Updated: Apr 3
Most people give little thought to how often their car needs servicing. Instead, they get it done when something goes wrong, or the check engine light comes on. However, if you drive a semi-truck for a living, you must be much more mindful of when your truck needs professional servicing.
Unlike passenger vehicles, semi-trucks operate under a lot more strain. They haul heavier loads and travel further distances than the average car. As a result, they have unique maintenance requirements.
So, how often should a semi-truck be serviced? The answer may surprise you. Most mechanics recommend that semi trucks get serviced every 30,000 miles. However, to ensure the safety of yourself and other motorists, doing a peripheral inspection of your semi-truck before heading out on the road is always a sound idea.
During a peripheral inspection, you should check the following:
Tires - Check the tread depth and look for any cuts or bulges. Tire irregularities can lead to blowouts, hydroplaning, and other incidents that could require a mobile mechanic or roadside or emergency services. Worse, they can potentially endanger other motorists who are sharing the road with you.
Lights - All of your truck's lights should work as expected. Check headlights, tail lights, brake lights, running lights, fog lights, and turn signals to ensure that all are signaling as expected. If they fail, replace them with functional bulbs as soon as possible. Doing so will help you avoid getting pulled over and make it easier for other motorists to see your truck on the road.
Mirrors - You should always clearly see the road behind you. Check all mirrors to ensure their position is optimal. If your mirrors are dirty, clean them before hitting the road. If using a camera system for driver assistance, ensure it is calibrated and in proper working order.
Windshield Wipers - Bad wiper blades don't help when driving in inclement weather. Ensure the edges are in good condition and can effectively clear your windshield of rain, sleet, snow, bugs, and other things that can reduce visibility. When inspecting, look for splits and cracks in the rubber that could negatively impact their performance.
Oil - Oil keeps your engine running. Before heading out on the highways and byways, checking the level and quality of your oil is crucial. If the levels are low, or the oil seems thick or gritty, it's time for a change.
If it's been more than 30,000 miles since your last service or if you notice anything during your peripheral inspection that warrants further attention or truck repair, getting the truck serviced by a qualified mechanic should be your top priority. Waiting too long to get a semi repaired can lead to more significant and expensive problems down the road.