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What is the basic maintenance schedule for trucks?

looking for basic preventative maintenance schedule

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Maintenance Schedule-

5th wheel grease - should be checked for every load,

air compressor - emtpy water after every trip (water may form ice causing brake malfunction, water may rust inside of tank - pressure increases rate of rust),

chassis grease - ?,

hub oil - ?,

axle grease - ?,


pads - must be changed if less than 1/4 inch thick,

lubricant - lubricant should be filled every 3 months,

slack adjusters - checked every 6mo, if out of adjustment must be fixed by certified mechanic,


miles - change according to oil manufacturer or engine manufacturer specifications,

sample - if bypass filter installed change when test requires change,

power steering fluid - ?,


steer tires - change every 100,000 mi,

drive tires - ?,

tire pressure - check at least weekly,

APU - ?,

shock absorbers - ?,

air bags - ?,


coolant - 150,000 mi or by testing as needed (leaks should be fixed asap. large leaks kill mpg by engine overheating. small leaks kill mpg because system needs pressure to function correctly),

air dryer - service every two years,

transmission fluid - change every 250,000 mi,

diesel particulate filter - clean around 250,000 mi indicator light should come on,

differential oil - change every 500,000 mi,

radiator hoses - change every 600,000 mi,

fuel lines - change every 800,000 mi,

in-frame engine service - 1,000,000 mi


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Typically your truck should be serviced every 10,000 miles at that time a lot of the stuff you have listed can be looked over. I will try and address each item as you have them listed as far as I service my truck.

5TH WHEEL..grease when you see the plate changing from tacky grease to more of a solid. I won't hurt to grease every week but can become messy if you apply too much.

DRAIN AIR TANKS...even if you have a air dryer it's good to install drain valves with pull cables if you don't already have them and give them a pull at least once a week.

CHASSIS GREASE...If you are changing your oil at 10,000 this is usually when it is done. I like to grease the U Joints every week or every other week. If you are paying to have this done they should also check your hub oil, transmission and rear end lube levels at this time. If your not sure ask them!!!

BRAKE SHOES.....Usually have a recess on the edge of the shoe pad that is a indicator of brake pad wear. When it gets down to this area it is good to start planning to replace your brake shoes.

SLACK long as they are getting greased properly they usually last a long time. Only replace if they won't maintain the proper brake adjustment automatically. If they're manual adjusters it will be obvious when you try and adjust your brakes if they are stripped out or frozen up.

ENGINE OIL CHANGE...This can vary, some people change their oil every 10,000 miles and then some people try to extend their oil change interval on out to 20,000-30,000 miles. If you try and do this it's important that you sample your oil every 10,000 miles so that you can see how dirty the oil is getting. Fuel soot is what makes your oil dirty and this is one of many readings that you get on a oil sample report. Many drivers now run Bypass Filters to keep their oil clean and are able to extend their oil change intervals on out to 150,000- 200,000 miles and even more. Kevin talks about this a lot on his show.

POWER STEERING FLUID...I change my filter and oil every 2 years and use engine oil to refill. I also know drivers that never touch this and have gone for 500,000 miles with no troubles..Better safe than sorry.

STEERING TIRES...have wear indicators in the tire tread. Good practice to look at them daily and to run your hand across and around them to see if you feel any irregular wear or bumps or dips in the tread. Wear limit on steer tire is a tread depth of 4/32s. Tire shop has a gauge to check this or you can buy one at Auto Zone.

DRIVE TIRES...Same as above...look for funny wear patterns also check air pressures weekly or bi-weekly..I run 125psi in mine. Wear limits on tread are 2/32s for drives. Generally speaking you should get 100,000-150-000 miles on your steers and anywhere from 250,000-400,00 miles on drives depending on what your running. It's a good practice to have a front end alignment when you replace steering tires and a 3 axle alignment when you replace your drives. CHECK YOUR AIR PRESSURE AND ROTATE DRIVES ONCE A YEAR

SHOCK ABSORBERS....replace steer shock at the time you replace steer tires and the same with drive shocks. Replace any shock if you ever see oil leakage around shock body.

AIR BAGS....Only if they are leaking...will usually get small pin holes at the base of them where they roll down over the base.

APU......what ever the manufacture recommendation is.

COOLANT...Check with meter for proper concentration and chemical test at oil change or service. Add Nalcool to recharge chemical package....will usually go 300,000 miles or longer. Check regularly.

Leaks should be fixed but don't affect MPG. Pressure in cooling system allows coolant to run hotter with out boiling. Water boils at 180 degrees and under pressure will go to 240-250 degrees.

AIR DRYER....I don't mess with till it starts acting up. Leaking air or not purging properly.

TRANSMISSION/REAR ENDS...Service at 500,000 miles if your running synthetic oil.

RADIATOR HOSES......Look for dry rot and cracking. Feel the hoses to see if they are still pliable, replace anything that appears swollen.

FUEL LINES....500,000 Is a good recommendation.

ENGINE INFRAME....Depends on oil consumption or wear metals that show up in oil sample. Engine will start using oil as it wears. One gallon every 2500-5000 miles start saving you money.

I hope this information helps you in some way, like I said these are the Rules of Thumb I follow, others may have different ideas. Main thing is that you get familiar with your truck and learn to do as much as you can...I would said Jacky is a good example to follow as a female in this business. Good Luck.

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I agree with everything Blackwood said. Here are some of the things I do different (from what is common in this industry) to extend the life and save money.

Grease: I have an auto lube system that includes the fifth wheel, I do the drive and steering u-joints every other week.

Engine oil: I have the OPS bypass filter, change filter and sample every 15,000 miles. Change oil only when sample gets dirty, I have made it to 235,000 miles once. I change the full flow filter on the engine every 50,000.

Transmission and Differentials: I sample every 50,000. I used to change at 500,000, but now with regular samples for 300,000 miles, I might extend that until the sample has some reason to change.

Air Filters: I have the Fleet Air Filter that I wash and re oil every 50,000 miles.

Fuel Filters: I have the FASS system with 2 filters on it plus 1 more filter on the side of the engine, most the time I make it to 50,000 miles and change all 3. I have a fuel pressure gauge in the dash, and if that drops below 60psi I change them early.

Coolant: I run the extended life coolant and sample every 50,000. They say it's good for 750,000 but as long as the sample is clean I don't change it.

Air Dryer: I live in MN and just as a precaution service mine every fall.

Tires: I rotate every 50,000 miles.

As you can see most my services are at 50,000 miles, I do half of them every 25,000 myself. The new OPS has a larger filter (I have the old one) that goes 25,000 miles before changes, that would put all service at the 25,000 miles except greasing u-joints.

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Thanks for the info.

Grease builds up on my slack adjusters and other places. Is it ok to pressure wash it clean before new grease applied? Any potential problems to look out far?

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No point in washing. Wipe the grease fitting clean and pump fresh grease till it pushes out clean. Wipe off the dirty grease that was pushed out.


Thanks for the help.


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I use a pressure washer to keep the under carriage, engine , and frame rails clean. I wash the cab and sleeper by hand and use a soft brush on the paint.

I was taught that keeping the drive components reasonably clean helps not only in visual inspection, but helps reduce down time.

Also, any new leaks or problems are real easy to spot or trace.

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The best "basic" maintenance schedule is the one put out by the maker of your equipment. I have yet to see an owners manual for trucks and engines that did not have a recommended maintenance schedule listed somewhere in it.

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What about air bags? i just popped a hole in the top of 1 (8 bag suspension) an replaced that one and the one on the other side. my bags were all still original and almost 14 years old. after changing just those 2 (rear most) the ride feels a lot better and the truck seems to sit a bit higher. i think i'll do the rest as well and it probably would not be bad to change all of them at once at some interval since they seem to get weak over time and show signs of dry rotting.

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In a severe duty application (pulling a hopper bottom, end dump or live bottom OR operating in a dusty environment), Perform everything Blackwood777 said, with the following changes... (Here's what I do on my 1994 Volvo WhiteGMC WIA64T ES)...

5th wheel grease: every time you change trailers unless you have an auto lube system.

Grease the chassis, u-joints, hubs and slack adjusters, refill the rear ends and transmission: every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Wash off the chassis before you do this. If you pull an end dump, also add hydraulic oil to the oil tank at this time so your PTO stays lubricated.

Engine oil: top off as needed, change every 7,500 to 10,000 if you use conventional oil. If you use full synthetic oil and a bypass filter, perform a oil analysis every 10,000-15,000, and change the oil and filter element at approximately 100,000 miles or once a year.

Power Steering Fluid: SEE OWNER'S MANUAL. Recommended every oil change, use the type listed in the owner's manual. For a Volvo WIA64T ES, it's Ford Type F ATF. For most newer trucks, it's Ford Mercon III or Mercon IV ATF.

Air system: Drain the air tanks daily when you do your post-trip. Service the air dryer cartridge at least yearly, or see your owner's manual.

Tires: Check for rocks, dented rims, excessive wear and punctures during your daily pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Also check your tire pressure at least once a week if not daily.

Shocks: Test them by driving a few miles and seeing if they become warm. If they do, you're OK. If they don't, replace them ASAP. Change them when you replace steer tires, if they start leaking, or if they are cold to the touch after testing them out.

Fuel Filters: Every 6 months or 50,000 miles (if you have FASS or a disposable separator).

Paper Air Filters: Change Donaldson and Baldwin paper air filters at least once a year, and blow them out using an air hose when they get dirty or the "restriction gauge" goes into the red zone. The restriction gauge is NOT a good guide to when the filter needs attention, so a good visual inspection of the filter- once every 3 months or at every oil service- is a must. Consider a Fleet Air Filter or a K&N air filter to replace these.

Fleet Air Filters or K&N Filters: Clean and lubricate them at their prescribed interval (approximately every 50,000 miles). Follow the instructions that came with the filter.

Your Owner's Manual, Service Manual and Driver's Manual have more details. You need to use the information in those manuals as a base line to determine what works best for YOU and your operation.

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danae will be eternally grateful.
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