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  June 20th, 2022 | Written by

Common Causes Of Semi-Truck Breakdowns

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Those who drive semi-trucks know the importance of preparing for a breakdown while on the road. While semi truck towing is an option available at your disposal in the event of a breakdown, it is ideal that you know the most prevalent causes of semi-truck breakdowns so you can prepare accordingly.

Battery or Alternator

Your truck’s battery or alternator can be very prone to breakdowns. Fortunately, you will always notice warning signs if there are any problems with the battery or the alternator.

For instance, when you notice your light flickering while your truck is idle, you need to check your truck’s alternator or battery right away.

If you operate in cold climates, you might also notice that your vehicle can have more battery issues than usual. While most batteries have a lifespan of three to five years, they can be shortened significantly if the battery is forced to function in extremely cold climates.


Undeniably, the brakes are considered one of the most critical components of any motor vehicle. This is especially true for trucks, considering their overall weight and size. When the brakes of your semi-truck fail, it can result in catastrophic accidents that might put you and other people you encounter on the road in grave danger.

The brakes of your semi-truck are highly susceptible to damage because of the amount of friction they are exposed to. Pressure and heat can also cause the brakes to break down easily. Semi-trucks are also prone to air leaks, affecting the brake’s ability to function properly.


Tire problems rank high in the list of problems semi-truck drivers have to deal with. Tire problems can also happen often if they are not maintained properly. Regular wear and tear can also do significant damage to any vehicle, including semi-trucks. Generally, a flat tire on a regular automobile is not a big deal.

All you need to do is park on the side and fix it accordingly. However, semi-trucks are a different story. One flat tire on your semi-truck can already cause dramatic postponement and might keep you off schedule for many hours. Unfortunately, many truck drivers
consider tire problems one of the most common issues they encounter on the road.

To ensure you don’t experience any tire mishaps while on the road, make it a point to check your tires regularly. If it is something you can’t confidently do, invest in the help of a local truck repair specialist. They can help ensure your tires are adequately inflated and properly aligned before you hit the road.


While obvious, this is still worth mentioning. Even if your truck is built solidly and is very dependable, years of wear and tear can have a massive impact on its ability to perform efficiently. If you are driving an outdated truck, there is a high probability that it will break down when you least expect it—even if it has been running smoothly for days.

To avoid any inconvenience while on the road, it would be best to maintain your truck properly and regularly. The more upkeep you do, the fewer chances that you will experience problems while on the road. Regular and proper upkeep can also help ensure you keep costly repairs in the future at bay.


If your diesel engine is an older model, they are more prone to engine problems. This is especially true if they are not given standard and regular maintenance. One of the most common signs of a problematic engine is getting less mileage than normal. You might also notice that your truck becomes incapable of reaching the same speeds.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to avoid semi-truck breakdowns while on the road would be to have your trucks maintained properly. This should include pre-trip, en-route, and post-trip  inspections. Having annual DOT inspections done is also recommended. While the risk of
breakdown is not inevitable, with proper maintenance you can minimize it significantly.

About the Author

Jeremy Keller leads the Content Marketing team for Elite Towing, a locally-owned, family-run business in Casa Grande, AZ that provides high quality towing services to both residential and commercial customers. He enjoys photography and doing drone videographies in his spare time.