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With more than 70 percent of the country’s products shipped from their manufacturing points to the stores where they are sold, long-haul truckers face a unique problem: If their trucks break down, they can’t complete their runs. What are some of the most common semi-truck issues drivers face with their vehicles out on the road — and how can they be prevented?
If a truck’s lights are flickering when it’s at idle, or it has some trouble turning over, it could be a sign of problems with the electrical system. Many truck systems are tied into electrical, so a failure in one part could cascade into others.
A failure in the electrical system could leave a truck stranded on the side of the road waiting for a tow. If the problem is not apparent — such as a failure in the battery or the alternator — it could take quite a while to fix, which sidelines the truck in the meantime. These are common problems, though, and something as simple as a battery and alternator test can help prevent these issues from cropping up on the road.
Problems With Brakes
The last thing you want when you’re hauling 80,000 pounds of product is to have a problem with your brakes. Water or air leakage, contamination within the braking system, or poorly maintained brakes can all cause brake failure while the truck is out on the road.
In addition to leading to accidents, brake failure is also more likely to trigger an out-of-service citation, meaning a completely different truck will need to be brought out to deliver the load to its destination.
Brake problems can easily be prevented by keeping a truck on a strict maintenance schedule and ensuring the brakes are properly maintained. Just because it doesn’t look like there is a problem doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
You wouldn’t think a tire blowout would be a huge problem on something that has 18 of them, but losing a single tire can make a truck or trailer undrivable. One flat tire can throw off the balance of the trailer, making it unsafe to drive. Underinflated tires can cause heat to build up in the sidewalls, which can lead to blowouts. Worn tires can be damaged by road debris. Even the alignment of the axels can affect how quickly tires wear out.
Inspecting all the tires on both the truck and the trailer can prevent worn or damaged tires from becoming a bigger problem once the truck is on the road.
Avoiding Semi-Truck Issues
Many of these common problems can be prevented by simply sticking to a regular maintenance schedule. Keeping up with a truck’s maintenance can ensure it remains operational. Maintenance might seem like it takes up valuable time, but it can save you from being stranded on the side of the road while waiting for a repair crew or a tow truck to get moving again. By preventing problems from occurring, you can keep your truck on the road instead of in the garage.