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What Are the Most Common Problems With Commercial Trucks?

Posted on February 21, 2023 in Truck Accidents

Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of fatal traffic accidents in the U.S. each year. Most of these accidents are preventable and arise from problems with the truck or truck driver. Analyzing the most common problems that occur with commercial trucks can help prevent these catastrophes in the future.

Common failure points for 18 wheelers

Brake Failure

Semi-trucks are unique in that they use compressed air brakes instead of brake fluid. Commercial trucks must rely on air due to their weight. Compressed air can be constantly produced, unlike hydraulic fluid which could leak. However, this does not mean large truck brakes are without potential problems.

Many things could go wrong with a commercial truck’s brakes, resulting in dangerous brake failure. Misaligned brake linings, damaged brake pads, used or worn brakes, lack of brake maintenance, water in the braking system, and dirt or debris in the brakes could all cause brake failure while a truck is in transit.

Engine Overheating

A variety of issues could result in an overheated truck engine. Common problems are defective or leaky radiators, fuel tank problems, a faulty water pump, and engine component damage. An overheated engine could cause engine failure, which may ultimately lead to a truck accident. Other engine problems can also potentially cause an accident, such as blown gaskets or U-joint failure.

Starter Problems

A big rig’s starter mechanism is what allows the engine to start and continue running. Poor truck maintenance could lead to starter problems, such as issues with the starter motor. A faulty starter means the engine won’t turn over, which could leave a truck driver stranded. This issue can often be prevented with proper inspections and maintenance checks to catch the signs of a starter motor problem early.

Tire Blowouts

A commercial truck is only as safe as its tires – where the truck meets the road. Unfortunately, tire defects and poor fleet maintenance often lead to devastating tire blowouts. A tire blowout means that the tire explodes, which can cause the driver to lose control of the truck. Tire blowouts can also cause truck rollover accidents. Common causes of tire blowouts are overinflation or underinflation, old and worn-out tires, worn-down tread, and misaligned axles. Tires with manufacturer defects are also more likely to pop and explode.

Electrical Issues

Electrical malfunctions on the road can be dangerous for a commercial truck. These issues can cause the headlights to shut off at an inopportune moment, for example, or even spark an engine fire. Preventative maintenance and replacing old parts with new ones can help prevent dangerous electrical issues.

Oil Leaks

If a truck has an oil leak, this could cause a loss of lubrication in key areas of the truck’s engine. A lack of oil could cause extra friction in a truck, which could cause these parts to age prematurely and fail. As with most commercial truck problems, routine maintenance can help prevent issues and uncover minor problems before they become major.

Legal Help for a Truck Accident Caused by a Part Breakdown

It is the responsibility of the person or entity that owns the truck to properly maintain the vehicle. If a preventable equipment breakdown or truck part problem caused your truck accident in Los Angeles, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the trucking company or owner/operator. You may also be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of a defective truck part. Contact a truck accident attorney to investigate your case and explore your legal rights.