6 Signs It’s Time for Truck Maintenance

When you’re under pressure to deliver on schedule, it can be easy to put off preventative truck maintenance. But if you’re wanting to get more miles out of your vehicles, you should learn to recognize a few signs that it’s time.

Strange Noises: A tractor-trailer isn’t known for peaceful tranquility, but there’s a difference between normal operating noises and the grinding sound of a failing transmission or the rattling of a loose part under the hood. You should be particularly careful to get truck maintenance if you hear a knock in the engine, because this could be an indication of a main bearing failure or damaged liner seals.

If your transmission is grinding, it could be one of two things: the gears are cracked or you have a leak in the transmission fluid that’s causing levels to be low and gears to grind. Neither is a good scenario, but with proactive maintenance you may be able to reduce the cost of repairs.

Operational Challenges: It takes a bit of effort to operate a tractor trailer in good repair, but you may notice that it’s especially difficult to steer straight or come to a complete stop. These particular issues may be an alignment problem or brake failure. And if you are struggling to shift gears, it’s likely a transmission issue.

Performance Problems: Does your truck seem to be struggling to get to full power? Are you using more fuel than you usually do on a repetitive route? It may be an indication that you have a dirty air filter, a clogged fuel system or a failing oxygen sensor.

Smoke Signals: One of the clear signs that you need truck maintenance is the presence of smoke. Black smoke means that you’re burning fuel, while blue or gray indicates burning oil. White smoke is most likely related to your cooling system.

Puddles: If you see a puddle of fluid under your truck, it’s time to schedule truck maintenance. It could be oil, transmission fluid, coolant or power steering fluid. The only one that might be okay to see in a puddle beneath the truck is water.

A Few Other Areas to Regularly Check: Your drivers may be well-versed in the above signs, but there are a few other areas that should get scheduled checks.

  • Drivers should be alert to the possibility of starter failure, which is first noticed by the operator. If it’s a slight issue in the fall, count on it causing problems in the winter months.
  • A clicking U-joint is one that is about to fail, with higher speeds producing a vibration. If the driver notices these signs, it should be replaced immediately.
  • Operators should listen for unusual noise levels from the wheel wells, which could be an indication that the wheel bearings are failing.

Truck maintenance often feels like a delay in your delivery schedule, but a bit of prevention can save you downtime and help you get more miles out of your vehicle. If you would like to know more about the signs that it’s time for a bit of maintenance or to schedule a repair, contact us at Gray Diesel & Equipment Services.