Heavy-duty trucks and their drivers play an important role in the transportation business, from getting livestock to the slaughter house to delivering electronics that you can buy at your local mall. When you operate a fleet of heavy-duty trucks, it’s important to recognize common issues that you and the drivers may face. We’ll take a look at what the most common issues are and what you can do about them.
Safety Hazards for Truck Drivers
One of the first issues that we need to talk about is the safety hazards the truck and driver may come across on the road. The number of truck drivers losing their lives due to truck-related accidents have been increasing and in 2017, there were 1,300 such cases reported in the United States. It’s also suggested that illness or injury that results in lost time on the road affects more than 65,000 truck drivers every year.
Things like an iced road can greatly increase the risk of the truck losing traction, which could potentially result in a road accident. This is just one example of hazards that can be significantly reduced with just a few actions from the owner’s side.
To reduce the safety hazards that heavy-duty truck drivers may face on the road, here are a few simple steps to follow:
- Regularly check the tire tread, especially during winter months. If it is worn out too much, then get the tire replaced. While this is an expense on your side, it could save lives and help to reduce the cost of repairs in case of a collision.
- If there is uneven wearing of the tread on the tires, then it could be a sign of suspension troubles. Take note of this and have the suspension checked out. Broken parts or a misalignment in the suspension could increase the effort required to control the heavy duty truck.
- Make sure the wiper blades are still good before the truck enters the road. When it starts to rain or snow falls, it’s critical to have wipers that are in good condition. This ensures the blades are able to effectively wipe the liquids off the windscreen to avoid disruptions in the driver’s vision.
- Test the brake system in the heavy duty truck on a regular basis to ensure the brakes won’t fail when the driver needs to rely on them.
Poor Maintenance Habits
In the United States, heavy duty trucks cover about 432 billion miles on an annual basis collectively. This brings about another problem - poor maintenance.
Regular servicing and maintenance tasks can greatly improve the truck’s performance and even add to its lifespan. If you don’t ensure you take the truck for regular servicing, however, then problems can start to develop.
During a service, different parts of the truck are inspected. Old oil is removed and new oil is added. This helps to prevent the problems that can develop when oil is old and continues to circulate in the engine with a reduced level of lubrication.
While an annual service is important, there are also certain maintenance steps that the driver of the heavy duty truck needs to take from their side. This includes:
- Regularly checking the tires and the alignment of the suspension system. If visible signs of misalignment can be observed, the truck needs to go in for suspension or wheel alignment. Putting this task off could cause the misalignment to worsen and result in a damaged suspension system.
- Ensure the fuel tank is always about halfway full or more. This can help to improve fuel efficiency and reduce the amount of condensation that may happen in the tank during winter months.
- Inspect all of the lights on the truck at least on a monthly basis. If any bulbs do not work as intended, they need to get replaced. Assess both the standard lights and the bulbs used when turning on the brights.
Failure To Recognize Problems Early On
Trucks are made to be heavy duty, but they can still experience problems from time to time. The risk of breakdowns and major problems increases the older the truck is. Drivers are often not wary of early signs that signal the development of common heavy-duty truck problems and this can become an issue.
It’s important to be on the lookout for some common signs and not to ignore them. Drivers may think that they will check out a weird noise that comes from the truck after they made the delivery, for example. Unfortunately, this could lead to a breakdown when the issue is not addressed - causing downtime and costly repairs.
Some common signs of heavy duty truck problems that drivers should not ignore include:
- Noises that sound like metal rubbing on each other when pushing the brake pedal.
- A strange noise when turning the truck in either direction.
- The truck takes longer to come to a standstill when braking.
- Strange sounds from the starter motor and having difficulty getting the truck to start up.
- Strong vibrations and shaking of the truck during the ignition process.
- A consistent increase in fuel usage.
- Wet spots on the ground beneath the truck, which could indicate leaks.
- Air that is not at the desired temperature when turning on the AC in the truck.
- A visual inspection of the truck may reveal one side resting higher up than the other, which could potentially signal problems with the suspension.
Apart from these factors, regularly checking the oil levels may sometimes reveal a leak when there is a frequent need to refill the reservoir. By identifying these symptoms, it’s often possible to get them fixed without having to worry about serious breakdowns.
There are many issues that you may face with a heavy-duty truck, so knowing you have a trusted repair shop to handle these problems can give you peace of mind. If you’re looking for the professionals in Edmonton, Alberta, then get in touch with Fireweed Heavy Truck & Equipment Repairs. We have the experts you need for a professional job and no job is too big or too small for our team.