator, and that requires proper maintenance. While regular maintenance of your engine, brakes, and suspension is essential, your transmission is just as important. If you still use a manual transmission, then your clutch and flywheel are two of its most critical components.
Maintenance is an important part of keeping your semi-truck on the road and keeping you safe while you drive it. With other obligations, sometimes maintenance tasks don’t get completed. However, if you start to see any signs of wear or damage, you should make maintenance a priority. Learn about a few signs to look out for as you schedule your routine maintenance stops.
If a semitruck isn’t moving down the road, it’s not making any money. Owner-operators are responsible for securing loads and taking care of the semitrucks that haul these loads. It’s imperative that you are able to create a comprehensive maintenance program if you want to keep your semi running reliably over time.
You can avoid both simple and not-so-simple mechanical problems through preventative maintenance. Highlighted below are some critical elements that should be included in your semi maintenance plan to ensure the productivity and reliability of your rig in the future.
Brake failure accounts for many semi-truck accidents. Because of the size of the truck and trailer, these accidents can lead to large amounts of property damage and tragic fatalities. Whether you have a single truck or a fleet, you need to understand these common reasons for semi-truck brake failure and what you can do to prevent it.
1. Using the Trolley Valve Exclusively or Depowering Your Brakes
The practice of depowering the front brakes isn’t something you should consider. Some brake failures occur simply because the driver didn’t use the brakes at all. Some drivers unhook their tractor brakes and rely on the trolley valve and the trailer’s brakes instead.
You may hear the terms powertrain, drivetrain, driveline, and others all used interchangeably. Really, these terms describe different things. Understanding the differences can go a long way towards understanding the types of repairs your truck may need when it’s having a problem. Here is a look at the different terms, what they mean, and what makes the distinctions important.
Your Truck’s Powertrain
The powertrain of your truck consists of all the components and mechanisms that allow your truck to move. Because the engine creates the needed power to move everything else, the engine is the main part of a truck’s powertrain. However, the powertrain includes just about everything that involves turning engine power into wheels turning. Those components include:
Modern tractor-trailer suspension systems are most commonly airbag suspension systems, not leaf springs anymore. The airbag systems are incredibly durable, and with proper maintenance to the system, it will last as long as older leaf spring systems did. Proper maintenance and regular inspection of the system is the best way to stay ahead of any problems that may arise with use.
Watch for Signs of System Problems
The suspension system on your truck has several jobs. The first is to cushion the ride for the driver, and the second is to cushion the ride for the cargo in the trailer. The airbags also play a role in eliminating stress on the truck and trailer from bumps in the road.
A severe jolt from a pothole or crack in the road can damage other components in the suspension system is the airbags are not working correctly. A visual inspection of the suspension system should be done regularly by the driver, especially if the driver feels a change in the handling of the truck or the suspension ride quality.
The airbags are easily accessible when a trailer is no attached to the truck, so taking a second to look at them and check for damage or cracks can be the best way to catch a failing airbag before it fails completely.
If you are an owner-operator, you probably know just how expensive it can be to keep your semi-truck in good condition. If certain expensive parts become damaged, then repair costs can be very expensive. For example, a transmission replacement can be very costly, and it’s something you want to avoid if possible.
In addition to the cost of replacing a transmission, you have to worry about how your business can be impacted by a transmission issue. If your truck isn’t running, then you aren’t able to work. Luckily, you can keep your transmission in great shape by following these three tips.
Heavy-duty trucks are at the heart of many industries operating in today’s economy. Without a reliable semi, consumer goods wouldn’t be transported to retail outlets and construction companies wouldn’t be able to haul heavy loads to job sites.
A fleet of heavy-duty trucks must be meticulously maintained to ensure each vehicle is in good working condition at all times. The engine, transmission, and body of a truck are easy to maintain, but the driveline is a critical component that can go overlooked.
Of all the parts installed on a heavy-duty driveline, the U-joints are subject to the most constant movement and stress. Premature U-joint failure can be costly, so you need to understand what these vital components are and how you can better maintain them in the future.
The transmission is one of the most important mechanical components of your semitruck. A malfunctioning transmission at the very least detracts from efficiency and could render a semitruck completely useless in severe cases.
You should have your transmission serviced at the first indications of malfunctioning to prevent additional transmission damage.
The following are seven indications to look out for that show your semitruck needs transmission service.
Vibrations in your truck’s driveline can be relatively minor issues, or they can be major problems with vital components. If you notice a vibration in your truck’s driveline, here are some potential causes of the irregularity.
An Out-of-Sync Peripheral Part
The driveline transmits power to the axles, which ultimately deliver power to the wheels. The axles, the wheels, and all the parts between them are designed to rotate as the driveline does, keeping in sync with it so that every rotation of the driveline generates one rotation of each wheel.