Maintenance & Repair

How to Keep Your Truck on the Road

The Importance of Semi-Truck Repair Loans

Recently, the trucking market has taken a nosedive due to the severe vehicle and parts shortage that has been wreaking havoc since 2020. With the current inventory not meeting industry demands, the market for these vehicles has become insanely competitive. In fact, in July of this year, Class 8 vehicles and other heavy-duty trucks sold rapidly while their prices spiked at a year-over-year rate. According to the ACT, unit sales went up by 26.6% compared to last year’s numbers and prices of Class 8 vehicles increased by at least $77,000. Unfortunately, due to the current state of the world, there’s no guarantee as to when inventory or prices will balance back out.

Those who already have a running rig have an advantage over the new drivers entering the buying and selling arena. However, if your truck breaks down and is in need of parts or a serious repair, you may find yourself in the same situation as green truckers. 

Everything You Need to Know about Annual Semi-Truck Maintenance

The truth about used truck repairs

On average, a single truck driver travels anywhere from 45,000 to 100,000 miles per year. And with working hours and delivery demands regularly increasing, it can be easy to forget about scheduling regular or preventive maintenance. However, for used trucks, care is crucial for keeping your rig on the road, especially amid the current inventory shortage.

It’s also important to prepare and plan for the inevitable repairs that come with owning a used or older truck. As an owner/operator, it’s vital to keep essential tools in your cab so you can solve common repairs on the fly and stay on schedule. 

The most common used truck repairs include:

If you want to be extra careful, be sure to prepare your vehicle for the various seasons and the weather conditions that come with them, like high temperatures in the summer and icy roadways in the winter.

5 Most Common Truck Problems and Repairs

The impact of the vehicle shortage

As previously mentioned, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, automotive manufacturers and parts manufacturers have been battling a labor decline and production delays brought on by the effects of the coronavirus. These obstacles eventually caused a massive vehicle and parts shortage that still affects dealers and consumers globally. Once cases declined and businesses began reopening, manufacturers assumed they’d be able to ramp up production and compensate for the lack of product. However, they did not anticipate their suppliers being hit by a wave of various natural disasters, further causing more closures and setbacks. Dealers saw no end in sight and began offering extreme incentives and personalized financing plans to move stagnant inventory, not realizing they’d be left with virtually nothing in the way of new and used stock. This move ultimately solidified the shortage that companies and consumers are still battling to this day.

Unfortunately, this shortage has had a significant effect on the trucking industry. Newer truck production is still moving at a snail’s pace due to a large raw materials shortage, and truck dealers are experiencing drops in sales of up to 0.6% month-over-month. Under these circumstances, drivers could sell their used rigs and receive top-dollar, but it would be unwise if they plan on using that money to buy a new or used truck, seeing as how neither really exists at the moment. Shippers are also continuing to pay higher premiums for transportation due to the disruptions in the supply chains. The DAT suggests that spot and contract rates are higher than they’ve ever been while freight volumes decreased by about 8%. To top it all off, drivers are experiencing port congestion, unloading delays, a tighter intermodal capacity, and more freight than the commercial trucking industry can handle, especially as the holidays move in.

Where Did All of the Trucks Go?

How semi-truck repair loans can help

As a truck driver, your vehicle is your lifeline. When it breaks down or needs parts and repairs, your income and livelihood are on the line. And if the repairs or parts required aren’t within your budget, you could be facing quite the predicament. Fortunately, companies like Mission Financial Services can help by offering specialized commercial vehicle repair loans. These loans assist in covering the cost of repairs and help get your rig back on the road. 

With older or used vehicles, you’re more likely to face frequent, costly repairs than newer trucks, especially if you’re operating at a higher capacity. That’s why it’s crucial to have a personalized repair loan at the ready to protect your investments and income. 

For added protection, companies like Mission Financial Services offer a multitude of specialized loans and financing offers, including:

  • Repair loans
  • Commercial vehicle title loans
  • Personal loans
  • And refinancing options

What are your options to cover the cost of semi-truck repairs?

Why wait?

To obtain a commercial vehicle repair loan, you will need to complete and submit three online forms, including a credit application, vehicle spec sheet, and sales order. You will provide your contact information, your past and present employer, income specificities, and any previous financing information for your credit application. The vehicle spec sheet will require information like make, model, vehicle I.D. number, and mileage so you can obtain the best loan that fits your exact needs. The sales order will show the sales price of your commercial vehicle as well as its taxes and fees.

How to Save on Diesel Emissions Repair Costs

In 2005, diesel engine manufacturers weren’t entirely sure how to attain the EPA’s future emissions regulations and standards. Ultimately, they were faced with having to think on their feet and start inventing new parts and systems if they planned on staying in business. 

Not surprisingly, the industry delivered. The invention of SCR systems used fluid formulas to scrub nitrous oxides out of the diesel exhaust smoke chemically. This led to cleaner air and gave a much-needed boost to big rigs’ fuel economy. Experts say aftertreatment systems reduced harmful emissions by up to 90% for hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide and up to 50% in particulate matter.

While trucking companies and engine manufacturers feel the systems have proven safe and reliable, many aren’t fans of the amount of maintenance requirements to keep them functioning correctly. 

Top ways to prepare for roadside inspections 

The reality of diesel emissions maintenance

Many don’t realize that before implementing the aftertreatment systems, private long-haul fleets were averaging around $1,200 per month on exhaust system maintenance, such as replacing a rusted or cracked pipe or fixing a turbo failure. Once the SCR systems were installed, companies were hit with an average of $27,000 per month in repairs. This 1,837% increase in expenses left fleet owners at a loss for words. We know what you’re thinking—how does any amount of maintenance add up to almost $30K per month? For optimal performance, today’s diesel emissions systems require EGR coolers and valves, diesel particulate filters, DEF dosing systems, and several sensors to work together in perfect harmony. If one item malfunctions or needs repair, the system will fail and force the heavy-duty rig and its driver to cease all operations, leaving the fleet owner with a severe financial burden.

Tips for tire maintenance and repair 

The actual cost of diesel emissions repairs

In 2017, the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council began monitoring various repairs and the costs associated with them to help fleets analyze how their fleets’ performance could be improved and, in turn, limit expenses. When data was first collected, exhaust system repairs were approximately $513; a year later, they increased by 27%, putting them at $405 per repair. Today, the costs are still rising as new technology, parts, and companies emerge. 

Understandably, fleet owners and operators are tired of these looming and ever-increasing prices. However, the TMC found that these repairs wouldn’t be necessary with a bit of forethought.

Heavy-duty emissions maintenance tips

To combat costs and constant repairs, fleets have decided to operate outside of the aftertreatment system manufacturer’s recommendations. While the suggested intervals for repair and maintenance are fair in ideal scenarios, companies have quickly realized that it’s more effective to operate based on actual variables. These variables include truck usage, geography, fuel quality and consumption, weather conditions, applications, and more. After seeing how all these factors played a role in SCR system repairs, it became clear that investments in in-house equipment and technicians were necessary. 

Another way to limit expenses is to perform routine cleanings, checks, and maintenance every 100,000 miles instead of the OEMs’ recommended 400,000 miles. Companies have also started looking at other vehicle functions to determine if they may be behind emission failures. For example, a simple fluid leak could be the cause of a reoccurring problem versus a malfunctioning sensor. 

All of these preemptive measures will undoubtedly reduce costs and downtime, allowing more money to be available for improving your fleet.

5 common truck problems and their repairs

5 Most Common Truck Problems and Repairs

With the need to meet the ever-increasing “just-in-time” demand for delivery timelines, changing logistics, and sweating the assets in longer life cycles of duty, it’s easy to slack on the preventive maintenance schedule.  

As an operator, having the best tools in your toolbox to solve common problems and knowing when to make needed repairs is the key to meeting your target’s deadlines and keeping your rig rolling on schedule. That means that you’ve got to know all about the requirements of truck repair. Let’s explore some of the more common repairs that fleet operators see with today’s trucks.


An overheated engine can cause many residual effects on a truck. For example, the issue might be a blown gasket, or something related to the fuel tank. Regardless, over time, this can lead to engine failure if the problem is left too long. Therefore, working with a maintenance professional is crucial to review and address signs of overheating on your vehicle. In the long term, this can prevent failure at a critical time and save you big bucks.

On average, here is what you will pay for “check engine” related repairs per state:


New Jersey$389.23
Data: Forbes


Starter mechanisms should be reviewed more often as the colder weather approaches. Starter failure can become a common problem in the winter months. Clear signs of issues with a starter will likely be noticed by the operator first, and the ignition will only get worse as the temperature outside gets colder. During the motor start phase, nonessential components (such as radios) should be turned off in order to diagnose the problem.

*Read 5 Tips for Winterizing your semi-truck.


U-joints are necessary for power to transfer to the differentiator from the transmission. The U-joints must be lubricated to minimize wear and tear, and if the U-joint is about to fail, a driver may notice a clicking sound. Another sign of imminent U-joint failure can be vibrations at higher speeds. If a driver experiences either of these signs, at the earliest convenience, the U-joint has to be replaced.


A comprehensive strategy for brake maintenance is critical. On a regular basis, likely due to the pressure from today’s larger payloads, modern trucks frequently experience issues with brake pedals or the braking system. Brake fluid leaks and even total brake failure can occur if trucks have not been maintained effectively. Fortunately, if one brake fails, the independent brake system still allows the driver to stop using the other brakes.


In order for your wheel to move along the road with as little friction as possible, important components called wheel bearings are necessary. While they’re moving, if the driver notices an unusual amount of noise generated from the wheel wells, the bearings could be degraded. Another sign could be unstable road movements or a jerking feeling of the truck. Even if your tires are properly inflated, these types of problems are extremely common. Make sure to always replace worn out tires and keep plenty of spares on deck.

*Read 7 Crucial Tips for Tire Maintenance and Repair!


Federal safety regulations require all semi-trucks to have a full inspection by a qualified inspector annually. The inspection must meet the federal guidelines, performed by someone with the proper training, certifications, and experience.

*Check out these Tips For Staying in Compliance

Having a five-plus year plan of what you will need to replace could aid in planning and avoiding a show-stopping price tag. In addition, with the current post-COVID-19 climate, finding OEM assets required can be challenging in an emergency. Being prepared and aware of your options can be very critical in a crisis.

Semi-truck maintenance can be expensive and unpredictable, but it’s a necessary evil that comes with ownership. It’s tempting to put off repairs until damage occurs, but regular maintenance is crucial to preventing more severe problems down the road.

Want more information? Check out our blog, Everything You Need to Know About Annual Semi-Truck Maintenance.

Tips for Preparing Your Semi-Truck for Summer

Are you ready for a hot semi-truck summer? The warm weather is already here in some places, and truckers need to prepare their vehicles for what lies ahead. While most of this information may seem common sense, it serves as a good reminder for even experienced truckers to take proactive steps to prepare for the coming months. 

With more than 15 million trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers on the road, owner/operators need to take special care of their equipment at all times. Here are some things truckers should keep in mind this time of year:

1. Do a summer maintenance checkup

Truckers traditionally make preparations for the harsh winter weather, while summer conditions are sometimes overlooked. Hotter temperatures may mean a new set of measurements and calibration to ensure each component is set to work properly.


Colder temperatures compress air within the tires, giving off the impression that the tire pressure is too low. Some drivers will put more air into the tires to account for this change. However, once the weather begins to warm up, the air decompresses and can make tire pressure too high. As temperatures rise, do a tire pressure check to set a new normal.

Battery and Engine

Batteries struggle to work their best in cold weather, so keeping a solid charge during the warmer months is usually not a concern. Truckers should double-check their battery, though, heading into summer to ensure it works properly. Sometimes excessive heat can drain a battery, so monitor its charge regularly. Truckers also need to verify their truck engines stay cool as well. Inspect the truck’s coolant levels and hoses to avoid overheating and replace any suspect parts before they break.


Spending all day in a truck without air conditioning sounds like a nightmare. Check internal cooling systems as summer starts, looking for leaks or cracks in the tubing. Get any parts replaced in order to have a comfortable ride no matter how hot it gets outside.

2. Be ready for emergencies

All experienced owner/operators know to be ready for whatever comes their way. That includes creating an emergency kit that can help when something goes wrong. An emergency kit should include items to help truckers survive and recover whenever an emergency happens. 

Some key things to have in an emergency kit:

  • Several days of food and water
  • Extra clothes
  • Cash
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Flashlight
  • Toolbox with tools of varying sizes
  • Flares
  • Swiss Army knife

It’s also a good idea to keep a first-aid kit in the truck. Use the beginning of summer as an opportunity to check that everything in the kit is current and replace any items that may have expired.

3. Take care of your health

It is vital that owner/operators take care of their physical and mental health at all times. During the summer months, truckers should wear sunscreen each day, even if they do not plan to spend much time out of the cab. While some truck windows protect from harmful UV light, truckers may often find themselves outside and need that layer of protection.

Truckers should also stay hydrated, drinking water and other healthy drinks while avoiding soda. Staying hydrated will help keep drivers alert while driving and avoid any possible distractions from feeling thirsty or dehydrated.

It’s also important to focus on regulating emotions on the road. The summer typically means more drivers on the road, especially on weekends. This may lead to increased traffic or more inexperienced drivers trying to navigate the increased traffic. Truckers must remember this fact and attempt to stay calm during stressful driving situations.

Preparing for a Busy Year

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to fade away, more and more people this summer are expected to travel. Even with increasing gas prices, there is expected to be a significant amount of traffic on the road as people want to leave their homes after spending much of the past year stuck inside.

Both owner/operators and other truckers must be prepared for this surge and ensure both their trucks and themselves are prepared for what comes ahead. For many truck drivers, the summer season may be seen as a respite from the snowy and icy conditions of winter. Summer brings its own challenges, but by taking the steps mentioned above, they can feel prepared and ready to take on the coming months.

7 Crucial Tips for Truck Tire Maintenance and Repair

Why it’s important to choose the right tires for your semi-truck

Every trucker has heard it a million times: The tires are the only part of the truck touching the road, so take care of them at all times. This advice has become so commonplace that it likely gets overlooked among the wide range of safety and performance checks drivers make each day before hitting the road.

It is imperative, though, that truckers ensure their tires work at peak performance at all times. A damaged tire presents an immediate safety concern for the driver and other motorists on the road. Let’s take a minute and look at what truck drivers should look for in their tires and the best ways to maintain them for safety and efficiency.

How to Pick the Correct Tires for Your Truck

The best tires for each driver depend on the type of truck piloted and the driver’s typical routes. Advances in tire technology continue to provide benefits, but even then, truck drivers may not be comfortable with some of the performance or cost tradeoffs that happen.

The traditional dual tire structure remains the most popular, but wide-based low-resistance tires continue to grow in popularity. As their name suggests, these tires provide less resistance than traditional tires, offering drivers improved gas mileage. When the price of diesel fuel is low, these types of tires are used less, as they need to be replaced more often; however, when the price of fuel climbs above $4 per gallon, they may become more cost-efficient over time.

How to Take Care of Your Truck Tires

No matter what type of tires you use, it is vital they work properly. Here are some tire maintenance checks all drivers should regularly make.

  1. Check air pressure.

Over- or under-inflated tires can reduce the performance of a truck and alter how it drives or reacts in an emergency. Drivers should manually check their air pressure before every trip to ensure it meets the manufacturer-designated standards. Larger fleets should consider using tire pressure monitoring systems (TMPS) and continuous tire inflation systems (CTIS) on trailers. While they bring an added cost, these systems ensure tire pressure remains safe and consistent.

  1. Check tread depth.

Along with air pressure, the depth of tire treads should be checked before every trip. The standard way is to put a penny with Lincoln upside down between the treads. If Lincoln’s face is visible, it is time for a new set.

  1. Rotate tires.

Based on where they are on a truck, tires can receive uneven wear and tear on the tread. Rotating tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles can help expand their life span. Along with rotating tires, complete a full three-axle wheel alignment as well. While these measures may seem tedious, they go a long way in keeping tires on the road.

  1. Ensure proper wheel torque.

This is easier than it sounds. Wheel torque is the simple act of adjusting the lug nuts on your wheels. Wheels that are either too tight or too loose can cause damage while driving, so take a few minutes and check each one before you start a trip.

  1. Practice good habits.

Tires are designed to perform a certain way. Driving too fast, making hard stops, or accelerating too quickly can quicken tire deterioration. Continue to drive in a safe manner that follows all road laws and best practices to protect tires and other valuable equipment.

  1. Fix problems when they happen.

For busy truckers, it can be easy to neglect small items that need fixing. Too often, these smaller problems grow into larger ones that can increase the cost of repairs. If you notice something is wrong with a tire or any part of your truck, make an effort to fix it as quickly as possible, so it does not turn into a larger problem.

  1. Stay up to date.

New information about tires and other preventative safety measures constantly change and are continually updated. Even experienced drivers need to ensure they have all the latest training and adhere to new standards and laws when driving. Drivers can never have enough training, so put yourself in a continuous learning state to enjoy long-term success.

Drivers today must work within several standards and regulations to properly operate on the road. This can feel like a lot at times. These steps are important, and taking smart care of your truck and its tires will provide sustainable financial benefits for you and your operation.

5 Tips for Winterizing Your Semi-Truck

Working as a long-haul owner/operator is a difficult, dangerous career not meant for the faint of heart. Ever-changing road and weather conditions, unfamiliar locations, 70-hour workweeks, and almost total isolation—the modern owner/operator faces unparalleled challenges day in and day out. As the winter season creeps in, drivers have their work cut out for them as they deliver all of those unbelievable Black Friday deals and Santa’s nice-list promises. With that in mind, it’s imperative that owner/operators plan ahead for the harsh winter weather and prepare their trucks for what is sure to be one of the busiest holiday seasons to date.

Here are five tips for winterizing your semi-truck to stay safe and save money while on road:

1. Inspect Your Battery

Many people don’t know this, but extreme weather can zap the charge from a vehicle’s battery. According to Farm and Dairy, “Cold temperatures wreak havoc on batteries because they slow the chemical reaction inside of the battery. Though batteries can function under myriad conditions, the cold weather tends to degrade high-quality batteries and may render subpar batteries useless.” The last thing an owner/operator needs is to wake up to a dead battery as their truck sits in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere, therefore losing valuable driving time and increasing expenses. Avoid battery problems by inspecting the battery connectors for corrosion, securing the mounts, and checking the electrical components. If the battery is over two years old, consider replacing the battery prior to peak season.

2. Install an Electric Block Heater

Diesel engines require significantly more heat to turn-over than their gasoline counterparts—the combustion range for gasoline is 700 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit while the range for diesel is 1,000 to 1,200. In cold enough temperatures, a diesel engine may struggle to turn-over, and during the most inclement winter weather, there may be no viable way for the engine to reach the necessary temperatures. This can be avoided by installing an electric block heater to keep the engine warm while the vehicle is off overnight, ensuring it rolls over on the first try regardless of the weather outside.

3. Check Your Tires

Ideally, drivers should inspect their tires religiously as tire blowouts account for roughly 6% of semi-truck accidents. The need to inspect tires increases with the colder weather as worn-out, damaged, or underinflated tires can struggle to gain traction in snow and ice, creating unsafe driving conditions. Additionally, owner/operators need to pack the correct size and number of tire chains in case their route takes them through a state where semi-trucks are required to use chains. Tire chains are an owner/operator’s best friend when driving on icy terrain; they can make all the difference between reaching your destination safely or sliding into a ditch—or worse. Stay prepared and plan ahead.

4. Inspect Your Cooling System

A semi-truck’s engine cooling system has to work overtime during the winter months. This is due to the fact that the harsh winter weather forces the engine itself to work significantly harder than in the warmer months. The cooling system should be thoroughly inspected and tested by a mechanic prior to the winter season to make sure no hoses are worn or damaged, hose clamps are tight and secure, and the radiator has no damage or leaks. If the cooling system fails, the entire engine will fail along with it, costing you precious dollars and quite possibly your deadline. The last thing an owner/operator wants is to be stranded on the side of the road with no fix other than replacing the cooling system completely.

5. Prepare an Emergency Kit

Sometimes, no matter how much you plan, or how much you prepare, you still run into the proverbial—or literal—bump in the road. If an owner/operator finds themselves stranded in harsh winter climates while in route to their destination, it can be incredibly dangerous without the necessary supplies to ensure your safety and survival. Always prepare an emergency kit to protect yourself from the weather or other threats you may face while on the road. We recommend including the following items in your emergency travel kit:

● Extra blankets
● First aid kit
● Flashlight and extra batteries
● Canned food and bottled water
● Gloves
● Scarves
● Hats
● Snow boots
● Snow shovel
● Flare and flare gun
● CB Radio
● Extra coolant, washer fluid, engine oil
● Extra fuel filter and fuel filter wrench
● Spare Diesel fuel
● Tire chains

These items will make sure you are safe, protected, and have extra supplies on-hand in case the problem can be easily solved—such as low oil levels or running out of fuel.


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