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Troubleshooting Tips to Help Diagnose Potential Truck Mechanical Problems

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, truck drivers and trucks are on the road more than ever. Truckers are hauling essential supplies, food, medical supplies, and other things from one location to the next. Even non-essential items are being shipped by truck now that many states have started reopening.

With trucks clocking more road hours, it is important to make sure you are keeping up on your fleet maintenance. We understand that it can be difficult, given that you need to keep your drivers on the road earning money. Yet, maintenance is essential to avoid costly truck repair bills later.

Whether you are an owner-operator or drive a truck for a larger operation, it is worthwhile to review these troubleshooting tips that can help you diagnose potential truck mechanical problems before they become major repairs.

Tip #1: Check for fluid leaks before hitting the road.

Truck driver giving thumbs up during coronavirus pandemic

Take the time to walk around the truck and look for oil, diesel, coolant, or brake fluid on the ground. If you notice any fluids that weren’t there when you stopped, do a closer inspection to make sure you haven’t sprung a leak.

Tip #2: Use your nose to identify strange smells.

Before removing your face mask, make sure you are safely away from others. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Do you notice a smell that seems strange, such as burning plastic, sweet sticky syrup, or some other one? If you do, these smells often indicate some type of mechanical problem.

Tip #3: Pay attention to how your truck vibrates.

Vibrations are normal for semi-trucks. Yet, there are times when the vibrations can increase and the steering wheel shakes or gets even worse so the entire cab is shaking. If you notice any excessive vibrations, something is wrong. It could be a problem with the tires, the steering system, or something else.

Tip #4: You see smoke.

Smoke is never a good sign when you see it coming from your truck. The color of the smoke indicates what type of mechanical problem you are experiencing. For example, white smoke could indicate raw diesel is passing directly into the exhaust system. Blue smoke indicates an oil-burning issue. Black smoke means combustion is incomplete.

Tip #5: Listen for strange sounds and noises.

You should be familiar with how your truck sounds when it is running while idling and while driving. Use your ears to listen for sounds and noises that are not familiar—like metal scraping on metal, clanging, or banging. If you hear something that just doesn’t sound right, pull off to a safe location and try to locate where it is coming from, as there could be a mechanical problem.

Caucasian Truck Mechanic Working to Fix the Truck

By using these tips, you can detect potential mechanical problems and get them fixed before they become major repairs. For truck repair and fleet maintenance services in Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, or Atlanta, contact your nearest East Coast Diesel shop or email us at [email protected] today!

Should you have a mechanical problem and cannot safely drive to one of our diesel truck mechanic locations, remember, we do offer mobile truck service and towing service. We also have an extensive inventory of truck parts and ship nationwide!