Like many other things in life – including other vehicles you’ve owned – a truck gives back as much as you put into it, and then some in a few cases. If you depend on your vehicle to deliver results for work, it’s only fair that you put in the effort needed to care for and maintain it well.
However you came to own your truck – maybe you found an international semi truck for sale, for example, or a friend in the trucking business helped you get it – remember that a little maintenance goes a long way into making sure it keeps on functioning well. Here are some of the top tips to help you get started!
Have a Vehicle Maintenance Log
It’s important that you keep track of the truck’s condition and any repair work that’s been done, hence the maintenance log. This will help you tell if you need to have any preventative checks done or if you need to schedule maintenance services. You’ll also be able to tell if there are any issues that need to be resolved and how important they are, such as a part that’s been showing signs of wear and tear and needs to be replaced as soon as possible versus a routine brake check
Inspect and Test the Vehicle Periodically
Testing and inspection doesn’t have to be complicated, and they’re instrumental in helping you determine if the truck is safe to drive.
For the engine, besides checking if all the fluids are topped off and there aren’t any cracked or leaking hoses and supply lines, you’ll want to conduct a compression test. This will tell you if the engine’s valves, valve seats, and piston rings are functioning properly and if they’re wearing evenly.
For the brakes, simply test if the brakes engage with as little delay as possible, as faulty brakes are a possible cause of accidents.
Tire blowout is another possible cause, so make sure to test tire pressure, preferably before and after every trip. Overinflated tires are more likely to blow out and are more prone to premature tread wear, which affects how well the tires grip the road. On the other hand, underinflated tires force the engine to work harder, therefore consuming more fuel.
Other parts to check include the fuel and storage tank – they should be free from rust and decay – and the battery and alternator, to ensure that no wires are loose and the truck will start in the first place.
Don’t Miss an Oil Change
No matter the composition of the engine oil you use, it breaks down over time, which will mean a steady increase in friction on the engine. This can eventually lead to severe engine failure, and that’s not something any truck owner and operator wants to have to deal with. Regular oil changes can keep this from happening, as fresh oil prevents premature wear and tear of the engine’s various parts.
There are a few other maintenance tips you can use, such as being sure to replace parts when needed, and washing the body of the vehicle to keep dirt and grime from building up. But the ones mentioned are particularly important for truck owners and drivers.