Maintaining a truck is not the same as maintaining a car or other vehicle. All trucks, from the smaller models such as the Ford F150 right through to the heavy-duty trucks from Peterbilt and others, need regular servicing at varying intervals. This is because they do a more strenuous job than the regular cars we see on the roads, and they take a lot more wear and tear on the components that they utilise.
Take an example of a heavy truck, one used to carry freight across the country. These cover many tens of thousands of miles each year in arduous and testing conditions, and they get through some consumable essentials much faster than a regular car. Even a truck doubling as a workhorse and family vehicle needs to be serviced every as it will also rack up miles.
So, what do you need to know when you are buying replacement parts for your truck or your fleet vehicles? Let’s talk about the importance in finding and using a reputable supplier, and also the parts that need replacing most often.
Using a Reputable Supplier
It is essential that truck parts are replaced where possible by items from the original equipment manufacturer. Referred to as OEM parts, these come from the factory that built the vehicle. So, if you are maintaining a Chevy truck, you should where you can use OEM Chevy parts. However, with some older trucks – and indeed some of the later models – there are aftermarket parts that can be fitted that are proven reliable and that may save money.
However, we do not recommend cost saving as a decision when maintaining a truck, unless you are certain the supplier deals only in quality aftermarket products. We recommend you look for a reputable truck parts supplier such as www.finditparts.com who can offer you the service you require at prices that are sensible. For fleet users and individual truck owners building a relationship with such a supplier adds reassurance to the running of the vehicle.
Such suppliers will have a customer service department that will be able to source parts that are not in stock and also find parts for older trucks that may no longer be manufactured. Let’s talk about the parts that need replacing most often, and why.
Most Commonly Replaced Truck Parts
We mentioned above how trucks tend to get through parts faster than a regular car. This is not because truck parts are less durable – quite the opposite – but because trucks cover a great deal more distance in a shorter time. A heavy truck, for example, may cover more than 50,000 miles in a given year, whereas a family car would do a quarter of that. A trucks annual mileage will always exceed that of a sedan or even an executive car.
So, which truck parts are most likely to suffer from wear and tear, and need replacing often? Let’s talk about the obvious ones:
- The clutch is a part of a truck that takes a lot of wear and tear. This is the part that transfers the torque and power of the engine – both of which can be colossal in a heavy truck – directly to the powertrain and the wheels. The clutch is a hard-working essential element of every truck. However, as it is not designed to last forever, it will eventually wear out and need replacing. A good driver – one who does not ride the clutch – may get as many as 200,000 miles from an OEM or quality aftermarket example. We recommend you talk to your parts supplier about the best option when a replacement clutch is needed.
- Brake pads wear down over time. These are the parts that connect with the wheel to slow it down when the hydraulic braking system is enabled. That they work by direct contact means they have to be very strong to bring a heavy truck – which can weigh in excess of 30,000lbs – to a standstill in a safe distance. Always buy brake parts from mykmparts – as they made the best products – to get the best out of the braking system.
- Tires are a consumable part on any vehicle, and while they can last as many as 100,000 miles they will need replacing regularly. You will likely have seen the remains of shredded tires by the side of the freeways in the USA. It is not unusual for a tire to blow, and with multi-wheel trucks it is less of a danger. As with brake and clutch parts the tires will not be made by the truck manufacturer. They will form one of the major tire manufacturers such as Goodyear and Cooper – the only US manufacturers – plus Bridgestone, Continental, Pirelli and Hankook. Your truck parts supplier will advise you as to the best make and model for your truck.
While these are the most commonly replaced parts on a truck, they are not the only ones that will wear out in time. The hydraulic system may need replacing once in a while, and other parts such as light bulbs and wiper blades will have a limited life.
Why Regular Servicing is a Must
In the section above we talked about the most commonly replaced parts on trucks, but it is equally important that all other parts and systems are checked regularly. Many parts are unseen and tucked away in the engine compartment or elsewhere they are hard to reach, and only an expert truck mechanic will be able to check these are safe and sound.
It’s important to remember that, where heavy trucks especially are concerned, safety is of the highest order. A heavy-duty vehicle with defective brakes, for example, can cause a lot of damage. Make sure you have your truck – heavy or otherwise – serviced regularly, preferably by a make specialist, and ensure that your drivers, other road users and pedestrians are safe.