Maintenance tips for your trucks in the fall
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Maintenance tips for your trucks in the fall

Jennifer Smith is an e-Commerce Digital Content Specialist at JIT Truck Parts in Highland Park, Ill.

The fall season is a welcoming change for drivers that were overheating alongside their trucks in the summer; but to avoid downtime this season, truckers are advised to take necessary precautions now by investigating air brakes and components; headlights and suspension systems. Dropping temperatures could lead to new challenges for fleets that avoid routine truck maintenance. To avoid downtime in the cooler autumn months, fleets will want their drivers and technicians to inspect their brake system, lighting equipment and undercarriage.

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Inspectors didn’t break on brake inspections

If you recall, random commercial vehicle inspections were conducted across the United States on May 26 that affected over 8,658 heavy-duty vehicles. While not all these trucks were slapped with citations, inspectors did note that 1,725 trucks had problems relating to their braking system. The 1,725 truckers who had their day ruined may have made changes to their vehicles by now, but other truckers cruising down the road may not have been aware that the inspections were going on at all. However, the announced Brake Safety Week in late August may have changed that. If your fleet hasn’t had a truck pulled over, consider yourself lucky. Better brakes remain a must for truckers to avoid violations and keep safe on roadways.

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Lights on or lights out for truckers

As the Fall Equinox unfolds later in September, having clear operational lights is a must, in particular to easily detect signage, spot wildlife and see what is in front and around the truck. Driving records will be affected if bad lighting is noticed by police. A defective or failing headlight or taillight alone can get truckers two to four demerit points in most states and can lead to drivers potentially losing their licenses for some time.

Most trucks today make use of LED or halogen lights – the two most popular types of lighting available on the market. The blue-white optics in LED lights offer a wider scope of landscapes; however, the intensity of the light can be a distraction for other drivers. For now, there is no violation standard for LED lighting on headlights since the light can still be used even with missing diodes – that is, if they are seen from 500 ft. away. Halogen lights are less intense than LEDs and share the same yellow-white tint of traditional lights; but they only allow drivers to see what is in front rather than around them. Halogen lights are DOT/SAE approved and last approximately 500 hours. They are considerably cheaper than LED lights, as a perk.

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Replacing headlights takes less than 30 minutes on heavy-duty trucks and is recommended as we move into the fall season.

Falling leaves and your suspension

Crunchy leaves will soon turn to mush as they hit wet pavements, covering lines on the roads, potholes, and other road instabilities. Not only will the slippery surfaces make it difficult for all drivers to slow down and come to a complete stop, but truckers may find it difficult to stay in straight lines without sudden lane shifts. Maintaining shock absorbers and/or struts will keep trucks grounded and avoid unexpected collisions. After all, driving with worn shocks is never recommended.  

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Jennifer Smith is an eCommerce Digital Content Specialist at JIT Truck Parts in Highland Park, Illinois.

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