A truck is a large and highly complicated machine with many different systems—all of which work together to make the machine able to move over 40 US tons on a single load. Trucks move over eleven billion tons of goods in the United States alone each year and are indispensable to manufacturing and construction.
One of the requirements of owning and operating such a machine is keeping it in safe working order. Maintenance for a truck is not the same as for a passenger vehicle. There are many systems that need special attention, such as:
Tires. Under-inflation or over-inflation can cause tires to fail if they get too hot. Tires need to be carefully inspected for tread depth, pressure, and damage because even minor variations on a tire can quickly cause failures or accidents.
Batteries. Heat can corrode battery leads, and sulfite crystals will build more easily in warm weather. Corrosion causes voltage to degrade over time, and should be cleaned with a brush from the battery leads.
Engine Cooling System. The bigger the engine, the more important it is to keep cool, since bigger engines generate more heat. The cooling module needs to be washed from the side that faces the engine, so that debris and residue are flushed out of the front. While painstaking, ever effort to clean the entire unit should be made to ensure the cooling system works as intended. Any failure in cooling is potentially catastrophic for the whole engine.
Air Conditioning System. Leaks and residue buildup in filters can cause the A/C to fail. A non-functioning or even a partially-functioning air conditioning system makes a driver’s job much more difficult. Hoses, filters, and belts need to be checked and the blower motor replaced if failing.
Electronics. In a truck, everything from the alternator to the wiring can comprise the electrical system. These should be checked for fraying or punctures whenever the engine is worked on, since these fragile parts are easy to damage when performing other maintenance. Any frayed wires, corroded leads or pierced shielding should be fixed as soon as possible to reduce electrical failure risk.
Belts and hoses. Checking the engine belts is usually easy. Do a visual inspection for cracks and proper tension, or use an automatic tensioner if available. Checking the hoses is a little more difficult; since they degrade from the inside out, squeeze them at their ends to determine if there is any deterioration. If the end feels spongy, it probably needs replacing. Also look for seepage or leaks around connections, and also chaffing against other objects.
Overall, it’s important to remember that the summer’s higher temperatures make an engine more susceptible to wear. Heat is energy, and even the sturdiest components have their limits. Pay special attention to your cooling system and your tires while remembering to inspect everything else—and you should have smooth riding until the leaves change once again. Veltri strives to make sure every load has an experienced driver and well-maintained equipment to keep your freight moving, and transportation made easy.