10 Tips for Maintaining Your Truck This Summer
If you plan on spending this summer on the road, there are some obvious safety precautions you should be looking into–but there are also some less apparent aspects that you should be taking a second look at as the weather heats up and the days grow longer.
As a semi-truck driver, you already know that safety is the number one concern. It’s already your top priority, so there is no surprise that a lot of the tips on this list will center around not just the longevity of your rig, but also its overall performance and safety while on the road.
Needless to say, if you follow these tips, you can keep your semi-truck running for years to come. Let’s dig into them!
#1 Check The Pressure
Tires are what keep your rig moving and various aspects about them require your attention day-in and day-out. For this summer in particular, you are going to want to look into your tire pressure and keep an eye on it. As the seasons change, temperature changes can cause changes in your tire pressure measurements. As such, it is important that you keep an eye on the pressure in each of your tires and ensure they are properly inflated.
Balancing your tires properly can go a very long way in prolonging their life and it can also improve your fuel efficiency. With the new season ahead, this is also a great time to check your tires for wear and tear and think about how well they have held up through the winter and spring seasons. Now is the time to plan for any replacements that may be required in the near future to keep your truck running smoothly.
#2 Check The Brakes
The brakes of your semi truck are likely used, and abused, year-round, but especially during the colder months that are just now winding down to their temporary end. If you have been doing any kind of driving through snow or ice, your brakes have probably taken quite a beating in the past few weeks or months.
Even if you haven’t, having your semi truck’s brakes thoroughly checked out should still be a big priority on your to-do list for the summer months ahead. Check the lines, hoses, parking brakes, and fluids. The last thing you want is a fleet with bad brakes as you head into the rainy season!
#3 The Bells & Whistles
While you’re doing your check through of your semi truck’s functions for the new season, it’s important that you also double and triple check the operation of all your semi truck’s essential features, from the lights to the wipers to the fluid levels in your engine compartment.
In other words, revisiting a full-out check-up checklist would be a great idea. While this may sound like a bunch of “little things”, checking into them now can help you reduce the chance of unplanned and costly expenses. These features will also be especially crucial during fog and rain.
#4 Check The Suspension
You should also go through your semi-truck to visually inspect the suspension system. What you are looking for is signs of irregular wear, tear, or heat cracks found on your air springs. You should also ensure that nothing is touching the suspension and be sure nothing is interfering with its movement. The air springs also need sufficient and equal pressure.
All airsuspension systems have a defined “ride height position” but that position can become damaged or even accidentally altered. If the ride height is incorrect, you’ll fail to reap all the benefits of the air-ride system. Be sure it’s not too high, as that can interfere with your ability to safely navigate an overpass. At the same time, be sure it’s not too low as then it will ride on the suspension’s bumpers (rather than the air bag), causing damage to the other components in the system.
#5 Lube Everything Properly
Using the right amount of the correct lube is essential to a semi-truck’s proper operation. The grade, the performance rating, and the thickening system are three important characteristics when selecting the right grease for your rig. About 90% of your options will be lithium complex based, but some are also calcium based. If you mix the two, your rig’s performance will drop.
The grade of a grease speaks to the viscosity you can expect. Most grease used for semi trucks is NLGI, which has a consistency similar to that of peanut butter. The performance characteristics can be more difficult to figure, since not all grease manufacturers put it on the label, so ask them about it.
#6 Check For Corrosion
Corrosion can cause a variety of big problems for you and your rig. The corrosion caused by even light road salt, for instance, could put out your tail light and lead to a roadside inspection at the worst possible time. Make sure you go through your rig with a fine-tooth comb to spot little problems early, before they become something major.
#7 Keep Everything Clean
Speaking of the potential harm a de-icing component can cause, you should be taking serious care when it comes to keeping your semi truck free and clear of such potential problems. Keeping your rig properly clean is essential to retaining the performance and safety of your semi truck.
While you’re at it, you can also use this opportunity to do a bit of “spring cleaning” both inside and outside of your rig. In other words, take this chance to organize any tools or papers you have inside the cabin and, in general, get everything tidied up and ready for the new season. It’s worth it for comfort and convenience sake going forward.
#8 Examine Your Cabin
While you’re inside the cabin looking for things you can throw away, remove, or tidy up, you should also be looking into one thing many drivers often overlook: the cabin’s current condition. Although most drivers will pay close attention to their brakes, the trailer, and every other aspect, many fail to consider the small problems that may be cropping up inside the cabin itself.
As one example, a small hole in the roof could lead to a leak that could cause a serious problem later, from damaged upholstery to a rusted cabin frame. Be sure to look for such small issues and have them addressed sooner rather than later. It will save you a great deal of stress in the long run.
#9 Check Your Security
Having a safe and secure truck to take you everywhere you need to go will give you such great peace of mind. While you are busy getting everything ready for your busy summer travels ahead, it won’t hurt to check your security inside your truck to make sure you and all your cargo will be kept safe as you keep moving forward.
This means checking everything from the door locks being in good working order to the alarm system and all the safety and security add-ons you may be considering. A dash-cam, for instance, would never be a bad addition to any commercial rig you are driving as you never know what to expect when you head out on the road for a day.
#10 Make Prevention a Priority
Preventing problems is always the ideal solution, but it can be difficult to do so on your own. Without the ability to climb in, on, under, and all over your rig on a regular basis to put eyes on to all the potential problem areas yourself, it’s almost impossible for you on your own to prevent the issues that may be sparking up without your knowledge.
That’s why it can prove so beneficial to reach out to a specialist–or, better yet, an entire team of skilled professionals who can keep an eye on things for you, fix problems before they get big, and identify issues before they end up costing you big money and significant downtime.
The fleet maintenance services offered by Suppose U Drive are the perfect solution. If you want to prevent problems before they have the chance to cause you trouble, it is well worth giving a call to one of Suppose U Drive’s three locations and asking about our team of friendly professionals who can help keep you and your truck on the road and out of the shop.
With regular, pre-scheduled preventative maintenance, you and your rig can go further, stay on the road longer, and ultimately drive more safely. Give us a call today.