Essential Tips for Diesel Semi-Truck Maintenance: Keep Your Rig Rolling

Bigrigs are big investments, and they can only make money for you if they’re in good enough shape to keep you rolling down the road with a full load. Semi-truck maintenance is a crucial aspect of owning a rig, so let’s dive into some tips.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Never wait for a problem to arise – get ahead of potential issues by scheduling regular check-ups. This will prevent breakdowns that affect productivity and can help to prolong the lifespan of the truck. By scheduling blocks of time for when your truck is being checked over, you can plan around these intermittent downtimes and make the most of it.

Have your mechanic look at the engine, change the oil and filters and top off other fluids, like engine coolant and transmission fluid. The fuel system and air intake should also be checked for leaks or blockages. Have all the components of the electric system tested. This could include starters, alternator, batteries, etc.

To ensure vehicle stability, have the suspension and alignment checked over, as proper alignment will help reduce tire wear, as well as improve fuel efficiency.

Items to Check More Frequently

For safety’s sake, your regular semi-truck maintenance should include checking the brake system, including the air lines and compressors, as well as the rotors, pads, drums and linings. Some fleet managers will insist on brake tests every three months, as they’d rather pay for new brake pads rather than see old and tattered ones eat through expensive rotors and calipers.

Another safety precaution is to switch out the battery every three years. While it is common to only think of this when the current battery completely dies, that’s not an inconvenience you’ll have to worry about if you stick to a routine.

Maintenance by Mileage

Some truckers protect themselves by keeping an eye on the odometer. For example, every 10,000 to 15,000 miles they will get the truck lubed to ensure a smoother ride. At the 100,000-to-150,000-mile marker, they’ll change out the air dryer filter, do a valve adjustment, and change the power steering fluid and filter.

At 300,000 miles, it’s recommended to replace the coolant filter and the fan drive belt. In the 400,000-to-500,000-mile range, some truckers will have the diesel particulate filter and transmission filters changed.

Much will hinge on the number of hours and miles you drive, as well as the terrain, so the rate at which a truck requires maintenance will vary greatly. But staying on top of a regular maintenance schedule is something we can help with at Gray Diesel & Equipment Services. If you’ve got questions or want to schedule an appointment, contact us.