How To Avoid a Costly Commercial Truck Breakdown & What to Do in Case Your Truck Breaks Down?

Commercial truck repairs are not only expensive, but they can also have a negative impact on your revenue and productivity. In case your commercial fleet of trucks isn’t properly maintained, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong.

Commercial truck repairs are not only expensive, but they can also have a negative impact on your revenue and productivity. In case your commercial fleet of trucks isn’t properly maintained, there’s always a chance that something can go wrong.

Get this: the key to stopping this from happening is preventative maintenance. It’s true that some of the causes behind truck breakdowns are hard to notice. But many other issues can be detected early and prevented by taking the right steps.

Here, we will take a look at some of the steps you can take to prevent a commercial truck breakdown.

The Main Causes Behind a Commercial Truck Breakdown

These are some of the main reasons behind truck breakdowns.

Tires- A high number of roadside breakdowns happen due to issues related to the tires. One of the common causes is underinflation which leads to heat buildup on the sidewalls. Another factor is low tread depth which makes the tires more susceptible to punctures. 

Brakes- One study has pointed out that around 29% of truck accidents are due to brake-related issues. The brake system needs to continuously withstand heat, pressure, and friction leading to high wear. In addition, there are issues like air leaks and corrosion for external elements.

Electrical Malfunctions- The electrical system in a commercial truck consists mainly of the battery, ignition system, starter motor, and alternator. There are multiple other smaller components that are crucial as well. Quite often, a dead battery is a major cause of a breakdown. All these make monitoring the system vital for the truck to be in good condition.

Steps for Checking Breakdowns

These steps can help you to minimize commercial truck breakdowns.

Check Tire Health

Make sure to inspect all the tires of a truck before it hits the road. Running tires can lose air pressure at a high rate of 5 psi per month. Even when sitting, a tire can lose around 1 to 3 PSI per month. Seasonal changes can increase these rates. It’s important to maintain the right air pressure as per the owner’s manual.

Regular visual inspection of the tires is a must to keep them in proper condition. While inspecting, check out for cracks, tread damages, and other treadwear indications. As per the US Department of Transportation, a tire should be replaced when the tread depth reaches 2/32”.

Keep in mind; a visual inspection isn’t enough for checking the signs of tire wear at all times. Also, check for the maximum service life for a tire in the owner’s manual. Replace them after the mentioned timeline.

Give Importance to Vehicular Maintenance

Truth is, deferring preventive maintenance can be a costly mistake. In the long run, it can increase the chances of your trucks developing problems. Periodic maintenance not only helps in the good performance of a vehicle but also helps in identifying issues in advance.

To keep the truck’s engine in the best condition, keep the oil and coolant systems in prime conditions. Take note of the OEM recommendations for oil and coolant change and stick to them. Also, do a visual check of a coolant sample by noting the color and debris amount.

Remember, with time, even a well-maintained commercial fleet of trucks will start developing reliability issues. If the cost of breakdowns is higher than the vehicle itself, it’s time to retire the truck.

Keep the Brakes in Prime Condition

It’s necessary to conduct a visual inspection of the brakes before hitting the road. Check for signs of damaged components, chaffing, worn brake pads, or brake drums. 

Besides, water and contamination in the air supply or oil passing from the compressor can also lead to brake damage. A brake system is also affected by external contamination and leakage of air pressure. 

Following safe driving practices can help in avoiding brake-related issues. It’s important to train the drivers about responsible driving practices. Use telematics data to identify and check any dangerous driving practices.

Maintain the Electrical System

Take the necessary proactive steps to keep the battery and the corresponding wires and cables in prime condition. The battery’s state of charge should be checked by a voltmeter during each maintenance session. 

To improve battery life, keep the battery clean and reduce exposure to extreme temperatures. High summers and cold winters can take a heavy toll on battery life.

Use the voltage drop test to check the health of the starting system. Secure all connections and keep them free from corrosion-related damage.

What To Do in Case Your Truck Breaks Down

In case a breakdown happens, a driver needs to take the following steps.

  • Turn on the hazard lights to let other drivers know that the vehicle isn’t functioning properly. If possible, get the truck off the road.
  • Turn the wheels away from the road and engage the emergency brake.
  • If the breakdown happens on the shoulder, stay aware of the risks of the nearby traffic. It’s best to stay inside the vehicle as much as possible.
  • Place the flares or warning triangles behind the vehicle as per the mandated distances.
  • Contact the company dispatcher to arrange for emergency repairs. In case the truck is carrying hazardous goods or has left any slippery fluid on the road, contact the police for help.
  • Don’t abandon the truck and go searching for help. Once you have made the necessary calls, wait for the help to arrive.
  • It’s always important to stay calm in such a situation. If you get stressed, you might forget the basic steps of safety that you need to take. At the end of the day, your safety is of the utmost importance.


These are some of the best ways of preventing a commercial semi-truck breakdown. To stop your fleet from being stranded on the road, make preventive maintenance a priority.

At the same time, choose a professional truck repair shop that offers top-notch service through expert mechanics and state-of-the-art repairing equipment. That will help your trucks to stay in the best shape and ensure operational safety.

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