Semi Mechanical Issue Troubleshooting Guide

Semi-trucks break down more frequently when they don’t receive regular maintenance. Long haul vehicles log a lot of miles and oftentimes carry heavy loads which can quickly start to affect their performance and lifespan. Regular fleet inspections and semi maintenance services can help prevent mechanical issues from arising and keep company trucks on the road longer. 

J&A Fleet has convenient locations in Illinois to service local fleet trucks and semi-trucks that are passing through the state. Our fleet maintenance services prevent a lot of breakdowns, but drivers must understand what can go wrong with their rig and the warning signs so they can get help before they break down on the side of the road or get stopped at a weigh station. 

That’s why J&A Fleet has prepared a semi mechanical issue troubleshooting guide to keep drivers and cargo safe on the road. If you need emergency fleet repairs or have more questions, you can call or drop by one of our locations in Channahon, Wilmington, or Morris. Now, let’s get into some common issues that truck drivers experience with semi-trucks. 

Overheating Engine

There are a few signs that a diesel engine is overheating that truck drivers should look out for. Some fairly common warning signs are steam, a hood that’s hot to the touch, leaking coolant, or a temperature gauge that’s creeping higher and higher. If you think your semi might be overheating, it’s best to find a fleet mechanic right away so you don’t break down on the road. A blown head gasket, a faulty thermostat, failing water pump, a bad radiator cap, or even a coolant leak can make your diesel engine overheat and put your truck out of commission. 

If you run into this specific problem, J&A Fleet can dispatch a mobile semi repair team to get your truck operational again with minimal downtime. 

Starter Failure

Starter failures tend to be a problem in colder climates, which means semis may struggle with this issue when transporting cargo throughout the midwest. Typically, starters go out due to manufacturer errors or general wear and tear. Some common signs that a starter is going out include:

  • Trucks that won’t start
  • Engines that won’t turn over
  • Motors that doesn’t spin
  • Dim interior lights 
  • Grinding noises
  • Loud clicking when you turn a key
  • Engine cranking

Unfortunately, starters can go out without any warning. However, sometimes you’ll notice it takes your vehicle a bit longer to turn over or you hear grinding and screeching noises. When that happens, get into a local fleet maintenance mechanic ASAP. 

U-Joint Failure

Typically, U-Joints break because of corrosion, excessive jolting or vibration, or the bolts were installed badly. This critical part helps the differentiator transfer power to the transmission. 

Oftentimes, you can prevent U-Joint failure with regular lubrication. But once you start hearing clanking noises when you shift gears, banging metal, or your car vibrates when you accelerate or decelerate– you need to get your semi into a repair shop. 

Faulty Brakes and Fluid Leaks

One of the top reasons that brakes go out is the loss of brake fluid. If the brake booster or brake lines go bad, truck drivers may experience total brake failure. This is not only terrifying but dangerous as it’s already impossible to brake suddenly with brakes that are working properly. Some things you should look out for that signal your brakes are failing include spongy brakes, squeaking or grinding noises, leaking fluid, or a burning smell. 

Wheel Bearing Problems

Wheel bearings are critical to a semi’s ability to brake and steer. It’s also important for the suspension system. The wheel bearings help your wheels move along the road with as little friction as possible. Some signs your wheel bearing is bad are uneven tire wear, steering wheel vibration, and clicking or humming noises. If you don’t take care of wheel bearing issues properly your semi-trucks tire may blow out, making the driver lose control. If that’s not bad enough, you’ll also have to pay for a semi-truck towing service and buy a new tire. 

J&A Fleet– Semi Maintenance and Repair Services

J&A Fleet Maintenance in Channahon, Joliet, and Wilmington specializes in semi-truck repairs. We also offer mobile repairs whenever possible to reduce downtime. However, if we do have to bring a company truck into our shop, we can also deliver your semi wherever it needs to go once we’re done. Just call today and discover the extensive scope of J&A Fleet Repairs semi-truck services. 

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