Breakdowns – What’s the best way to deal with them?


While as truck drivers we always hope our wheels will keep on turning it is inevitable that at some point you are going to experience a breakdown. It is the nature of things that even the most well maintained vehicle with the best parts, best fuel and most rigorous maintenance will still at some point come to a grinding halt at the side of the road. Knowing that this is a very real possibility, what should a truck driver do to make sure that he is prepared for this eventuality?

The first thing to do is to call it in. Letting your office or maintenance crew know about the problem as soon as it happens is very important. This should be done even before you start to see if you can resolve the problem yourself. There’s a good reason why you should do this promptly. It gives your office the opportunity to make contact with your customer to give them a heads up that there may be a delay in the delivery of their goods. The other benefit is that your maintenance crew can already start thinking about what the cause of the problem could be. They can start checking their inventory to see if they have the spares that they may possibly need for the repair. If they don’t have them they can now contact their automotive spares supplier to see if the part is available while you check the problem out further.

Sometimes the problem may be a small one so the next step is to see if you are able to resolve the issue yourself. It may be that you can quickly see what the problem is and you may even have the knowledge to fix the issue. But, what if you don’t have the tools required for the job? While it is the driver’s job to drive the truck it is still very important that he has a full set of tools in the cab so that he can attend to any smaller breakdown issues. This preparation and small investment can save hours of down time at the side of the road.

As a trucker you are part of a community of other truck drivers who feel your pain when your rig goes down. There’s no shame in reaching out to drivers who may be nearby to see if anyone could assist. The problem you may be experiencing for the first time has probably happened several times to many other drivers before. It may have been something simple that they needed to do to fix the problem. Calling on that experience can often have you hitting the road again far quicker than if you tried to fix it by figuring it out yourself.

Access to the internet has also given truck drivers a huge advantage. While you’re waiting for your crew back at the depot to work out what the next step is you could even start checking out some of the truck driving forums to see if someone else may have had a similar issue before. They may even point you in the direction of a company where you could order the spare online and have it delivered right to where you are on the side of the road.

As with all things related to trucking it’s important to put safety first. Don’t become so distracted by your tight schedule or the problem at hand that you forget to ensure your own safety. Whether it’s day or night it’s always a good idea to be wearing a reflective jacket. Make sure you put the hazard lights of the truck on and put out your reflective warning triangles and other indicators to warn passing motorists.

It’s never fun being stuck on the side of the road but if you take some positive steps you can make the best of a bad situation. Remember that while you may be alone in the cab, you are actually part of a team. Make sure you communicate effectively with that team and help them to help you. Also, don’t discount the value that your fellow truck drivers can add. We’re all here to help eachother to keep on rolling.

Truck Maintenance – Is it really the driver’s responsibility?


The success of any freight company is solidly based on the quality and dependability of both its drivers and its fleet of trucks. While the quality of the driver is very much an individual thing, the dependability of the fleet is more of a team effort. That being said, when something goes wrong and a truck breaks down then it’s the driver who is immediately impacted. This is especially true when the trucker is an independent driver and is paid per delivery rather than a fixed salary.

Seeing as the driver is the one who is primarily impacted by the maintenance of the truck how much involvement should he have with the maintenance? He may feel that he is employed to drive the truck and nothing more. After all, the mechanics back at the depot don’t fill in for him when he is unable to drive. That may be true but it is still in his best interests to involve himself as much as possible in the maintenance process. How can he do this?

The mechanics that do the repairs and maintenance on the trucks often follow a routine maintenance schedule when deciding which truck parts to replace and which to repair. They will then check for any obvious repairs that need to be done in addition to this. Beyond this, it is difficult for them to know what else may be wrong. They can use all kinds of diagnostic equipment but in the end it’s the driver who is in the best position to give them good feedback.

Hours on the road behind the wheel make it possible for the truck driver to get a real feel for his truck. As soon as something out of the ordinary happens he can generally feel it even if a passenger along for the ride may not know it. It’s a great idea for a truck driver to have a notebook close at hand so that he can log any unusual noises, vibrations or warning lights as soon as he experiences them. Trusting your memory is a bad idea. When you get to your destination and start unloading you might get so busy that you quickly forget about the issue you had on the road.

Once back at the depot the driver can give some good feedback to the truck maintenance crew and this will be invaluable in their efforts to keep the truck in the best possible shape. Now they are in a position to check things that they may not have thought to look at. Very often this kind of feedback has led maintenance crew to finding the early tell-tale signs of what could become a big problem on the road. Good, open communication between truck drivers and the mechanics that keep the wheels rolling is an essential part of a successful trucking company.

Trucking and freight haul may be a lonely job up front in the cabin but it is essentially a team sport. Much like Formula 1 racing, winning the race comes down to having a good driver, a good car and a good pit team. When the driver takes the responsibility to give feedback and involve himself in the maintenance process then the best results are experienced.

How well do you know your truck?


truckIf you’ve ever seen an expert artisan at work you would have noticed how he seems to effortlessly grab the right tool from his tool box every time. Getting a job done right is often down to not only having the right equipment but also being intimately acquainted with the purpose of each tool and how to use it. To describe driving a truck properly as an art form is maybe a bit of a stretch but it certainly does take a lot of skill. Doing it really well also involves being well acquainted  with the individual parts that make up the whole truck.

Driving your truck with car parts is effectively is more than just knowing where the pedals, steering wheel and gears are. You need to understand everything from what goes on under the hood to what keeps your wheels rolling under the chassis. Here are a few things that every truck driver should be acquainted with.

Engine

The engine is the heart of the truck. It’s the power source and without this you’re not going to be going anywhere.

Hydraulics

Your breaks and many of the other functions of your truck are completely dependant on this.

Electrics

This includes everything related to your radio, engine management and refrigeration.

Wheels

Make sure you understand the required air pressures as well as being able to see if the tyres are in good shape. free fifa 17 coins

Brakes

Being able to move is important but being able to stop is more important.

As a driver you need to make sure that you have a good understanding of each of these elements and not be satisfied with just knowing how to drive. You should have a keen interest in what goes on behind the scenes when you’re behind the wheel. This isn’t just to satisfy your curiosity but is also essential to your effectiveness as a good driver.