If you’re in charge of a group of trucks and trailers, you already know how vital it is to take good care of your vehicles.
Just like any vehicle, they need maintenance and repairs every now and then, especially when they’re used a lot. So, we’ve created a detailed guide to help you keep your truck trailers in good shape. It covers everything from regular upkeep to different kinds of trailers and the rules you need to follow. Keep reading to learn more!
6 ways to keep your truck’s maintenance intact
Trucks represent the backbone of modern transportation. Ensuring their optimal performance and safety requires a strategic maintenance approach. Here are six crucial guidelines to consider when maintaining your truck.
Fluids and lubrication
Picture fluids as the sustenance that keeps your truck’s machinery thriving. Routinely assess and replace engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid following the manufacturer’s guidelines. These fluids are pivotal for efficient engine operation, heat dispersion, and seamless gear transitions. Furthermore, remember to ensure proper lubrication for vital components such as wheel bearings, steering connections, and drivetrain elements, effectively curbing friction, wear, and the specter of breakdowns. For example, a reefer needs proper coolant levels that are paramount to preserving the cargo’s temperature.
Proper tire maintenance ensures safe and efficient travel. Inspect tire pressure using a gauge often, keeping it within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Examine tire tread depth to ensure it meets legal requirements and provides adequate traction. Correct alignment prevents uneven tire wear, enhances fuel efficiency and prolongs tire life. The rotation of tires promotes even wear, further extending their longevity. For example, dry vans rely on properly inflated tires for the safe transport of goods, while flatbeds require good tire tread for diverse loads. Reefers, often carrying sensitive cargo, need consistent tire inspections to ensure stability during transport.
One mistake drivers will sometimes make during a pre-trip inspection is that they don’t check the tires properly. This can lead to a tire blowout on the road, and you may need to call roadside assistance to replace your tire, which can be three times more costly than changing the tire at a truck stop.
Brakes are a critical safety component, so keep in mind to check brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid levels. Worn brake pads can compromise braking performance and increase stopping distances. Addressing these issues promptly prevents costly damage to the braking system and ensures the truck’s ability to stop effectively.
For instance, dry vans that carry various goods need efficient brake pads for quick stops, and reefers with temperature-sensitive cargo require well-functioning brakes for controlled halts.
The weight of your cargo can put a lot of stress on the brakes when using them, especially when it isn’t properly loaded. Making sure that the brakes are in good condition and being used correctly saves a lot of money and ensures that they last longer.
The engine is the heart of the truck, so you should inspect air filters to ensure a clean flow of air for combustion, promoting fuel efficiency and engine longevity. Check belts and hoses for signs of wear, as these components drive essential systems like the alternator and water pump. Replacing worn belts and hoses before they fail prevents engine overheating and other potential issues. Dry vans optimize fuel efficiency with well-maintained air filters for long journeys.
A lot of breakdowns on the road happen because the engine is not inspected properly. Inspecting the engine to ensure that there isn’t any leakage or malfunction could save you plenty of time and money.
Since the electrical system powers various critical components in a truck, checking the lights ensures they are functional, clean, and properly aligned. Batteries should also be looked over for signs of corrosion and maintained with clean terminals to ensure reliable starting. Examine the wiring for signs of damage or wear, as faulty connections can lead to electrical issues and malfunctions.
Developing a proactive maintenance schedule is crucial for preventing breakdowns and extending the truck’s operational life. Keep track of maintenance tasks such as oil changes, filter replacements, and system inspections. Scheduled maintenance reduces the risk of unexpected issues, minimizes downtime, and ensures that the truck remains in optimal condition for both short-haul and long-haul journeys. Flatbeds thrive with proactive tire care for various load types.
5 tips to keep up with your trailer maintenance
Properly maintaining your trailers is crucial to ensuring their optimal functionality. To guarantee their continued efficiency, follow these key steps:
Ensuring a solid connection between the trailer and the truck is essential – the hitch, couplers, and safety chains are the ones to be inspected to confirm they are securely attached. These components are like the foundation of a building, providing stability and reliability to your trailer-truck combination.
Balancing and moving smoothly
The suspension and axles of a trailer are like its legs. Imagine driving your car on a bumpy road; if your car’s suspension is in good shape, the ride feels smoother, right? It’s the same for trucks and trailers.
For example, if you’re pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with construction materials, a well-maintained suspension system will keep those materials from shifting too much, making your journey safer and more comfortable. Remember to check these parts regularly.
Floors and securing cargo
A trailer’s floor is its foundation, and ensuring its structural integrity is vital, so always go over the flooring for any signs of damage or wear. Additionally, make certain that the cargo is properly secured within the trailer. Adequate cargo securement prevents items from shifting during transit, reducing the risk of damage and accidents.
Lights and signals
Trailers, like vehicles, require functional lighting systems to ensure safety on the road. Routinely inspect and maintain the trailer’s lights, including indicators, brake lights, and turn signals. These lighting components are critical for visibility, helping other truck drivers anticipate the trailer’s movements.
Keeping trailers healthy
Scheduled maintenance is the backbone of trailer longevity. Develop a routine maintenance schedule that encompasses regular inspections, lubrication, and part replacements as needed. This practice not only minimizes the risk of unexpected breakdowns but also contributes to extending the operational life of the trailer.
Understanding the importance of maintenance
Maintaining your truck in peak condition goes beyond a routine task – it’s a fundamental driver of smooth business operations. Well-maintained components can prevent accidents and even contribute to better fuel efficiency.
Planned maintenance can also prevent small issues from turning into major problems, thus extending the life of your trucks and trailers. Furthermore, if you decide to upgrade your fleet or sell a vehicle, its maintenance history plays a significant role in determining its resale value.
By prioritizing maintenance, you’re investing in the overall efficiency, safety, and longevity of your truck and trailer fleet. It’s a proactive approach that not only saves you money but also helps maintain a positive reputation for your business in the industry.
This blog post was created in cooperation with Road Legends.