Breakdowns are unavoidable for any vehicle. When your vehicle is used for your job, you need to be prepared to handle these issues. In the truck driving industry, there are some common causes of semi-truck and trailer malfunctions that all drivers should know about. Here are the top most common causes of truck and trailer breakdowns and how to avoid them.
Mechanical breakdown is a common cause of truck and trailer malfunctions. When faced with a mechanical breakdown, the most important thing to do is stay calm, assess the situation, and take immediate action. The best place to handle Mechanical Breakdown is in a large parking lot—a truck stop with wide spaces is ideal. Regardless of the situation, it’s essential to identify the problem and take action immediately or call for semi-truck or trailer repair right away.
For example, if you’re having trouble with your engine, check your fuses and battery cables. If there isn’t any smoke coming from under the hood, or if engine oil levels are acceptable, likely, the problem isn’t with your engine. In this case, it is best to check your fuel tank and gauge to see if you have enough fuel to get to a truck stop. If the issue is electrical, it’s will be hard to diagnose on your own, unless you have prior experience.
Tire blowouts are one of the most significant trucking problems in America, and unfortunately, they’re also one of the most preventable. Blowouts happen when an air pressure imbalance causes a tire to fail, or bursts open suddenly. It’s usually caused by overloading, improper inflation, defective tires, under-inflation due to running out of extra air pressure while on the road, or any other number of things that can cause too much strain on your vehicle’s tires.
When a tire goes flat, the driver can feel a difference in most cars. The problem with big-rigs is that because your trailer isn’t connected to your vehicle, you can’t feel it going down until it’s too late, and you’ve broken down again. You need to know what you should do when it does happen, but knowing how to prevent blowouts is just as important. If you take care of your rig and have a preventive maintenance plan, you can almost eliminate your chances of a blowout.
Brake System Issues
One of the other most common causes of truck and trailer breakdowns is braking system issues. A truck or trailer comes equipped with brakes to make it easier for the driver to control the vehicle’s speed, particularly when braking on hills. When the brakes are not functioning correctly, it will result in more wear on them and less stopping power.
Drivers should check the operation of their brakes regularly and report any defects that they find. One of the best ways to handle brake system issues is to get them repaired immediately at a qualified service center. Don’t drive if you feel a change in your brakes. This can include grinding, slower response time, and needing to push the brake pedal harder than normal, among other signs.
Truck batteries don’t last as long as you would think. In many trucks, the lifespan of your battery is only 3-5 years. So if your engine isn’t starting, and your truck is 5+ years old without a battery replacement, this should be one of the first things you check. Since truck drivers are often running their engines for days on end and operating at all times of the year, it can cause additional strain on your battery.
Cold weather can exacerbate the issue, causing more dead batteries in the winter than you’d see in the summer. When temperatures drop, it can take more energy to get that engine going, so your battery will experience an increased drain. If it’s already weakened with age, it might be too much for it.
Recently, there have been several truck and trailer breakdowns. One reason for the increase in these incidents may be drivers who are not adequately trained on maintaining their vehicles or when they need service work done. You must understand what signs indicate it’s time to get your vehicle serviced, so you don’t experience any unnecessary breakdowns while driving.