As we drive into the new year, there’s no better time to ensure your truck is well-maintained and ready to hit the open road. Performing routine inspections and servicing the major components of your vehicle can extend the life of your truck and help you avoid unnecessary downtime. We asked our Rush Truck Centers service departments for their most recommended maintenance services for truck and fleet owners based on the issues they commonly see in our repair shops — here are their top eight.
1. Preventive Maintenance Inspection
Staying on top of preventive maintenance services should be at the core of your maintenance program for your vehicle. A thorough inspection of the critical components of your truck and performing needed services can help keep your vehicle in peak condition and correct problems before a failure occurs so you’re not hit with unexpected downtime. Preventive maintenance services are also crucial for keeping your vehicle compliant with standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Recommended preventive maintenance services include:
- Replacing the engine oil and oil filter
- Replacing the fuel and water filters
- Topping off all fluids
- Checking the cooling and exhaust systems
- Inspecting the brakes, suspension, wheels, rims and tires
- Checking the wiper blades and mudflaps for wear
- Checking lights, mirrors and reflectors and replacing them as needed
- Inspecting the interior and exterior of the cab for general issues
2. HVAC Inspection
Before spring and summer roll around, you should have your A/C system inspected for any issues to make sure everything is working as it should when it starts to heat up. Trust us, you don’t want to be stuck driving in 90-degree heat without air conditioning.
The A/C inspection should include checks of the compressor, clutch and belts, hoses and fittings, condenser, evaporator, air ducts, louvers, blower motor, switchers, system pressures and refrigerant levels. A trusted service provider can complete a thorough inspection and repair or replace HVAC components as needed.
3. Aftertreatment System Cleaning
Your diesel particulate filter (DPF) and diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC) in your truck’s aftertreatment system work in tandem to prevent harmful pollutants produced by diesel engines from escaping into the environment. The DPF and DOC can easily become clogged or degraded over time, which makes regular cleaning of these components essential to extend the life of your engine and keep it running at peak operating power.
Most engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) recommend maintenance and cleaning for your DPF and DOC every 120,000 to 200,000 miles, or every six months, but the ideal cleaning interval will depend on the vocation and application your truck is being used for.
4. Brake Adjustment
Truck drivers are required by law to keep their brakes in working order and properly adjusted. However, improperly maintained brake systems were the No. 1 road violation found by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in 2023.
Ignoring brake issues can lead to breakdowns and accidents that cause harm, downtime, loss of revenue and potential violations. This is why the components of your braking system should be inspected, adjusted and replaced as needed regularly. Make sure to check the brake pedal, rotors and brake pads (on air disc brakes), and brake shoes and drums (on drum brakes) for wear, damage or rusted components.
5. Clutch Adjustment
Your clutch allows you to control transmission shifts while driving by disconnecting the power from the engine to the transmission in order for the gears to change. Because this process involves the clutch resisting rotational friction between the engine and transmission, its settings will change gradually over time and eventually need adjusting.
To work efficiently, the clutch needs the right amount of free travel (clearance) in the linkage between the foot pedal and the clutch operating lever. Too little free travel can allow the clutch to slip, while too much clearance can cause it to drag, both of which can damage the clutch and lead to dangerous driving conditions.
Regular clutch inspections and adjustments can ensure that the linkage, clutch brake and clutch pedal free travel are aligned to the correct settings to prevent premature wear and difficulties while driving.
6. Engine Valve Adjustment
An engine valve adjustment, also called an engine overhead adjustment, can ensure proper engine combustion and prevent issues such as a loss of power or a decrease in fuel efficiency.
Your engine’s valve mechanism needs to be adjusted so that it has the necessary lash (clearance) for the valve to open and close and pass heat into the cylinder head. Too much lash can negatively affect the engine’s airflow and lead to valve damage. Too little lash can prevent the valve from closing and sealing properly, leading to exhaust gas leakage.
7. Suspension Alignment
Commercial truck tires can be expensive to replace, so it only makes sense that you’d want to extend their use for as long as possible. Misalignment of your truck’s suspension system can cause inner and outer tire wear as well as cause the tire’s tread to wear down too quickly. An alignment service involves adjusting your truck’s suspension system, including the axles and tires, to ensure that the wheels are pointing straight and the tires are meeting the road at the correct angle. This prevents uneven wear and ensures you don’t have to replace tires prematurely.
If you notice the steering wheel pulling to the right or left, abnormal wear and tear on the tires, or vibrations in the steering wheel, it could be a sign that your suspension is misaligned.
8. Starting and Charging System Inspection
OEMs typically recommend the starting and charging system on your vehicle be inspected every 100,000 miles and the battery should be checked at least once per year. During a routine inspection, the battery’s percentage of charge should be tested and any corrosion on the battery connections should be cleared as it can cause problems with the electrical circuit and prevent the battery from delivering a full charge.
The following components should also be checked during an inspection of the starting and charging system:
- Condition and tightness of battery cables and cable ends
- Condition and tightness of the ground strap from the battery to the engine, frame and body
- Starter amperage draw
- Alternator ground, wire connection, mounting and belts
- Alternator amperage and voltage output
Let Rush Truck Centers Handle Regular Maintenance for You
Rush Truck Centers offers same-day Xpress Service, including preventive maintenance inspections and service for brake systems, HVAC, aftertreatment, alignment and more. We also offer customized Maintenance Plans that make it easy to manage the ongoing expense of maintaining your vehicles and ensure all OEM-required repairs are being completed as recommended.
Submit a service request or contact your closest Rush Truck Centers location to schedule a service appointment and have our factory-trained, ASE-certified technicians help keep your truck in peak operating condition.
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