Most Common Semi-Truck Failures on the Road and How to Fix Them

Most Common Semi-Truck Failures on the Road and How to Fix Them

August 7, 2023  |  Semi-Trucks, Tips and Tools, Truck Failures
Semi-truck driving on road

Trucks are the backbone of the transportation sector, and they play an essential role in our daily lives by carrying goods and products from one place to another. However, even with regular maintenance, trucks are not indestructible and can experience several common failures on the road.  


These failures can cause severe accidents and pose a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers, and other motorists on the road. In this article, we will discuss the most common truck failures and how to fix them to keep your truck running smoothly and avoid accidents on the road. 

Your engine

Your Engine 


Engine maintenance is critical to ensure that your truck runs efficiently and smoothly. Neglecting engine maintenance can lead to various potential risks, from minor issues such as breakdowns to severe problems that can cause fatal accidents. Therefore, it is essential to address early signs of engine failure immediately to prevent serious consequences. 


Here are some of the most common engine failures that truck drivers face and how to fix them: 


Overheating: Overheating is a common issue in most trucks, and it can cause severe engine damage. One of the primary causes of overheating is a low coolant level, which is usually triggered by a leak in the radiator or a damaged thermostat. To prevent overheating, ensure that you regularly monitor your truck’s coolant level and inspect the radiator hoses for any cracks or leaks. When your engine heats up, stop and turn off the vehicle immediately, and allow it to cool down before continuing with your journey. 


Fuel Leaks: A fuel leak in a truck can be dangerous, not only because it affects the engine’s performance, but also because it poses a fire hazard. The fuel injectors and pumps may get clogged over time, leading to fuel leaks that can cause engine damage. To prevent fuel leaks, ensure that you regularly inspect and maintain your fuel injection system and check for leaks in the fuel tank. 


To avoid these common engine failures, it is necessary to follow some essential steps to maintain your engine: 


  • Regularly Check Oil Levels: Your engine requires adequate oil levels to run smoothly. Therefore, you should check the oil levels regularly and top up as necessary.

  • Monitor Coolant Systems: The coolant system is responsible for regulating the engine temperature. Ensure you check the coolant levels regularly and look out for any leaks in the system.

  • Inspect Fuel Injectors and Pumps: You should inspect and maintain your fuel injectors and pumps regularly to prevent clogs and leaks. 


Identifying signs of engine failure while driving is also crucial in avoiding severe accidents. If you notice reduced performance, hear strange noises, or experience sudden fluctuations in fuel efficiency, it is a sign that your engine requires immediate attention. Turn off the engine and call for a reliable professional to attend to the issue. 


Learn more about common engine problems with your semi-truck here

Faulty brakes

Faulty Brakes 


Faulty truck brakes can be a major risk factor on the road that can lead to truck accidents if left unchecked. In semi-trucks, they're often caused by poor maintenance or excessive pressure on the brakes. While most modern trucks are equipped with high-quality braking systems, regular inspection and maintenance by trucking companies are still necessary to ensure their proper functioning. 


Some of the most common issues that can lead to brake failure include and truck accidents include fluid or air leaks, corrosion, and contamination from dirt or moisture. Fluid leaks can frequently occur due to worn-out brake seals or faulty brake lines, and air leaks can occur due to a damaged or worn-out diaphragm in the brake booster. Corrosion can happen due to exposure to inclement weather conditions, and contamination from dirt and moisture can significantly reduce braking efficiency. These are all common in commercial trucks. 


Trucking companies need to conduct regular inspections and maintenance of your truck's braking system to prevent these issues from occurring. 


  • Inspect the brake pads and rotors for wear and damage and check the brake fluid reservoir for leaks and proper fluid levels.

  • Ensure that the brake lines and hoses are in good condition and that there is no corrosion developing in the brake system. 

  • Maintain proper tire pressure and employ gentle braking techniques. This can significantly reduce the wear and tear on your truck's braking components. 


In the case of brake failure, it is critical to act quickly to prevent a truck accident. First, apply the emergency brake to slow the vehicle down as quickly as possible. Next, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers on the road. Finally, maneuver the vehicle off the road and stop it safely. 


Faulty brakes are one of the most common truck failures, and they can easily lead to a truck accident. If you notice any symptoms of brake problems, such as reduced braking performance, strange noises or vibrations, or difficulty in applying the brakes, then you must take your vehicle to a qualified technician as soon as possible.  


Learn more about faulty brake problems with your semi-truck here

Ac Problems

A/C Problems 


Truck owners face numerous problems when driving in extreme weather conditions. Among the most common issues are problems with their A/C systems, which can be an enormous nuisance. These problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including a leak in the system, dirty or clogged filters, and broken compressors. 


One of the most common causes of A/C problems is a leak in the system. Spotting leaks can be a little tricky, and it's worth noting that most leaks stem from damaged hoses, fittings, or the A/C compressor itself. Therefore, the first step towards fixing such problems is identifying and repairing the leaks. Once the leaks are dealt with, you will need to recharge the system refrigerant to bring it back to the appropriate levels. 


Clogged A/C filters can also cause problems with the system's overall performance. Dirty filters reduce the air circulation levels, which can seriously affect the cooling power of the A/C. Therefore, it is crucial to clean or replace the air filters regularly. This ensures that the air that enters the vehicle is always clean, and the A/C system maintains its optimal performance. 


Broken compressors are another common A/C problem. The compressor is a vital component of the A/C system, and issues with it can be caused by various reasons such as electrical problems or mechanical failure. If the compressor is not functional, it needs to be replaced, and if it's a minor issue, a competent technician can repair it. 


Look for common A/C problems such as leaks, dirty filters, and broken compressors to ensure that your truck’s cooling system has a long life and runs at optimal performance. If you notice that your A/C is not keeping your cabin comfortable, turns on and off, or is producing abnormal amounts of condensation, then it is important that you take it to a technician immediately. A/C replacements can be pricey, have your A/C system checked regularly to avoid a large bill down the line.  


Learn more about semi-truck A/C problems here

3 Semi-trucks on the road with the text "Tire wear and tear"

Tire Wear and Tear 


One of the most common repairs and potentially dangerous issues that truck drivers face is tire wear and tear. Worn-out and underinflated tires can cause blowouts, which can lead to rollovers, collisions, and other dangerous situations. Therefore, it is crucial to take preemptive measures to maintain your truck's tires. 


Tire wear and tear can be caused by various factors such as weathering, driving conditions, and improper maintenance. Bald tires and cracks on the sidewalls are clear signs that your tires are worn-out, and it's time to replace them. Moreover, incorrect air pressure is also a significant cause of tire wear and tear. Underinflated tires can quickly wear out and become damaged, while overinflated tires can cause a bumpy ride and wear away the middle portion of the tire. Therefore, it's vital to maintain proper tire pressure and regular tire inspections. 


To prevent tire wear and tear and ensure the safety of your truck, here are some measures that commercial truck drivers can take: 


  1. Visit a tire shop regularly for tire inspections and maintenance services. A professional technician can examine your tires, assess their condition, and make appropriate recommendations. 

  2. Replace worn-out tires immediately. If you notice any bald spots or cracks on the sidewalls, it's time to replace your tires. Worn-out tires cannot provide sufficient traction, and they can easily cause blowouts. 

  3. Maintain proper air pressure in your tires. Keep a tire pressure gauge in your truck, and check the air pressure regularly, preferably before starting your journey. 

  4. Carrying spare tires in your truck can be a lifesaver in case of a tire failure. Make sure you have at least one spare tire, and that it's in good condition. 


In conclusion, tire wear and tear are significant safety concerns that truck drivers should not ignore. Regular tire inspections, proper maintenance, and maintaining correct air pressure can go a long way in preventing blowouts and other tire failures. By taking these measures, you can ensure the safety of yourself, your cargo, and other drivers on the road. 


Learn more about semi-truck tire wear and tear here


Fleet and Truck Maintenance for Optimal Performance 


Fleet and truck maintenance are crucial parts of any trucking business. Regular maintenance services are necessary to keep the trucks in optimal condition and avoid breakdowns on the road. Failure to maintain the fleet and individual trucks can result in mechanical issues that can cause accidents, costly breakdowns, and even loss of life. 


Various components require regular checks and maintenance services to ensure optimal performance. Be sure to inspect batteries, tires, brakes, lights, suspension systems, engine components, exhaust systems, and the transmission. A regular check-up of these components can prevent significant issues from arising, ensuring that the trucks are always in good condition to transport goods. 


Here are some essential tips for proper fleet and truck maintenance: 


  1. Routine inspections: Regular checks are necessary to identify potential issues before they turn into costly breakdowns that could cause truck downtime. Checking coolant levels, oil, and other essential fluids and replacing these if needed is critical. 

  2. Frequent oil changes: Regular oil changes are necessary to keep the engine working smoothly and prevent it from getting damaged due to contaminated oil. 

  3. Regular brake checks: The brakes are one of the most critical components of any truck, and failure to maintain them can cause fatal accidents on the road. Regular brake checks are essential to ensure that the brakes are working optimally. 

  4. Use reliable service providers: It is essential to choose qualified and experienced technicians and service providers to maintain your fleet of trucks. A reliable service provider will uphold quality standards, provide quality services, and ensure your trucks are in excellent condition. 


Regular maintenance leads to fewer breakdowns, minimized repair costs, and a reduced risk of accidents. Fixing common truck problems and troubleshooting truck failures helps prevent small issues from escalating into significant faults that could cause costly and dangerous breakdowns. Therefore, fleet and truck maintenance should be taken seriously for optimal performance. 


Better Semi-Truck Repair and Maintenance with Beamers Piggyback 


Truck breakdowns can be avoided by maintaining the fleet and conducting regular truck maintenance checks. Following the tips outlined above on truck maintenance can go a long way to avoid common truck mechanical issues, and truck breakdown causes, and improve the overall performance of the trucks. A well-maintained fleet of trucks will reap numerous benefits for your trucking business and help ensure the safety and timely delivery of goods. 


For truck maintenance and repairs that you can count on every time, reach out to Beamers Piggyback. We know what it takes to keep your truck running and our team of experts know how to spot warning signs before they become problems. 


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