4 Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Semi-Truck Running Smoothly
Semi-trucks are made to be driven across tens of thousands of miles throughout their lifespan, making them vulnerable to breakdown. Considering the steep cost of buying a brand new, or even a used semi, it's wise to know when and how to maintain them to protect your investment. Whether you're new to truck driving or a seasoned driver, we recommend you refresh yourself regularly with proper truck hygiene and maintenance, so you don't need to worry about enormous service costs down the road.
We want to help you keep your semi running smoothly, without issue, and for years, so we compiled our top maintenance tips for you. Continue reading below to learn more about protecting yourself and your truck.
Check Tire Pressure and Look for Damages
Without tires, your semi-truck is immobile, rendering you jobless. You purchased the vehicle in the first place to make you employable as a truck driver, so we recommend taking care of the components that keep it moving.
Like all other vehicles, tires require periodic observation and maintenance. The first habit we recommend getting into is regularly checking each tire's pressure to ensure they're adequately filled to give your vehicle a smooth and safe ride. If one or more of your tires is overinflated (filled with too much air), you risk a blowout, often leading to losing control of the vehicle.
Moreover, when tires are regularly balanced, they could have a significantly extended lifespan and increase fuel economy, saving you money over the long run. Lastly, when you examine the PSI of your tires, we recommend using that time as an opportunity to examine them for damages and holes so you can get them repaired before they become worse and potentially dangerous.
Regularly Inspect the Brakes
The inherent heavy load of semi-trucks is taxing on the internal brake system, leaving them prone to breakdown, wear and tear, and damage if not maintained regularly. Making it worse is driving during the cold winter months over snow and ice, leading to the brakes enduring much more stress.
You can easily prevent having to deal with damaged bakes or swapping them for ones earlier than anticipated by getting them regularly maintained. When you drop off your semi at a specialized mechanic shop, ensure they're inspecting the following:
- The slack adjusters which are responsible for maintaining the alignment while the brakes are engaged. If they are not adequately oiled, it can cause the brakes to fail.
- Air compressor pressure gauge to ensure it reads roughly 60 PSI when the truck is sitting idle and 100-125 PSI when it is being driven.
- Linings and hoses to ensure they're free from cracks and lubrication. These components should be replaced periodically once they become worn.
- Brake components and parts should be checked to ensure they're not damaged or worn. Over time, they need to be replaced to ensure the brake system continues to run smoothly.
We recommend you leave brake maintenance to the professionals because they have the tools and equipment to perform adequate and safe service. When you drop off your semi at Tri County Truck and Trailer Repair Inc, you can take comfort in knowing we perform thorough assessments to keep your brakes operating efficiently.
Inspect the Suspension
The suspension has a significant purpose which is to allow the tires and axles to move independently from one another, so the axle is not attached directly to the frame. As a result, the semi gives off a smoother ride reducing the risk of damaged cargo. While modern suspensions require little maintenance, we recommend you get them looked at during every maintenance appointment to catch any undetected damages.
Keep in mind that suspension damage is, more often than not, caused by issues with other components of the semi. For example, if all the vehicle’s tires have different tread depths, it doesn’t only cause wear and tear on the tires but also on the suspension, which can lead to premature breakage.
If you're unsure if your suspension needs to be inspected by a licensed mechanic, we recommend bringing it in any way. In the meantime, look out for these tell-tale signs its time for a tune-up or maintenance:
- The front end dips low while you hit the brakes
- The ride is rough, especially over rugged dirt roads and holes
- Strange and abnormal vibrations
- You have difficulty steering
A licensed and trained mechanic can easily and quickly observe semi's suspensions, so make sure to request a thorough inspection of it during every service appointment. At the least, we don’t encourage you to go more than one year without having it looked at and tuned up.
Keep The Parts Lubricated and Oiled
One of the most straightforward self-initiated maintenance tips is keeping all critical areas and components well-lubricated and oiled. Doing this will ensure your semi runs smoothly for longer by keeping the interconnected components functioning properly. You can do this yourself if you don't have time to stop by a mechanic shop by inspecting all areas to determine which areas are dry and need an oil touch-up. Alternatively, when your semi is being serviced, remind the technician to take care of it.
If you overlook the importance of lubricating your truck's components, you run the risk of premature wear and tear and high levels of corrosion, which will cause expensive damages in the long run. We believe it's always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to the upkeep of semi-trucks.
How We Can Help Keep Your Truck Maintained
Here at Tri County Truck and Trailer Repair Inc, we offer semi-truck repair and maintenance services to keep your truck up to grade and performing optimally. Whether you need a thorough tune-up or compete for brake and suspension replacement, our specialized shop can accommodate any service requests. We encourage you to get in touch with one of our team members at (786) 879-2275 to schedule a drop off.