Your 18-wheeler is your business as a truck owner-operator. Proper maintenance can help to keep your semi operating so that you can get the maximum performance out of your rig. Here are three maintenance tips for your 18-wheeler.
Don’t Idle the Engine
While engine idling is a common practice among truck operators, it can waste fuel, increase engine wear, and increase air pollution. Over time, hydrocarbon can build up in the diesel particulate filter and require more frequent cleaning. At worse, it can cause damage if maintenance isn’t kept up on and wear down your engine.
If you need to power electronics, a device such as an auxiliary power unit (APU) can be an alternative to engine idling. These devices come in diesel and electric options and can be used for heating, air conditioning, and any other devices you need for sleeper cab comfort.
Check Your Brakes Twice Weekly
It’s no secret that truck accidents can cause major damage, and fault brakes are just asking for an accident. Pre-trip inspections aren’t good enough for ensuring that your brakes are in working order. You should check the brakes twice a week and follow a preventive maintenance schedule to keep your trucks running smoothly. Poorly maintained brakes can reduce your brake capacity and increase the stopping distance to create dangerous road conditions. It can also lead to expensive repairs and fines as well.
When checking your brakes, check for cracked, worn, or damaged pads, linings, rotors, and drums. You should also check to make sure that the air or hydraulic components aren’t leaking as well. This is especially important if your semi-trucks are making frequent trips so you can catch issues before it becomes a breakdown on the road.
Pay Attention to Fuel Quality
Fuel makes up a large portion of your operating budget and it’s important to ensure that you’re paying attention to the quality of fuel you’re buying. Poor quality fuel can cause corrosion in your lines, pumps, and tanks in your trucks. It can also carry impurities into the fuel filter requiring more frequent replacement of the filter. Having the right fuel can help reduce the stress placed on the engine and can increase your gas mileage as well.
Your trucks are an important part of your business as an owner-operator. Being proactive in your truck’s maintenance can save you time and money in the long run.
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