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Tips for Handling a Semi Truck Breakdown on the Road

Semi Service July 31, 2020

Life on the road comes with unique challenges. One of the most common headaches any driver is sure to face at some point in their life is a semi-truck breakdown on the job. Fortunately, you can take steps to mitigate the time and cost of these breakdowns with a little wisdom and being proactive.

Read on to learn tips to reduce the stress of your next semi-truck breakdown.

Visibility is Key 

The first and most important part of any semi-truck breakdown is to maintain the maximum visibility you can. Highway traffic is moving at high speeds and the drivers are typically focused on where they’re going versus what’s happening on the road – making a large semi-truck stopped on the side a liability.  

It’s your responsibility to make sure it’s hard to miss that your vehicle is temporarily out of commission. After you’ve gotten as far off the road as you can, use everything you have available to mark your situation: 

Flashers – The most obvious indicator of vehicle problems, turning on your flashers will give approaching cars some degree of alert to steer clear of you, especially on tighter roads where you may not be able to get a clear space between you and the shoulder line. 

Reflective Signs – Assuming traffic has enough breaks where you can safely step away from your vehicle, it’s a good idea to put down a reflective warning sign or two to help give yourself a “workspace” to inspect your truck. 

Flares – It’s important to have road flares ready to go in case your semi-truck breakdown happens at night. Lights and signs aren’t always enough to give other drivers enough time to notice your vehicle, especially if you’re on a tight bend. 

Make a Field Assessment 

There are a handful of causes for your semi-truck breakdown that could be easily identified on the roadside. Modern semi-trucks are full of electronics that are often the source of an issue. While you won’t be able to repair these on your own, knowing the problem can make it quicker to have a service vehicle reach your truck and get it back in action. 

For mechanical problems, it’s always a possibility that you could make a field repair that’s safe and effective, though you’ll still want to get your vehicle to a nearby truck repair shop to have it looked at. Every semi-truck driver knows that time is of the essence, so the potential to fix your problem and get back on the road is always worth trying! 

Even if you can’t fix a mechanical problem, knowing the part that’s failed can make a difference when you call your preferred service station. Ordering truck parts for emergency delivery is a lot easier than it used to be! 

Always Have a Toolkit 

No semi-truck driver is truly prepared without a road-ready toolkit. Minor repairs to your engine, wiring or other parts are always a possibility when you’re experienced and prepared with the right tools for the job. 

There are plenty of toolkits marketed towards truckers on the road. You can shop these prepared kits, or make one of your own with tools you trust. While every toolkit will be different, some of the core tools that every truck driver should have are: 

  • Wrenches (Crescent/Combination, various sizes) 
  • Wire Cutters 
  • Electrical Tape 
  • Screwdrivers (All types) 
  • Flashlight 
  • Vice Grips 
  • Light Testing Kit 
  • Socket Set 
  • Zip Ties 

These general-purpose tools and accessories can often help you in a pinch. The more mechanical knowledge you have, the wider your array of available tools will likely be! There’s no reason not to familiarize yourself with minor road repairs! 

Know Your Trailer Repair Shop of Choice 

It can be a challenge to know who to contact when you experience a semi-truck breakdown while on a long haul. But when you generally drive in a given area, it’s a great idea to know your local truck and trailer service shops so you can get them on the phone as soon as you need them. 

Semi Service serves Utah, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming. If you need parts after a breakdown, we’re open 24/7 to ship out what you need. Even if you’re too far for local part delivery, it’s always a time-saver to have a reliable distributor with an inventory like ours to ensure you can get what you need in a timely manner. 

Reduce Your Chances of Future Breakdowns 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best tip for semi-truck breakdowns is to do your best to avoid them altogether! With experience, you’ll pick up on the core information that helps you prevent mechanical or electrical failures from springing up on your out of the blue: 

Preventive Maintenance 

It should come as no surprise that most semi-truck breakdowns happen due to a lack of effective maintenance. The more technologically advanced that semi-trucks and trailers become, the more parts there are that can fail. It’s important to keep tabs on these parts throughout the lifespan of the vehicle and trailer. 

Preventive maintenance is not only a great way to avoid breakdowns, it will save you money in the long run. For every few dollars you spend keeping your vehicle in peak condition, you’ll save a mountain of cash by extending the lifetime of your rig. 

Pre-Trip Inspections 

Before you hit the road, you should make a reasonable inspection part of your pre-trip habit. Find a good balance between the time investment and the safety value of an inspection. Checking things like your tires, electrical components and connections are all a great way to avoid the most problematic failures that can happen on the road. 

Contact Semi Service Today   

We service, repair, install, and upfit all types of trucks, vans, and trailers. Don’t know where to start? We can answer your questions and help you find what you need. Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!   

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