Semi-trucks are often well maintained to ensure the on-time delivery of their cargo. However, occasionally, something goes wrong, and drivers have to wait on the side of the highway for repairs or semi-truck towing services. If you are a driver or fleet operator, here’s how to better prepare for emergencies. These are some of the most common causes of semi-truck breakdowns and how to prevent them.
3 Common Reasons Semi-Trucks Break Down
1. Brake Problems
The sheer mass of heavy trucks makes it unsafe to operate them when their brakes aren't in top shape. Truck brakes are also considerably more complex than brakes on smaller vehicles.
Typically, problems arise due to corrosion and general deterioration with use. This occurs more frequently now than in the past since some states have adopted magnesium chloride as a road de-icer instead of road salt—the new chemical attracts moisture from the air and leads to rust.
You can prevent corrosion by hosing off the brakes after each winter trip. Plan to change the brake pads every 30,000 to 70,000 miles, and switch the rotors about every three pad changes.
Trucks also experience air leaks and brake line freezing during cold weather. The best way to prevent problems is to schedule regular brake inspections and maintenance.
2. Tire Issues
Blowouts are common, and the highways are littered with rubber shed from semi-truck tires. This often occurs due to under- or over-inflation. The former causes the rubber to wear out prematurely, and the latter puts undue pressure on the tire.
Additionally, bad alignment leads to accelerated wear and tear as the tires pull in slightly different directions. Truck drivers should check tire pressure at least once a week. If the tires undergo hundreds or a thousand miles of travel per day, consider checking the pressure daily.
3. Dead Batteries
Batteries typically have a life span of three to five years, and their voltage can drop precipitously in cold weather, of which Wisconsin sees a great deal. It is not unusual for a driver to return to their rig after a break or a meal to find their engine won't turn over. To avoid the need for a jump-start or semi-truck towing, test the battery’s charge in fall, before the temperatures drop. Address low levels before problems arise.
For prompt, reliable semi-truck towing, contact Tomah Wrecker & Repair LLC in Tomah, WI. They have served a 60-mile radius from their location for more than 50 years. In addition to towing, they also offer auto repair and 24-hour roadside assistance, including jump-starts, fuel deliveries, and lockout services. Visit their website to learn more about the company, or call (608) 372-2550 to schedule semi-truck towing.