Truck Repairs on the Road: Many Breakdowns Do Not Require a Tow Truck

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Martin*, an owner operator truck driver, could tell his alternator was going out, but he couldn’t afford the time to take it in to his local Kenworth dealer. Neither could he afford the $100 per hour labor it would have cost. Instead, he ignored the problem, thinking he could hold out until after his truck payment and insurance were paid. Unfortunately, the alternator wouldn’t wait. cek ongkir Indah Cargo

After jumpstarting his truck a few times, trying to stretch it out, finally the jumps stopped working and Martin was forced to call a tow truck to get the alternator replaced. With mileage, parts and labor, the total bill was nearly a thousand dollars.

Many Repairs Can be Done by the Truck Driver

Major repairs, such as bad rings or valves, will often require towing to a certified truck mechanic, but others, like changing out an alternator, fuel pump, bad hose, etc, can easily be done on the side of the road, if the driver knows what he’s doing.

The key to being able to fix minor problems is two-fold. First, have the training and experience to be able to diagnose the problem and repair it. Second, have the tools and parts onboard that will likely be needed. These two things take preparation.

Sample OnBoard Kit

Every truck driver or mechanic has his favorite “collection” to carry. Richard Linehan is a 20-year veteran of truck driving, and certified mechanic. This is his list:


Tool Box:

  • Socket Sets: standard and metric – 3/8” to ½” drives w/3/8” to 1” sockets
  • Crescent and Box-end Wrenches: 3/8”, ½” and 1”
  • Phillips-head Screwdriver Set
  • 6-head Screwdriver Set (metric)
  • Electrical Check Light
  • Electrical Contact Gel
  • Battery Brush
  • Grease Tubes and Gun
  • Extra Work Gloves (2 pair)
  • Oil Filter Wrench
  • Fuel Filter Wrench (may or may not be same as oil filter wrench).


  • Water Hoses of each size in truck – 3”, 2”, 1”, ½”
  • Metal Hoses (air lines) X2
  • Fuel Lines X2
  • Clamps – 5”, 4”, 3”
  • Kit of Smaller Clamps
  • Electrical Kit with Extra Fuses
  • 4 Relays – for the specific make/model of the truck – one replacement for each set of relays
  • 2 Head Lights – 1 High, 1 Low
  • 2 Brake Lights
  • 2 Clearance Lights
  • Extra Rubber Garments for emergency airlines and release air lines (a.k.a. gladhand rubber)
  • Extra Brake Cans – 1 for truck, 1 for trailer
  • Assorted Nuts and Washers – metric and standard
  • By-pass Kit for Air Filter Pump (It’s typically a $2.50 kit that can save a $250 road call).

Again, this list is what one trucker carried as an owner operator. While this set up saved Mr. Linehan a few thousand dollars in diesel repairs, each driver will have his own preference. Like a first aid kit, this list can be adjusted to the needs of any individual, limited only by preference, skill, cost and the room to store it.

While some items may not be convenient to carry all the time, there are some problems that show signs before becoming critical. For instance, a bad alternator will fail to charge the battery. The attentive driver will notice a weak battery and have time to purchase an alternator and perform the repair himself.

Drivers should NOT attempt to repair their trucks if they are not qualified. Proper training is essential to ensure safe, thorough and reliable repairs. And always, drivers need to take the proper precautions for their own safety and the safety of those around them.

*While “Martin” is a fictional character, the situation is an accurate portrayal of an all-too-common occurrence.


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