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Back on the Road

A Blog by TA & Petro Stopping Centers

Spring Truck Maintenance: A Checklist to Help Keep You Rolling

Diesel technician completing electrical system test.

Cold weather takes a toll on trucks. From the harsh chemicals used to keep our roadways clear to debris and obstacles hidden underneath snow and ice, many elements play a part in damaging crucial vehicle components throughout the colder months. Take the time now to assess the impact winter has had on the following parts of your truck to help avoid downtime and keep rolling through to the next winter. 

1. Electrical System 

The electrical system is the heart of modern trucks, which is why it requires special attention after a long winter. Not only have your batteries, alternator and starter been working overtime to keep up with cold starts and thick oil, but the acidic nature of harsh highway deicers can wreak havoc on any exposed connections or wires, making the entire system more vulnerable to failures.  

Alternator and Starter
The most overlooked sign of underlying electrical system issues is a sluggish cranking condition. If you notice your engine struggling to turn over, get a full electrical system check by a professional technician. Continuing to crank a vehicle with low voltage will damage the starter and lead to higher repair costs down the road.

Another way to test your electrical circuit is to turn on your lights and look for any dimly lit or flickering lights. Have your electrical system tested if you notice dim or malfunctioning lights, as both could be an indication of resistance in the circuit.

Many electrical system failures are a result of low voltage from loose connections or corrosion in the circuit. Inspect your electrical system for any exposed electrical connections, wires or butt connectors and have any exposed components repaired immediately. All butt connectors should have heat shrink over them to keep acidic chemicals out.

Lastly, listen to your batteries. If you experience a strong sulphur smell near your truck, your batteries could be leaking and this is their way of telling you it’s time for a little attention. Inspect your batteries for any pungent odors or signs of leakage. Be extremely cautious and be sure to wear proper eye and face protection, along with a nitrile apron and gloves.

If you notice these warning signs when inspecting your truck, have your electrical system tested by a certified technician. If you find yourself with any of these issues roadside, just call 1-800-824-SHOP (7467) and RoadSquad will be there whenever, wherever you break down.   

2. Tires

Spring temperature swings can cause your tire pressure to fluctuate. For every 10 degree change in air temperature, your tire pressure can change by one to three PSI.

Commercial tire pressure check.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated based on the load you’re hauling. Driving on underinflated tires increases friction between the rubber and the road, which can cause tires to overheat and lead to premature wear, tread separation and in some cases blowouts.

Lastly, complete and thorough visual inspection of your tires and look closely for any unusual tread wear or damage. Snow and ice can hide pot holes and other road hazards that result in deep cuts in the tire tread and/or sidewalls, so now is the time to evaluate how your tires held up during winter.

3. Brake System

Winter takes a toll on your brakes too. Once warmer weather has arrived, you’ll want to check your entire brake system for any significant wear and tear, especially ahead of another CVSA Roadcheck event. This includes your brake hoses, linings, air dryer and more.

When inspecting your brake system, listen for any air leaks. During winter, water and moisture that builds up in your air brake system almost always freezes and turns to ice, which can damage air valves, air dryers and other essential components.

Check and drain your air tanks to help keep water, contaminants and corrosion at bay. Also check your slack adjusters for proper stroke and lubrication, and check your brake lining or pads to ensure proper thickness.

4. Windshield Wipers

Lastly, don’t overlook your windshield wipers when completing spring truck maintenance. Extreme temperatures, snow and ice can tear windshield wipers apart, so check on yours now to prepare for spring showers and avoid squinting through streaks.

A general rule of thumb is to replace your wiper blades every six months, but if your inspection uncovers streaking, worn rubber or damaged wiper frames, you may want to purchase a new set sooner.

Whether you need replacement windshield wipers, a tire inspection or a comprehensive electrical system check, trust the professional technicians at TA Truck Service to get your truck back up and running safely and as quickly as possible.

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