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What To Do When Your Truck Rig Breaks Down?

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By Carol Trehearn

To handle big rig breakdown is a very important thing. As a professional driver, you can face mechanical failure or big rig breakdown and may experience it now or later. We cannot predict breakdown situation in advance and when it will happen it will annoy you for sure. In trucking career these facts of life are inevitable.


To handle a big rig breakdown like a pro, you have to keep several things in mind.

Be prepared

As a part of your trip plan, make sure that all resources and facilities are available to handle breakdowns and repair facilities at safe spots. Make sure that there is availability of resources as food and repair in case of mechanical failures. Plan well for the emergencies as it is always better to be prepared instead of getting stuck waiting for repair service.

Reducing the odds

While trucks with 1st gen cummins have a durable rig there can be chances of a failure. However, you can reduce the odds of breakdown through pre-checks, post-trip checks and on route checks of the vehicle. Always prefer to do these checkups in the daylight whenever possible. It is common to overlook some troubles due to flashlight at night time. If you break down in unsavory conditions or bad weather, don’t panic; make smart decisions to save your life.

How to stay safe when broken down?

Inattentive driving is one of the most common causes of this kind of break down. Break down of the rig towards the shoulder can be dangerous; it is best to stay in the vehicle to avoid getting stuck in massive traffic.

What to do when your truck malfunctions?

• Turn flashers on and monitor the traffic behind your vehicle while using the mirrors. Go for the widest pullover spot that you notice.

• Ease off the road if possible and once parking is done on the safe side, get out of the truck and set your flares or triangles behind the truck at 50’-100’-150’ intervals.

• Tilting open the hood is a good way to indicate that your vehicle is broken down and you cannot move on fast.

• Try to determine what the problem is, whether you can repair it by yourself or you need roadside assistance.

Common truck breakdowns are due to faulty units or emission in equipment. If you are a company driver, inform your dispatch that you broke down and call for assistance. Carry a few basic instruments to handle simple repairs by yourself.

Handy supplies to handle big rig breakdown

The basic items you should carry in your toolkit to plan your trip are as follows:

• full wrench set

• electrical tape

• air to air strength hose clamps

• plastic zip locks

• extra coolant

• flares

• fully charged fire extinguisher

• A screwdriver set

• spare headlights

• bulbs

• few circuit breakers

• full set of warm clothing

• sleeping bag and/or heavy blankets

• cell phone

It is always better to be prepared and safe during a breakdown. Always keep the safety in mind, even during a breakdown, as it is the most important part of professional driving.

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