Driving doesn’t come naturally. It takes skill and practice. But when you’re driving a big vehicle that has more than four wheels and carries a ton of cargo, that’s a whole new level.
Truck driving requires a different kind of training. It requires a separate course on how to handle cargo (especially if they’re hazardous materials), among other things.
Driving a truck doesn’t just require the skill, but the consistency and the readiness to keep your vehicle in check for the road. If you’re going to have to drive for long hours, you’d want your truck to be in condition for that.
A big truck comes with big parts. The more reason you have to inspect everything before hitting the road. Nobody wants to be lugging a heavy tire in the middle of a hot afternoon’s scorching heat. It’s best to avoid these situations beforehand by inspecting your truck regularly.
Before you hit the road, be sure to cover your B.L.O.W.B.A.G., which stands for battery, lights, oil, water, brakes, and air. By practicing this religiously, you can avoid any mechanical problems and accidents.
There are a couple of ways you can check your truck’s battery. You can check it using a Voltmeter or Power Probe. Connect the positive lead to the positive terminal and the negative lead to the battery’s negative terminal. Then you get a reading. Your battery is in good condition if it reads between 12.4 and 12.7 volts in either the voltmeter or power probe.
Another way of checking the battery is by cranking the engine. Have someone turn the ignition and hold for 2 seconds. Meanwhile, you observe the reading of the power probe. If it does not go below 9.6 volts, you’re good to go.
Lights are very important since they don’t just help you see the dark, but they’re the main means of communication on the road.
Checking your truck’s lights is something you can do with great ease. All you have to do is turn your truck on and switch on the headlights, taillights, signal lights, brake lights, and hazard lights to check if everything’s working.
You can check your oil levels with an oil dipstick. Usually, this already comes with the vehicle. All you have to do is insert it into its pipe, take it out, and observe until what level of from the tip it’s reached. Near the tip, there are usually two marks. If your oil level is below the bottom line (the one nearest to the tip), it means your truck needs a refill.
Before you start inspecting, be sure your engine is cold or has been off for at least 10 minutes. Make sure to wipe your dipstick with a lint-free cloth before inserting it into the pipe.
Overheating is likely when you’re driving for hours. To keep your truck cool, be sure to check its water before the trip. If that doesn’t ease you enough, bring a liter of water and/or coolant. Your radiator will thank you for it.
If there’s one thing that a long haul truck and a car have in common it’s that they need brakes to control and stop the vehicle. However, cars have a hydraulic system for their brakes while trucks depend on compressed air.
Brakes are crucial, especially when driving a big vehicle with a heavy load. They help prevent accidents, most of all. But when not maintained and inspected regularly, it can get tricky. They may even be a cause of overheating for your truck.
One way of doing this is by inspecting your brake caliper closely. Take a peek through it and check the brake pads inside. If you see that it looks much thinner than it used to, it’s probably time to have them replaced. Don’t tinker with the brakes’ parts by yourself, unless you are a professional.
There are different tools one can use to measure the air pressure on tires, one of which is an air pressure gauge. Remember that faulty tires may cause reduced fuel efficiency, uneven wear, heat build-up in tires. Be sure to check your tires’ air pressure regularly to avoid any unwanted stops on the side of the road or delayed deliveries.
This is probably the most obvious one, but don’t forget to gas up. Driving for hours might mean passing by places that don’t have any gas stations for who knows until where. Be sure to gas up as much as needed, or bring some extra gasoline with you.
Being someone who is qualified to drive a truck means you hold the responsibility of keeping others and yourself safe. One way of doing that is by maintaining a safety standard for your vehicle. Other than that, you wouldn’t want to deal with an inconvenience that could be easily avoided in the first place.