GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — Spring has sprung. The clocks have moved forward one hour — at least for most of the U.S. — and flowers and trees are in full bloom.
This time of year provides optimal conditions for a seasonal check of a number of items to keep trucks operating properly.
A regular maintenance program is critical to keeping drivers on the road and can help reduce operating costs and save fuel usage.
To assist drivers, Tom Crowley, regulatory specialist with Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, has provided insight on some essential things on a truck to check to keep it operating properly.
Additionally, Truckstop has developed The Trucker’s Guide to Succeed in 2023, which provides truck maintenance schedules, fuel consumption assistance and time management information to help make your business more efficient.
- Tire pressure: After the cold weather season, tire pressure tends to decrease and directly affects fuel mileage. Properly inflated tires on any vehicle are an important safety measure and will maximize tire life.
- Brakes and air pressure: If not properly cared for, brakes can be a common source of issues, along with air pressure and air tanks forming a lot of moisture. When temperatures are lower moisture can form ice and freeze and more, moisture can form in the warmer months. Keeping everything lubricated properly is the key to maintaining brakes.
- Air leaks: Leaks in air lines are more prone to occur during the winter. Especially when connecting trucks to trailers they get hard and freeze which can result in breaks and leaks. Leaks should be diligently checked on a consistent basis.
- Air filters: Filtration systems are extremely important to keep up with regularly. Throughout the winter season dust and salt particles build up and cleaning them out can help the vehicle operate. Simple maintenance can help alleviate the need to overspend on this area of the truck in the future.
- Battery life: Winter conditions can be harsh on battery life. Checking for corrosion that may have resulted and keeping the battery clean is important. Also, checking the battery cables to make sure they are not rubbing against anything that can create a hole or tear in them is critical.
- Coolants: Using the correct coolant and maintaining the proper level will help keep the engine operating properly at the right temperature. Carrying a gallon of the correct coolant while on the road is recommended.
- Engine oils: Today’s engines are increasingly high-tech and require a variety of viscosity grades. If you use a low-viscosity oil such as a 5W or 0W-40 in the winter, you may want to switch to a 10W-30 or 15W-40 in warmer weather months. When choosing an engine oil, always check with the engine manufacturer to confirm the best engine oil to use, and then be sure to stick with what they recommend.
Spending some time on the maintenance of your truck can save days on the road and prevent a loss of income. Whether checking all of these items yourself or having the service done by a professional, it is extremely important to make sure your truck is well maintained and to keep up with all necessary inspections.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.