Major Causes of Semi Tractor Breakdowns

Major Causes of Semi Tractor Breakdowns

Having to wait for roadside assistance when your truck breaks down is indeed a great hassle. Not only will this disrupt your business operations, but it can cost you a significant amount of sum as well. When you already frequently experience an equipment breakdown, then perhaps it is the perfect time for you to consider going for an upgrade.

If you are looking to replace your big rig, you can head over to your local dealer or source out your options online. This is where you will find both new and used semi tractor for sale at a reasonable cost. Now, to ensure that you won’t get surprised by a sudden truck breakdown, it is best to take a closer look at what are the most common causes of this road mishap for you to avoid it as much as possible.


How old is your truck? If you have been with your semi-tractor for quite some time already, then you could anticipate a breakdown sooner or later. No matter how well maintained your truck is, when it reaches its service life, it will already fail to go.

Engine and Fuel Systems

Contemporary engine models are not only environment-friendly, but they are built to last as well. On the contrary, older engine models can give you a headache once they are overused because they are more prone to breakdowns in this case. Alongside this, a fuel system that is running out of fuel can also be a cause of your equipment breakdown. Even running out of diesel exhaust fluid can be a problem if overlooked.


Some statistics show that tires are known as the most common cause of truck breakdowns. Apart from the natural wear and tear of the tires, poor maintenance can also lead to serious problems if not promptly corrected. In parallel to this, most tires fail because of under inflation, low tread depth, or misaligned axles.

Under inflation can cause excessive heat build-up in the sidewall of the tires. Conversely, a low tread depth makes your tires more susceptible to punctures and other road damages. Misaligned axles only accelerate the wear and tear of your tires. In this case, it is a good idea to conduct a pre-trip inspection of your tires at all times.


It is often the case that normal corrosion causes brake failure. However, there are other unseen issues that may cause the same problem. For instance, air pressure leakage, oil passing from a compressor, brake system pressure and timing imbalance, as well as internal water contamination that can cause your air line to freeze up during the cold season, can all lead to brake failures.

If not caught immediately, not only will a brake failure get you to experience a truck breakdown, but it can even lead you to an even worse situation. Thus, it is best to ensure appropriate maintenance by inducing regular and consistent brake inspections especially since your truck’s disc and drum brakes are constantly exposed to heat, pressure, and friction.

Electrical Systems

Another common cause of truck breakdowns are issues with its electrical systems. This system encompasses your truck’s starter motor, alternator, as well as its battery. Even the smallest electrical system failure can cause significant damage to your big rig. However, it can be quite difficult to detect minor electrical issues, leading them to blow up even before they are addressed accordingly. 

Thereby, when you see common signs such as corroded battery connections, dead batteries, as well as dim or flickering lights, then it is a good idea to check your electrical system. In addition to this, when you encounter strong and unusual odors, as well as clicking sounds when you start your truck’s engine, then it is noteworthy to take a closer look at your truck’s electrical system.

Refrigerated Trailers

If you ship freight that needs to be in a temperature-controlled environment, then you need to use a reefer unit or a refrigerated trailer. However, a reefer breakdown is also considered as a truck breakdown and this should be addressed promptly to ensure that the goods you need to deliver are in their best condition. It is also necessary for you to monitor any in-cab signals that may indicate that the reefer is not working as it should be.


There are many reasons why your truck may be towed but it is often the case that towing can also lead to your truck breakdown. Not only is towing expensive but more often than not, your truck will also end up at a repair shop.

Final Word

It can be quite inconvenient to experience a big equipment breakdown. However, there are instances wherein it is inevitable because of the age of your truck, or the common wear and tear on its engine, tires, and brakes. Add to this faulty electrical systems and issues on your refrigerated trailers. Nevertheless, there are several things that you can do to mitigate a semi-tractor breakdown although you need to exert the extra effort for it.

Joie Mojica

Joie is the passionate writer and blogger of She enjoys writing and works at an amazing pace. Blessed with two adorable boys, she dreams of creating a successful career online. She also loves to write about parenting, home and family life, technology and gaming, as well as beauty and health.

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