Whether you drive a big rig with a trailer, a box truck, or a cement mixer, you've got a job to do and a deadline to get the work done. You don't have time for a breakdown. As a company that provides road service for trucks, we've found that many of our clients have forgotten to use some of the seven secrets to keeping their truck in road ready condition. If you take the time to do these, you'll get that job done on time, and you'll earn a reputation as a driver who is reliable. You might even get a raise. If you're an owner operator, these tips will even save you money.
1. Check your oil often, especially before a long haul. Trucks are powerful machines, and they need oil like we need good coffee. Top up the oil when you see it getting low. Don't put this one off because you're in a hurry. It'll come back to haunt you later, costing you time and money.
2. Before a long haul, check your radiator fluid level. Don't just look at the overflow bottle. Remove the cap from the radiator and visually check the fluid level. This is a good habit to form because it will help you spot small leaks before you hit the road. Top up your fluid level when needed so you won't have to worry about overheating. If you notice a small but steady leak, deal with it promptly to prevent possible engine damage down the road.
3. Check the pressure in your tires at least once a week. Tire pressure changes both from variations in weather and from high-speed use on highways. Check your tire pressure often to keep your tires at their optimal performance level. Doing this will help you catch a slow leak and deal with it before you're on the road and in a jam. Underinflated tires lower your fuel mileage, can cause extra wear and tear to the truck, and can make steering more difficult. Overinflated tires are more prone to punctures and damage when going over potholes. Check the owner's manual for your truck, or visit the company's website, to find the right pressure level for your truck's tires.
4. If you are driving a truck with dual fuel tanks, do not park sideways on a hill so that one side of the truck is higher than the other. If you do this, the fuel in the tank that is in the high side of the truck will flow into the other tank. When you start the truck, the uneven fuel tanks will cause the fuel uptake system to draw in air instead of creating a vacuum to pull fuel into the engine. The truck will act as if it's out of fuel. If you need to park on a hill, park so that the hill slopes from front to back, not side to side.
5. If your truck has been sitting in one place for a few days, check the fuel vent before leaving. Wasps and other insects like to build a nest in the fuel vent, causing a blockage and causing the truck to act as if it's out of fuel.
6. If you notice that your steering wheel begins to vibrate as you slow down or come to a stop, it's time to have your brakes checked. This is also true if you hear a squealing sound as you come to a stop. Make a note to remind yourself to have this done as soon as your load is delivered. You'll save both time and money if you deal with this now instead of waiting until the brakes actually fail. Replacing brake pads and rotors costs less than replacing an entire brake system.
7. Keep a pocket-sized notebook in your truck. On its first page, write down the make and model of your truck along with the size and load weight of its tires. Use the notebook to keep track of the maintenance issues regarding the truck so you can stay on top of any repairs the truck might need. Having this information in a handy location will help you to avoid breaking down while on the road. Having good records can also help you get faster road service when you need it because the technician will know what parts are needed and can bring them to the work site more quickly.
There you have it. Use these seven secrets and keep your rig rolling.
Monica Willyard is part of the team at Amcor 24-Hour Truck And Tire Service, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Trucks are Amcor's specialty, and Amcor provides road service and tire replacement throughout north Georgia. Visit [http://www.truckandtirerepairs.com] for more information, or call us at (770) 928-3244.
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