How Can I Make My Semi-truck Last Longer?

As a semi-truck driver, you depend on your vehicle for many things. It becomes your second home as you travel from job to job, which makes safety a top concern. With so many miles traveled daily, routine maintenance remains essential for your protection, efficiency, and ability to complete your assignment on time.

Preventative maintenance goes beyond the standard oil change or battery charge. Routine checkups encompass every part of your truck from the inside out. To make your semi-truck last longer, consider the following guidelines for repair frequency and the benefits of preventative maintenance.

What Preventative Maintenance Can Do for Your Semi-truck

Finding any minor issues before they become more significant will save you time and money in repair or replacement costs. The trucking industry has yet to set a standard for when or how frequently truck drivers must maintain their vehicles. However, preventative maintenance offers many benefits to semi-truck drivers, including:

  • More efficiency
  • Reduce time in the shop
  • Increased safety
  • Higher fuel efficiency
  • Saving you money

Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Trucks

Preparing a preventative maintenance checklist helps keep your rig going strong. You can complete some upkeep tasks annually, while others may require more frequent maintenance. Each trucking company has its requirements that drivers must adhere to, which could include maintenance of the following:


A healthy engine means easy travel from one state to another without any issues. A truck that drives thousands of miles monthly needs routine checks to ensure optimal performance. An engine check will include the following:

  • Checking for leaks
  • Checking power steering fluid levels
  • Looking for cracks in the radiator and A/C condenser
  • Inspection of your engine’s cooling system

Fluid volumes

Like any vehicle, frequently addressing the oil, antifreeze, brake oil, and power steering remains crucial for performance. It is easy to forget these, so keep a log if you have to.

Air filters

Your truck’s air filter allows clean air to flow into your engine by blocking any outside particles from getting inside. To ensure your air filter remains in good condition, you will need to check it frequently.


Your semi-truck’s brakes might be its most critical components. With frequent driving and stopping, your brakes wear faster than any other part of your rig. Your brake system utilizes two parts to function correctly—air brakes and hydraulic brakes—requiring specific upkeep regimens.

Air brakes:

  • Airline and chamber inspections
  • Anti-lock brake self-test
  • Examination of the brake pads to determine the thickness
  • Review of the brake line rotor

Hydraulic brakes:

  • Ensure both front and back brake and lines function properly
  • Check for leaks in all brake lines, valves, and hoses
  • Check brake pad thickness


Like the brakes, your truck’s tires will wear out much more quickly than those of a standard car. Even with most semi-trucks utilizing 18 wheels, an issue with one can quickly affect the rest. To keep your tires rolling, check the following often:

  • Air pressure
  • Cracks or damage
  • Tread design flaws
  • Lug nuts
  • Wheel bearings

Electrical components

Check your headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and flashers to communicate effectively with other vehicles on the road.

Cab inspections

A cab inspection includes checking many elements inside your vehicle, from your seatbelt to your steering wheel.

  • Check dash lights
  • Test the horn
  • Clean glass and check for damage
  • Check heat and A/C
  • Test key ignition

Trucking Maintenance Schedule

Keeping your truck out of the shop remains essential in allowing you to work as a semi-truck driver. A maintenance schedule will enable you to work around times that you plan to have inspections and routine repairs rather than allowing them to occur on the job.

While many factors determine how often you should perform each maintenance task, the following will help you decide on a course of action:

  • 250-500 trucking hours: Schedule a routine engine check, including an oil and filter change.
  • 1,000-1,200 trucking hours: Check and replace the coolant and cab filters.
  • 4,800-5,000 trucking hours: Fill and replace the hydraulic oil and filter. Inspect the radiator and hydraulic tank.

Trust DMR Transportation for Superior Truck Maintenance

Your semi-truck remains the most important tool for your career as a truck driver, helping get you and your cargo where you need to go. Keep your truck on the road where it belongs instead of in the repair shop with frequent tune-ups and inspections.

Preventative maintenance will extend the lifespan of your semi-truck by catching minor issues before they get out of hand. Increasing your semi-truck’s efficiency and safety features will maximize your fuel efficiency while keeping you and other drivers as safe as possible.

For preventative maintenance to keep your semi-truck driving as it should year-round, call DMR Transportation at 616-560-5341.