For experienced truck drivers, maintenance and inspections are a regular part of life that they've mostly mastered. But those who are new to the industry may not have as much familiarity with everything they need to do to keep their vehicles running well and avoid a breakdown.
Here are five of the most common tips any long-time trucking pro would recommend to newbies who haven't yet mastered the art of inspecting their own big rigs:
1) Keep your tires inflated
It's generally recommended that truckers should check tire pressure a minimum of once per week, according to Truck Repair Doctor. If tires are under-inflated, they not only make steering more difficult, they also cut mileage significantly. If overinflated, they're more likely to be punctured. Getting them just right before any run, then, is a must.
2) Check your fluid levels - and use the right fluids
Drivers always need to make sure they have enough brake, oil and wiper fluid before hitting the road. Running out in the middle of a trip can cause serious safety and efficiency issues. In addition, it's vital to make sure all fluids are topped off with the right product, so everything works as intended on an ongoing basis.
3) Keep a close eye on the brakes
As one might imagine, the brakes on a big rig get some serious wear and tear over time, and it's vital to be able to inspect every part of them to ensure they're in good shape, according to Trucking Info. Being able to recognize when a brake might need to be repaired or replaced is an important skill, and new truckers should work closely with industry veterans to make sure they know what they're doing.
4) Clean it regularly
Over time, a dirty truck starts to operate less efficiently, Trucking Info added. As such, it's vital for drivers to make sure they're cleaning the exteriors of their tractor trailers regularly, hosing them down, as well as cleaning out all the dirt and debris that can build up on the inside. That's especially true when it comes to cleaning the windows so they can see as clearly as possible.
5) Avoid inspecting at night
While it is sometimes a necessity to do the work in the dark, drivers should try to inspect their vehicles in the full light of day, according to Smart Trucking. Even well-lit parking lots may not allow operators to see every inch of the vehicle with total clarity, meaning they are far more likely to overlook something. Simply being able to get the "big picture" view of the vehicle is key to avoiding a breakdown or other accident.
When inexperienced drivers are just learning the ropes of the industry, they should always strive to learn more from veterans and others who can lend friendly advice and support as they get their start behind the wheel.
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