The engine is the heart of your heavy-duty truck; it operates at high temperatures with serious compression and pressure, and if not looked after correctly, you could find yourself looking at some serious damage and expensive repairs.
Luckily, just like your own ticker, there are ways to make sure that it doesn’t pack in early and get the most out of your engine, and that’s exactly what we will be discussing on this page.
Frequent Oil Changes
The engine oil in a heavy-duty truck performs several critical functions. It lubricates the moving parts of the engine, such as pistons, crankshafts, and camshafts, reducing friction and preventing wear. It also cleans the engine by trapping different contaminants and preventing the formation of sludge and deposits.
Keeping an eye on your oil levels as well as inspecting and replacing it as frequently and consistently as every 4,000 - 6,000 miles can help keep your engine well-lubricated, clean, and operating at peak performance.
Replacing your engine’s oil filter is a great but often overlooked method when it comes to prolonging heavy-duty truck engines. The job of oil filters is to remove contaminants such as sludge, gunk, dirt, and debris from the oil and prevent them from hampering the engine.
Located near the engine block or oil pan, over time these filters can become clogged and create increased pressure inside the engine, which can lead to irreparable damage to the engine’s components.
Fuel filters perform a similar function to oil filters in that they stop debris, contaminants, and impurities from entering the engine, but they do this for the fuel of the vehicle rather than oil.
Without inspection, cleaning, or replacement of fuel filters, these can become clogged, limiting fuel flow and placing unnecessary stress on the engine, which can cause misfires and increase wear on the components.
Dust, dirt, debris, and other contaminants would easily enter your truck engine’s air intake system if it were not for the air filters. A clogged air filter will restrict airflow to the engine, causing performance issues, whereas a damaged one will allow contaminants in.
If the engine is the heart of your truck, then the fuel is its blood. Due to usage and dirt gathering, this can lead to an increase in fuel usage. Driving on an empty or near-empty tank will place extra stress on the engine, which can cause overheating and lead to major damage. Keeping on top of your fuel levels is a quick way to prevent this from happening.
Another point, another body analogy. If you’re going for a run, you stretch first. Why? Because if you don't, there’s a good chance that your muscles won’t be warmed up, and you could end up hurting yourself.
Think of your truck as the same. There are a lot of different components in your truck’s engine, so leaving the engine running for a few seconds before engaging anything else can help the engine reach its optimal performance temperature, ensuring that the combustion chamber has the correct conditions to work instead of being rushed.
Proper driving on the road isn’t just for safety; it can also help increase mileage and reduce engine wear. Maneuvers to avoid when possible include frequent traffic stops, jump starts, and rabbit jump starts.
EPA-approved additives are great additions to your engine; they can help prevent breakdowns and keep you within your warranty.
Cetane is a measure of diesel fuel ignition quality. The higher the cetane rating, the more efficient the fuel is.
Clean fuel injectors and reduce exhaust emissions.
For use in cold weather, anti-gel prevents fuel from congealing.
Gives extra lubrication to fuel injectors and fuel pumps, extending their lives.
Coolant System Checks
Your engine’s coolant system is responsible for dissipating heat and preventing the engine from overheating. Maintaining proper coolant levels and quality as well as replacing it in accordance with manufacturer recommendations can prevent coolant system corrosion or failure, which can cause overheating and serious engine damage.
Components such as piston rings and bearings require adequate lubrication in order to perform correctly. Insufficient lubrication can result in increased heat generation, higher operating temperatures, and even catastrophic failure of the engine. Regular lubrication of these components is essential to extending your engine’s lifespan.
Belts and Pulleys Maintenance
The alternator, water pump, and power steering are all driven by belts and pulleys such as the serpentine belt. Wear, cracks, tension issues, and even complete snapping are all issues these belts face. Without the water pump functioning properly, coolant cannot effectively travel through the system, which can lead to engine overheating and failure.
Hoses and Connections
Fuel hoses deliver fuel for combustion, vacuum hoses assist in various engine functions, air intake hoses provide clean air for combustion, and connections ensure proper fluid flow and sealing. These should all be tight and sealed, but over time, leaks, cracks, and damage can appear, leading to a variety of problems.
Hoses and Connections
Gaskets and seals create airtight and fluid-tight barriers between components. They prevent leaks of fluids, such as oil or coolant, and maintain proper compression in areas like the cylinder head and engine block. If gaskets and seals fail, it can result in fluid leaks, loss of compression, engine overheating, and potential damage to engine components, leading to decreased performance and potential engine failure.
Preventive Maintenance From Professionals
As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine”. Easily the most effective way to extend your heavy-duty truck’s engine life is by having our team of professionals at KingFleet look over your engine and identify, diagnose, and address any areas of concern.
Our team of experienced mechanics has years of engine maintenance under their belts and will carry out all of the checks listed above with professionalism and efficiency, extending your engine’s lifespan and keeping you running smoothly on the road. Don’t wait; just give us a call now!