Breaking down on the road is every truck driver’s nightmare, especially at night, and especially in the middle of nowhere. It’s not only a worry but can also affect your business’ bottom line, but also affects your customers and their cargo.
Whether you are an experienced driver or not, at some point you are or will encounter some kind of problem with your truck on the road. Here are some of the most common ones with some useful insight into avoiding them, what to do, costs and implications etc.
Finding national data on the cause of breakdowns or accidents with trucks is notoriously hard to come by, but as an experienced full-service truck centre we can confirm that faulty brakes can be an issue on the road. In an approximate estimate of all available data, it is roughly agreed that faulty brakes or brake systems are the cause of 5% of all truck breakdowns.
Faulty brakes are not only a reason to stop you from driving, but they are also obviously an incredibly dangerous failure too. Luckily, brake maintenance is not a complicated issue for most truck repair centres like ours.
Tyre Issues: Mismatch of Pressure and Tyre Types
You will often see shredded strips of rubber on the road, this is the debris left behind by the impact of mismatched tyres and/or pressures. Whilst usually not fatal if it’s only in a few tyres, it’s still expensive, avoidable and can cause you to stop driving and require an emergency tyre change.
Pressures should be calibrated according to load and surface regularly as well as using the right type of tyre on the right part of the rig. Straying from the specifications of your truck or having replacements done by unauthorised service centres or yourself is the major cause of these issues. Again, easy to avoid if you use an authorised service centre.
Whilst this may sound vague, modern truck engines are literally the peak of engine design and complexity but are still not impervious to the most basic things like overheating or oil oxidation in diesel engines. Overheating is most often caused by a coolant leak or a blown gasket, both are not easy to fix on the road and can be hard to avoid, but usually simple enough to fix.
Other common failures that happen over time are faulty fuel injectors and pumps. Regular maintenance is the only way to reduce these issues, especially the more miles and older your truck is.
Usually, these issues are associated with the colder months although they can happen at any time. An instant problem as you obviously can’t go anywhere, but usually simple to fix. Common causes are loose wiring from the battery, a poor quality or failing battery and also a corroded battery. Some of these issues you may be able to remedy yourself on the road, but other causes like a failed or broken starter motor itself, you probably won’t be able to fix. In the starter motor itself, it can be worn brushes, broken armatures or coil windings drawing excessive current. Again, regular maintenance is the only real way of reducing this issue.