TRUK Advice Column

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Things To Check Before Buying Used Trucks

for saleIn the present economic climate in South Africa, buying a new vehicle is virtually out of reach for some owner operators, so buying a used vehicle is the only option, and may be the answer to their needs.

Before you buy a used vehicle make sure it has been well maintained and has the engine and drive line specs suitable for your needs.

Make sure the vehicle is suited to the type of work you will be doing with it.  Proper specs are very important.  

Don't buy just because you feel it is a good deal. 

An underpowered truck for heavy hauling loads will be a VERY COSTLY MISTAKE, one which you cannot afford to make.  

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When Buying A Used Heavy Duty Vehicle

inspection2 There are things you need to know when buying a used heavy duty vehicle

If you do your research it is possible to get a good deal on a used truck, instead of just taking a gamble.

Do you feel lucky?

It is always great if you know the original owner and know how the vehicle performed and how it has been maintained, and whether it had any problems and what they are.  It does help if you know the owner/driver, but it doesn't totally eliminate any possible risks.   You can take steps to avoid having to rely on luck only.

You need to know that the vehicle is mechanically sound, so a thorough inspection is always necessary.  Remember, buying a used vehicle is not necessarily a bad thing, and it is possible to get a great vehicle that will be reliable and give you great service.

The time you take to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and see if it is sound, is always well worth the time and effort. 

If you would like us to professionally market your business or would like a free quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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You May Need Clutch Service

clutch1If you’ve noticed that your clutch has been slipping lately, you may be in need of some professional clutch service. Although a clutch should last you for many years, it won’t last forever. And there are many parts that make up a clutch, which means that there are many things that can possibly go wrong with it if regular maintenance isn’t applied. For example, if oil happens to get on the clutch and it isn’t removed immediately as it  should be, it could possibly ruin the clutch.

Because there are so many things that can cause a busted clutch, it can be well worth your time to take a look at a few things yourself first before having to seek some professional clutch service.

Is Your Trucks Clutch Slipping?

If your trucks clutch is slipping, you are definitely not alone. In fact, a slipping clutch is one of the more common problems when it comes to a trucks clutch not working properly. Although it’s necessary for a clutch to slip a little in order for it to slide into the proper gear, once you’ve completely taken your foot off the clutch pedal, there should be no slippage at all. If there is, it’s very possible that you may have a busted clutch.

Because a little bit of clutch slipping tends to lead to more clutch slipping, the reason for the slippage definitely needs to be investigated so that it can be fixed as soon as possible. The more a clutch slips, the more likely it is to create heat that’s so hot that the gears won’t be able to stay in their proper position. This can easily cause damage to all of the clutch parts, including the flywheel and the pressure plate.

Most truck drivers tend to notice that their clutch is beginning to slip when they’re carrying a very heavy load, driving up a long hill, or when driving at a low speed when in high gear. Because it’s highly likely that normal wear and tear is going to be the reason why your clutch is now slipping, some necessary clutch service may be in your near future.

If you happen to be experiencing a slipping clutch even though you just recently had the clutch installed in your truck, it’s most likely due to the following – a defective cable adjuster, a cylinder being blocked, wrongly installed release bearings, a wrong modification on the release system, or even by oil or grease getting into a part where they don’t belong 

clutch2

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Change The Oil in Your Truck

oilchangepanChanging your own oil in your truck can save you time and money. Taking your truck to a maintenance shop could take almost all day after you make an appointment and driving to the shop. After learning how you will never take it to a shop again.

Things You'll Need

1.   Wrench or socket wrench
2.   Cloth rag
3.   Empty container/ bucket
4.   Oil filter wrench
5.   Oil filter
6.   Oil
7.   Latex Gloves
8.   Cat litter
9.   Floor jack    

Steps

1.   Before you change your oil you should run your truck and get the oil warm so that it will gather all the dirty particles. It will also be easier to drain.

2.   Make sure you set the parking brake.

handbrake3.   First you must obtain a floor jack and jack stands. Jack the truck up using the floor jack. Place the jack in the center of the front brace between the front tires. Make sure that the surface you are parked on is level and stable, so that the jack doesn't move(if not make sure blocks are placed under back tires). Jack the truck up so the front tires are off the ground. For safety purposes, you should also place a jack stand under the brace just inside of the two front tires. This is to make sure the vehicle does not fall on you if the jack fails. Blocking the rear tires will also help eliminate the risk of the jack moving.
jack4.   Get a wrench that fits your drain plug, an oil filter, an oil filter wrench, a bucket to catch the oil, and the oil. Be sure to know what type of oil your vehicle requires. If you do not know, you can find this information in your vehicle manual, as well as the oil capacity.
undertruck5.   Slide under the vehicle. Locate the oil pan and loosen the bolt located on the end of the oil pan. The drain plug. Before you loosen the bolt place bucket under the bolt to catch the oil.

6.   Drain the oil from the oil pan, and clean the bolt with a rag and screw it back in with your fingers. After, take the wrench, and tighten it another quarter to half rotation. This will ensure that the bolt it tightened enough, but not so tight that it is going to pinch the rubber seal.

7.   Use the oil filter wrench to unscrew the oil filter which is to the right of the oil pan. Before the filter is completely screwed out, again place the container under the filter to catch any oil that is still in the filter.

1change   2change   3change

 

8.   Dispose of old filter and the new filter can be screwed in place. Be sure that you have purchased the correct filter, as sizes will vary depending on model and type of motor you truck has. Also check to make sure you have removed the O-ring from the old filter off of the filter housing. To ensure that the new filter gets installed properly.

9.   Take fresh oil and rub it around the rim of the filter. This is to ensure that there is a good seal once the new filter is screwed in.

10.  Hand tighten the filter. Then take the oil filter wrench and tighten another quarter turn.

11.  Gather the tools and move from under the vehicle.

lowerjack12.  Remove the two jack stands and lower the floor jack.

13.  Pop the hood of the vehicle and unscrew the oil cap which is located on the left side of the engine. Be sure to remove any debris that could potentially fall into the oil. Pour the recommended amount of oil into the vehicle. Screw the oil cap back on and close the hood of the vehicle.

oldoil14.  Run vehicle for ten minutes, then check oil levels with dipstick. Top off oil if needed. Do not forget to release the parking brake before the vehicle is driven again. 

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Buying a Used Truck Tractor

inspectingengineTruck tractor drivers depend heavily on their trucks. It€'s their livelihood and, for long-haul drivers, it can be their home away from home. This extremely interdependent relationship between drivers and their trucks quickly turns even the greenest of drivers into truck tractor experts.

It'€™s no wonder that most truck buyers carry out their own preliminary inspections on truck tractors that interest them. Many people bring a trusted mechanic or colleague to do the inspection for them. An experienced truck owner or driver can recognize the signs of a well-maintained truck and one that has been driven long and hard without any proper maintenance.

If you'€™re a new driver thinking of becoming an owner/operator, a contractor needing to haul heavy equipment back and forth from job sites or a farmer wanting to haul livestock, you'€™ll most likely need to buy a truck tractor. Whether you're looking for Mack trucks for sale, International trucks for sale or another truck tractor make, take some advice from the experts and inspect these five items before you buy:

Axle configuration, horsepower and capacity

Check the truck€'s axle configuration and transportation regulations for your area. Make sure you’re buying the right axle configuration (4x2, 4x4, 6x4, etc) for what you’ll be carrying. Consider the terrain and type of driving you’ll be doing. Will you be hauling loads over hilly terrain for long distances or making short trips within the city to deliver goods?

Select a truck tractor that has the right amount of horsepower for the type of tasks and trips you will be doing. Ask yourself how much capacity you'€™ll need. If you'€™re buying a truck tractor to pull your excavator around town, check the weight of your trailer and your excavator to determine the right capacity for the job.

Engine

The engine can give you a lot of information about a truck. Pull the hood and look for any signs of leaks. A leak means the engine may need some repair, perhaps not a costly repair, but a repair nonetheless. Start up the engine; let it run for a few minutes. As the engine gets warm, you should notice no smoke at all coming from the exhaust. If there is smoke and it is blue or white in colour, it could be a sign that the engine is burning oil.

Listen for any knocks coming from the engine. A knocking sound is a good indicator that the engine should be looked at more closely. While you a€™re inspecting the engine, check the engine sticker to find out if the engine meets the latest emission standards.  Be aware that each jurisdiction within a country may have its own emission standards for tractor truck engines.

Cab

Step inside the cab and look at the overall condition of the interior. Is the amount of wear reasonable for the truck tractor's age? Check the odometer and make a note of the mileage. For a car, anything approaching 300K might be a sign that it is time to think about a replacement, but for an over-the-road truck, mileage is not as important as the truck'€™s overall condition. If the odometer reads in the range of 400-500K, take a closer look at the engine. It might be time for an out-of-frame or less expensive in-frame overhaul to ensure the truck tractor continues to run for many more years.

Maintenance Logs

If you suspect the engine has already undergone an overhaul, check the truck'€™s maintenance records. Look for any engine work that may have already been done and for other major repairs. The maintenance record should give you a good idea of how well the truck was looked after, in addition to letting you know if the oil was changed on a regular basis. Most mechanics and/or operators will mark the last mileage date of an oil change on the air filter. Check to see if this date coincides with the maintenance records.

Brake Pads

Look online to view brake pad pictures or check the brake pads on site to estimate the percentage of life remaining. A truck with worn brake pads may still be a good investment. Replacing brake pads is a relatively inexpensive repair, and something you should take care of as soon as possible.

hub bearings   position brake

Safety comes first!!!

What truck tractor inspection tips do you have for new truck tractor drivers? Comment and let us know.  

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Tips to Keep Your Rig Running Great

bigrigAs a truck driver, you know you have to set aside time for truck maintenance and repair. But every minute you’re off the road you probably feel like you’re losing money. Aside from sticking with a routine maintenance schedule—which is the single most important thing you can do for your truck—the best way to avoid unscheduled repair stops and unnecessary downtime is to take care of your rig.

It really doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in how your truck performs, and often the smartest and safest habits are simply common sense. Here are 10 tips to keep your truck running great between service visits:

pressure check11.   Make sure your tyres are properly inflated. Every week (or more if you’re on a long trip), check your tyre pressure. Underinflated tyres can lower your fuel mileage and make steering difficult, and overinflated tyres are more prone to punctures and pothole damage. It’s also important to keep in mind that tyre pressure can fluctuate with weather changes and from driving at high speeds, so definitely monitor your tyres in these situations.

2.   Regularly check your fluid levels. Before a long haul, make sure to check all of your fluids, especially your oil. Big diesel engines need lots of oil to run well, and if you don’t check your oil often, you could eventually harm your engine, leading to high repair costs.

3.   Regularly check your radiator. Prior to long trips, it’s also important to check your radiator. Look at the radiator itself as well as the overflow bottle. If necessary, top off the fluid, and if you see any leaks (even if they’re small), deal with them quickly before they cause overheating and do any damage to your engine.

4.   Make sure to use the correct fluids. You may think this goes without saying, but it’s all too easy to use the wrong fluid when you’re in a hurry. Make sure to double-check container labels before you top off your fluids.

5.   Check your fuel vent if you’ve been sitting for a few days. After a few days off, check your fuel vent before getting back on the road. Insects, such as wasps, are known to build nests in truck fuel vents, creating blockages and causing trucks to appear to be out of fuel.

checkoil   brakes

 

6.   Check your brakes often. Do you hear squealing or feel vibration when you apply your brakes? If so, it’s probably time for a check-up. Dealing with the issue sooner rather than later will likely save you money and downtime in the long run.

7.   Drive properly. Drive at the posted speed limit and avoid slamming on the brakes. Simply following trucking regulations can save your truck a lot of wear and tear, prolong its life, and keep you out of the repair shop.

8.   Park properly. Avoid parking sideways on a hill and causing one side of your truck to be higher than the other. This can cause fuel from the higher tank to flow into the lower tank, and then when you start your truck, the uneven tanks will cause the fuel uptake system to draw in air instead of fuel.

9.   Allow your engine to cool before turning off your truck. Before you cut the key off, allow your engine to cool so that your exhaust gas temperature is below 300 degrees.

10.  Avoid harsh weather conditions. We know it’s an inconvenience to stop for inclement weather, but you can avoid significant damage to your truck by getting off the road when bad weather strikes.

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Truck Driving & Care Tips

1We appreciate the important role truck drivers and owner-operators play in sustaining the economy. We also know that trucking is a demanding occupation—financially, physically, and emotionally. We want you to be as safe and comfortable on the road as possible. Here are some tips for avoiding accidents and injuries, and ultimately enjoying a successful career.
    
Stay attentive

attentiveDo not allow anything or anyone to distract you while you’re driving. If driving becomes difficult for any reason (inclement weather, rough road conditions, family emergency…) slow down or stop if necessary. A safe driver maintains full awareness of his surroundings, and concentrates on the road.

Be extra attentive when turning

turning

A truck’s weight, length, and height make it nearly impossible for truck drivers to maneuver tight turns like regular vehicles. But drivers of smaller vehicles don’t always give you the room you need to make a turn. Signal well before starting a turn, and make sure you have the distance necessary to safely complete the turn.

Be extra attentive when backing

truckbackingBefore backing, walk to the rear of your truck and look all around for obstructions. Look all the way to the point you plan to stop—there could be something in your path—and walk to that point. Then turn around and visualize the backing maneuver. Don’t just rely on spotters. You are the sole person responsible for backing your truck safely.

Park smartly

parkingWhenever possible, back your trailer against a wall or fence to block easy access to your trailer doors. Something this simple can prevent theft, and if you set your trailer brake and put tension on the fifth wheel pin, a thief can’t pull the fifth wheel release.

Check your tyres before getting back on the road

checkingtyres1Pay special attention to your tyres before starting a job, whether you’re driving a long distance or making a short trip. When tread separates from a tyre, it creates a dangerous road hazard, and could cause an accident.

Stay in one lane

stayinginlaneIt’s in your best interest to stay in one lane of travel until you come to a stop. Even if you encounter an incident—such as slowed traffic, getting cut off by another driver, or being struck by an animal—you will likely do less harm to yourself and others and create less property damage if you stay in a single lane of travel.

Check and recheck your blind spots

3Many motorists are unaware of where your blind spots are located, and as a result, unintentionally put themselves in harm’s way. Make sure to check and recheck your blind spots before attempting any maneuver.   

Don’t let other drivers get under your skin

angryMotorists with whom you share the road often drive unpredictably—and sometimes downright irresponsibly. Their poor driving may display ignorance of your truck’s limitations, or simply their own disregard for safety. Recognize and accept their inexperience and use extra care. Don’t let yourself get angry.

Make sure your cargo is secured properly

insecureloadImproperly secured cargo can cause your truck to be unstable, and could result in falling debris that may injure you or any people or vehicles around you.

Follow hours-of-service rules to help prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue. Do not exceed these limits to try to make more money or meet delivery deadlines. It’s not worth it.

sleeping1   2   sleeping2

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Inspection tips: five things to look for when buying a used truck tractor

truk tractor

Truck tractor drivers depend heavily on their trucks. It€'s their livelihood and, for long-haul drivers, it can be their home away from home. This extremely interdependent relationship between drivers and their trucks quickly turns even the greenest of drivers into truck tractor experts.

It'€™s no wonder that most truck buyers at carry out their own preliminary inspections on truck tractors that interest them. Many people bring a trusted mechanic or colleague to do the inspection for them. An experienced truck owner or driver can recognize the signs of a well-maintained truck and one that has been driven long and hard without any proper maintenance.

If you'€™re a new driver thinking of becoming an owner/operator, a contractor needing to haul heavy equipment back and forth from job sites or a farmer wanting to haul livestock, you'€™ll most likely need to buy a truck tractor. Whether you're looking for Mack trucks for sale, Peterbilt trucks for sale, International trucks for sale or another truck tractor make, take some advice from the experts and inspect these five items before you bid:

1.    Axle configuration, horsepower and capacity

Check the truck€'s axle configuration and transportation regulations for your area. Make sure you are buying the right axle configuration (4x2, 4x4, 6x4, etc) for what you will be carrying. Consider the terrain and type of driving you will be doing. Will you be hauling loads over hilly terrain for long distances or making short trips within the city to deliver goods?

Select a truck tractor that has the right amount of horsepower for the type of tasks and trips you wi€™ll be doing. Ask yourself how much capacity you'€™ll need. If you'€™re buying a truck tractor to pull your excavator around town, check the weight of your trailer and your excavator to determine the right capacity for the job. Find a good source for that type of information.

heavy duty truck turbo diesel engine2.    Engine

The engine can give you a lot of information about a truck. Pull the hood and look for any signs of leaks. A leak means the engine may need some repair, perhaps not a costly repair, but a repair nonetheless. Start up the engine; let it run for a few minutes. As the engine gets warm, you should notice no smoke at all coming from the exhaust. If there is smoke and it is blue or white in colour, it could be a sign that the engine is burning oil.

Listen for any knocks coming from the engine. A knocking sound is a good indicator that the engine should be looked at more closely. While you a€™re inspecting the engine, check the engine sticker to find out if the engine meets the latest emission standards. Be aware that each jurisdiction within a country may have its own emission standards for tractor truck engines.

3.    Cab

Step inside the cab and look at the overall condition of the interior. Is the amount of wear reasonable for the truck tractor's age? Check the odometer and make a note of the mileage. For a car, anything approaching 300K might be a sign that it is time to think about a replacement, but for an over-the-road truck, mileage is not as important as the truck'€™s overall condition. If the odometer reads in the range of 400-500K, take a closer look at the engine. It might be time for an out-of-frame or less expensive in-frame overhaul to ensure the truck tractor continues to run for many more years.

4.    Maintenance Logs

If you suspect the engine has already undergone an overhaul, check the truck'€™s maintenance records. Look for any engine work that may have already been done and for other major repairs. The maintenance record should give you a good idea of how well the truck was looked after, in addition to letting you know if the oil was changed on a regular basis. Most mechanics and/or operators will mark the last mileage date of an oil change on the air filter. Check to see if this date coincides with the maintenance records.

5.    Brake Pads

Most trucks include Detailed Equipment Information. In this information, equipment inspectors try to include pictures of the brake pads. Look online to view brake pad pictures or check the brake pads on site to estimate the percentage of life remaining. A truck with worn brake pads may still be a good investment. Replacing brake pads is a relatively inexpensive repair, and something you should take care of as soon as possible. Safety comes first. 

Should you require someone to take the burden of advertising off your shoulders, and give you the best professional marketing possible for your business, please feel free contact us to discuss your requirements or request a free quotation.  

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Used Commercial Truck Buying Guide – Top 10 Tips

buyingalemonWhen it comes to buying a used commercial truck, truck and trailer, or any heavy duty truck, you need to be on your game to make sure you score a great deal, rather than ending up with a lemon.

There is a huge market for used commercial trucks, and you can start your search online for your fleet’s next workhorse, researching what’s available and average used truck prices. Purchasing a used commercial truck can be an excellent way to expand your fleet or strike out on your own as a contractor.

Here are ten tips when buying a commercial truck that could save you money, not just on the sticker price but on costly downtime and expensive repairs.

1 – Check the oil

We’re not just talking about oil levels but it’s about oil condition, which can tell you a lot about the health of the truck. In fact, a truck that has been well maintained will have had its oil (both engine and transmission) regularly analyzed for signs of contamination, metal traces or antifreeze. If it has, ask to see historical records.

2 – Check for rust

Sounds obvious enough but it’s not one to be underestimated as it can render your investment completely worthless. Surface rust can usually be fixed but structural rust, for example around the frame, may spell inevitable doom for the truck. 

rustcheck1   rust   rustcheck1

3 – Review the service records

Service records will tell you several things about the truck that are worth noting. Firstly make sure the records are legitimate, with the VIN matching the vehicle. Check the history of repair work to make sure there are no recurring patterns of breakdowns that could signal an expensive problem. And be extra cautious of trucks with no service record at all – there’s every chance you’re not getting the full story.

4 – Inspect the suspension

Make sure the suspension is in good working order and parts are easily sourced. Due to the critical nature of suspension, as well as their custom design, repairs can be costly. Preferably the manufacturer of the suspension has a reputation for engineering quality systems.

5 – Verify major parts

If you’re not overly familiar with the inner workings of a truck, this point may involve bringing a trained truck mechanic to help you inspect the vehicle. You need to be sure you can verify the condition of the major parts in the truck, whether it’s the brakes, transmission, steering, hydraulic lines or the AC. If you can’t accurately determine its condition then you might need to budget for a replacement.

6 – Source at least 2 part suppliers

The last thing you want is a great looking truck sitting idle because you can’t get a small, but vital, part for it, which is sometimes the case with obscure or limited-run truck brands. Make sure you can easily get parts for the truck from at least two separate suppliers to avoid being left high and dry.

moneyman7 – Can you get finance for it?

Check this before you make an offer on the truck as some finance companies can be quite choosy about which trucks they will finance, and most won’t unless it’s successfully passed a DOT inspection.

8 – Will they insure it?

Similar to finance make sure of this before you sign anything, and not just that you can get insurance but that it will be at a cost that still makes the truck a viable, and profitable, business opportunity.

9 – Know their reasons for selling

You’re entitled to know! Don’t let them avoid the question, and ask it in a way that doesn’t give them time or opportunity to change the subject or rehearse a script. Look for body language or other reactions that might give away unspoken problems. Make sure you are satisfied with the answer.

10 – Use a broker

If you’re spending a lot of money then it may well be worth enlisting the services of a professional truck dealer. They can sort the good from the bad, and source an excellent deal on a used truck, even after they’ve added their commission.

Take your time buying a used commercial truck, there can be many pitfalls. By proceeding cautiously, and getting help when you need it, you can find a used commercial truck that will give you many years of faithful and profitable service.

For truck buyers building a fleet, something else that can be worth the investment is reputable fleet management software. In fact, many commercial operators using Telogis Fleet have experienced a positive ROI within 120 days, due to the savings made in optimized route planning and fuel savings.

If you are a business owner and would like to have your business professionally marketing, please do not hesitate to contact us today to discuss your business needs or for a free quotation.

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Keep Diesel Engines in Top Shape

heavydutyIn today’s freighting business, sturdy heavy duty trucks are staple equipment.

The ever-reliable diesel engine was fitted to enhance the reliability, and improve the haulage service of massive freight all over the country.
Introduced by the German inventor Rudolf Diesel in 1878 two years after the fuel engine’s debut, diesel engines are built differently from their fuel counterparts. This makes diesel engine upkeep a more specific endeavor, and a very important one at that.

If diesel engines are properly maintained, they are extremely reliable, and an excellant investment, regular maintenance will also offset the rising cost of fuel, and you will be ensured of a longer life-cycle for your vehicle in general.

Here are a few handy tips to keep a diesel engine running at its peak performance.

oilchange

Regularly change oil.

Unlike fuel, diesel fuel contains high amounts of sulfur, which makes the smell unpleasant. The leakage of this odor is prevented by the oil filter system, which screens out all sulfur residue and carbon left behind from combustion.

Most drivers recommend an oil change every 5,000-8,000 km. Failure to change the oil in a diesel engine as scheduled can result in the same perils as in a gasoline engine—the leftover residue can clog the fuel injection system and compromise performance.

truckingInvest in good parts

Like any other machine, diesel engines are subject to the inevitable wear-and-tear. Can you imagine how potent that would be on a freight truck that hauls heavy cargo on a regular basis. Such risk makes it critical to invest in good performance parts from a trusted heavy duty truck parts dealer.One can never be too cautious when it comes to diesel engines, especially those on heavy duty freight trucks.

GLOW PLUG   GlowPlug Product

Closely monitor glow plugs

Diesel engines use glow plugs instead of spark plugs to ignite the fuel. This explains why diesel vehicles often have to be “warmed up” before being driven, as they use glow plugs instead of spark plugs to ignite the fuel.  The glow plugs heat the engine up, facilitating combustion alongside compressed heat. If the glow plugs are aged or failing, the engine wouldn’t run as it wouldn’t heat up.

Although diesel engines can't last forever, they do have long life spans.  Of course this also depends on sound maintenance practices.

The last thing a trucker would want is the loss of productivity and resources, due to frequent engine breakdown.

We trust this article will assist you with keeping your truck properly maintained. 

red truck moving

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