The Basics of Semi-Truck Maintenance
The Basics of Semi-Truck Maintenance
Posted on October 12, 2023
When you become an owner-operator in Ontario, you're not just driving a semi-truck; you're managing a significant investment. One unexpected repair can disrupt your business and affect your livelihood. That's why preventative maintenance is crucial. You need a well-structured maintenance plan to ensure your semi-truck stays reliable and efficient and avoids costly emergency repairs. Here, we'll explore the fundamentals of semi-truck maintenance tailored to Ontario.
FMCSA's Required Maintenance Records
In Ontario, as in the rest of Canada, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets specific maintenance requirements to ensure road safety and the proper functioning of semi-trucks.
- Owner's Name: Your name is a critical identifier for record-keeping.
- Vehicle Details: Include the make, model, year, and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for accurate tracking and compliance.
- Tire Specifications: Knowing your tire size is essential for optimal vehicle performance and safety.
- Fleet Number: Each semi-truck is assigned a unique fleet number, aiding efficient management within a commercial fleet.
- Maintenance Records: Keep comprehensive records of both current and past maintenance schedules. This demonstrates adherence to FMCSA regulations and ensures your truck is well-maintained and roadworthy.
How to Maintain a Semi-Truck
Maintaining a semi-truck begins with a daily pre-trip inspection:
- Engine Check: Inspect engine oil and coolant levels, and look for evidence of leaks.
- Tire Inspection: Visually examine the tires on both the truck and trailer.
- Lights: Check all lights for proper operation.
- Overall Inspection: Conduct a visual inspection of the truck and trailer's condition, including the undercarriage.
How Often Does a Semi-Truck Need Maintenance?
Generally, semi-trucks require basic service every 10,000 to 20,000 miles. This service includes an engine oil and filter change, fuel filter replacement, air filter check, lubricant level top-off, and a thorough visual inspection. To maintain warranty compliance, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for these services.
Seasonal Maintenance in Ontario
- Air Conditioning: Inspect for leaks or debris buildup.
- Coolant: Perform annual system maintenance, including draining, flushing, and pressure testing.
- Electrical System: Examine the battery for corrosion and ensure secure wire connections.
- Tire Pressure: Regularly monitor tire pressure to counteract the effects of warm air.
- Windshield: Check for any chips or cracks, see if you have clean wiper blades, and ensure they're free from dry rot.
- Braking System: Verify the functionality of ABS and be aware of potential overnight freezing of drum brakes.
- Fluids: Perform daily checks on essential fluids such as engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, and wiper fluid.
- Tire Tread: Maintain a minimum tread depth of 4/32 of an inch for steer tires and 2/32 of an inch for all other tires.
Preventive Maintenance for Semi-Trucks
Preventive maintenance (PM) is scheduled maintenance based on usage or mileage requirements. The goal of PM is to reduce the likelihood of equipment breakdowns.
Cost of Semi-Truck Maintenance
On average, annual semi-truck maintenance costs approximately $15,000. In 2021, this cost increased by 3-5%, emphasizing the importance of effective maintenance practices.
In Ontario, safeguarding your investment in your semi-truck through diligent maintenance is not just a good business strategy – it's a necessity. With a well-structured maintenance plan, you'll keep your semi-truck on the road, minimize costly surprises, and ensure the longevity of your valuable asset.
Ready to Optimize Your Semi-Truck Maintenance?
At Metro Freightliner in Ontario, we're your partners in keeping your semi-truck roadworthy and efficient. Contact us today to schedule maintenance or explore our services. Your success on the road is our priority.