Truck drivers remain an essential component of the American economy. In addition, drivers have several responsibilities. They must ensure that their cargos arrive at their destinations on time and safely.
Since truckers drive among the rest of the population, they must also exercise caution on the roads. An estimated 4,600 fatal accidents occur between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles annually, and the fault can lie with either party.
Therefore, truckers must drive more carefully to prevent road collisions. In addition to practicing good driving habits, truckers must also maintain their equipment. Some trucking companies take care of the maintenance when drivers return from their deliveries.
However, truckers benefit from learning how to maintain the equipment if something happens on the road.
The following is a brief overview of how truck drivers can maintain their vehicles for future trips.
Semis require a longer runway when coming to a complete stop. Faulty brakes on large trucks will make stopping more difficult and can cause vehicle pileups in the worst-case scenarios.
Thus, before heading out on a future trip, inspect the brakes. Look for obvious signs of wear. In addition, look for even signs of wear. Sometimes, brake pads can wear out unevenly, leading to braking issues.
Next, take a look at the tires. Look for obvious signs of wear that make tires susceptible to flats or tearing. Keep in mind that semis with trailers can have up to 18 tires.
Each one helps the vehicle balance. Every tire must remain in good shape so that it helps support the equipment and cargo.
Moreover, tires act as a secondary brake system. New tires help vehicles stop faster, whereas older tires will cause the car to slide further before stopping completely.
Sometimes semis break down and require professional attention from shops on the road. If you must wait overnight or need somewhere to spend the night, check out this list of truck-friendly business hotels.
Vehicle maintenance for semis is similar to maintenance for passenger cars. Since all motorized vehicles are feats of engineering, they only operate as intended if owners keep up with maintenance.
Therefore, before heading out, test the fluid levels, including:
After testing the levels, refill any that might start running low. It’s tempting to skip this step for local drivers. However, it’s worth getting into the habit in case you head out on longer hauls.
Low transmission fluid can cause the gears to slip, while low power steering fluid will make maneuvering the vehicle more difficult.
The filters catch most particles that float into them and prevent the debris from entering the engine. It’s an easy task, and the retailers reasonably price the filters.
Maintenance helps protect the engine. Repairing, replacing, or rebuilding semi-truck engines runs between $20,000 to $40,000 on average. Therefore, changing the filters or keeping them clean is an easy way to protect the equipment.
The number one reason semi trucks break down is the battery, which must power the semi to haul up to 35,000 pounds of cargo. The battery works harder in hill and mountain terrains and when the temperature turns chilly.
Therefore, test the battery before heading out.
Truck drivers must abide by laws that require them to stop at scales for weighing. The regulations aim to prevent loading the trailer unevenly, which can create hazardous conditions and cause collisions.
In addition, it can impact the alignment of the vehicle. Trucks and trailers can easily lean on the road, especially in windy conditions.
Thus, ensure that the equipment maintains proper alignment.
Finally, remember to test the lights. Lights help drivers see who is on the road at night and during low visibility.
Truck drivers must give others on the road enough warning before stopping or attempting to turn, and lights accomplish both tasks. More importantly, the highway patrol will pull over any driver with faulty lights on their vehicles.
Truck drivers benefit from performing proper maintenance on their equipment before heading out on future trips. Maintenance is a safety measure that keeps semi-truck drivers and others on the road out of harm's way.