No matter how many thousands - or even millions - of miles professional truckers have under their belts, they're still only as good as the big rigs they drive. For that reason, regular inspections and maintenance for your tractor trailer are a critical part of the job and there are many components you will have to examine before every trip.
Being careful to look over the following parts of your truck will help you keep it on the road for longer, and avoid critical, costly breakdowns on an ongoing basis:
1) Make sure the tires are properly inflated
When your tires aren't inflated to the right level, you're at risk for more than just a blowout or running flat, according to Trucking Info. Improperly inflated tires also take a toll on many of your trucks parts. Overinflate them and they can do a number on your shocks and associated systems. Underinflate them and everything has to work just a little bit harder. You should therefore look up the recommended tire pressure and strive to keep yours in that range.
2) Inspect all lights
On the road, you need to be as visible as possible and let other drivers know every move you're going to make well before you make them, Trucking Info said. For that reason, your lights all need to be in good working order, or else replaced, before every trip. Fortunately, that should just take a quick inspection.
3) Keep an eye on the fluids
You know the importance of changing your oil, but you also need to make sure your other fluids are at acceptable levels on an ongoing basis as well, according to Cerasis. That includes your wiper fluid, because you never know when you'll need to clean your windshield.
4) Keep your brakes in mind
Just like any vehicle, the brake system is critical to safe operation of your big rig, because if they fail at any point in your trip, the results can be disastrous, Cerasis noted. Because most big trucks rely on air brakes, the compressor needs to be in good working order so that the air brake stays charged. You would also need to inspect your brake lines on a regular basis to ensure they're in good shape.
5) Keep everything clean
Your truck can get awful dirty over the course of a trip, and keeping it clean not only helps reduce corrosion risk, it helps you keep up strong fuel efficiency too, Cerasis advised. Veteran drivers also say cleaning out your truck's interior on a regular basis is a good idea for morale.
6) Don't forget your air filters
Speaking of fuel efficiency, if you don't swap out your air filters regularly, your engine will have to work harder to achieve and maintain the proper speeds, according to NMC Cat. Swapping them out every few thousand miles will ensure you don't run into this problem.
7) Test your electrical system
You never want to have your truck's electric system fail in the middle of a run - for a lot of reasons, NMC Cat added. Consequently, testing it to make sure everything is working as it should before you hit the road is always a good idea.
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