Although long-haul truckers have a bad reputation, they’re a crucial part of the economy of the United States. According to the most recently available information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 2 million truckers and tractor drivers in the country in 2019.
Truckers are essential in keeping businesses running by moving their products and supplies from one end of the country to another. Industry experts say truckers move a whopping 71 percent of freighted products in the entire country. This makes truckers, and their vehicles, exceedingly important in keeping grocery shelves stocked and pharmacy counters supplied. Truckers carry everything, from healthy rice substitutes to refrigerator coolant to stores everywhere.
It’s important for truckers to maintain their vehicles meticulously. If you want your truck to survive long haul journeys with as little damage as possible, here are 5 tips you should always keep in mind.
1. Keep Spare Parts
You’ll never know when your truck’s engine can throw a lug or your tire to burst. And you can’t count on being close to a truck stop. Emergency road services can also be unreliable, especially if you’re traveling in remote stretches of highway. You should always keep a full stock of important spare parts in the cab of your truck.
For example, if you experienced engine trouble before, have a few parts for Cummins engines at the ready in case of another emergency. Keeping spare parts in your truck will also reduce the overhead costs of your journey, which can affect your standing in a company. It can also reduce downtime as you no longer have to scramble to secure necessary items and parts from auto shops.
2. Rotate the Tires
Your truck’s tires probably see more damage and wear than any other part of the vehicle simply because they are in perpetual ground contact and motion. However, your tires may experience uneven treadwear because they remain in the same place.
Rotating tires doesn’t mean spinning them in place. It means moving the tires in a different configuration. The most basic way to do so is by switching their positions. For example, you can swap the left rear tire and the right front tire before you also switch the right rear tire and the left front tire. This will ensure even distribution of weight and wear across all four tires and prolong their life.
3. Don’t Be Aggressive
Truckers have very tight schedules, and you may have to haul freight continuously for days. However, doing so aggressively isn’t just dangerous to your health, it can also endanger the well-being of your vehicle, as well as other motorists.
It may be tempting to use your truck’s superior size and speed to run rampant on the highways, but aggressive driving can put unnecessary strain on your engine, burn out your tires and even cause a traffic accident. Such incidents won’t just damage your truck and cargo, it can also get you into serious legal trouble. Instead of hauling aggressively, always play it safe so you and your vehicle both remain safe from harm.
4. Always Change Your Fluids
A truck is both enduring and surprisingly delicate, just like a reliable beast of burden. It requires plenty of fluids to function such as engine coolant, oil, windshield cleaner and, of course, gasoline. However, truckers on a long haul may forget that their trucks need a balanced supply of all these fluids to properly function and focus solely on fuel. This is a terrible mistake, as without oil, your engine can suffer catastrophic damage from friction.
Without appropriate windshield cleaner, you can suffer a dangerous loss of visibility, especially if your screen gets too covered in dirt. And without coolant, the engine temperature can quickly skyrocket and it can catch fire. Always change or refill these vital fluids and check their levels at every opportunity.
5. Inspect the Entire Truck
A truck is a splendid piece of machinery, but it still needs to regularly inspected if you expect it to function properly at all times. This can be understandably difficult to achieve during a long-haul journey.
Because of how difficult it is to achieve during a haul, you should always inspect your entire vehicle before and after a long journey. This can prevent grief while you’re traveling on the road and may save your life. If you inspect your entire truck while its immobile, you can find a loose coupling, a strained axle or a leaking tank that could have totaled your vehicle if it fully got damaged on the road.
Truckers are absolutely crucial to the economy, and so are your vehicles. Keeping your truck in fully-functional and optimal condition is not only vital to the survival of business, it’s also important to your own well-being and security.