Compared to standard passenger vehicles, semi-trucks are more mechanically complex—which can increase their risk of problems on the road. Fortunately, with foresight and maintenance, drivers can avoid the need for expensive semi-truck repairs, as well as inconvenient and dangerous breakdowns. To help you get behind the wheel with confidence, here are three common issues truckers run into with their big rigs—and how you can avoid them.

What Are the Most Frequently Needed Semi-Truck Repairs? 

1. Faulty Brakes

Carrying heavy freights at high speeds, semi-trucks require complex brake systems operated by compressed air to maintain reliable stopping power. But over time, with ongoing friction and corrosion, these systems can experience damage that impedes or prevents safe braking abilities.

Since minor brake problems can often advance into more serious damage, you should check your brake systems before every trip. Specifically, inspect shoes, hoses, drums, and cables to detect and address common brake issues, such as air leaks or corroding parts. You can also help prevent excessive wear by setting the brake adjuster correctly.

2. Electrical System Interruptions

semi-truck repairsBad alternators, faulty wiring, and drained batteries are all common reasons why your semi-truck may not get all the power it needs to keep the electrical system in good shape. In minor cases, electrical issues may cause your lights to flicker, impair cooling and heating systems, and make it more difficult to turn the engine over. Severe issues, on the other hand, can prevent your vehicle from starting, leaving you stranded and in need of a jump-start or tow.

Relatively speaking, semi-truck batteries are fairly inexpensive components, so always replace them at the first sign of trouble, like flickering lights. If replacing the battery doesn’t resolve your electrical troubles, ask a semi-truck repair specialist if there are other components that need servicing, such as the alternator or wiring.

3. Overheating Engines  

Responsible for several crucial mechanical processes, engines produce a lot of heat. A functional semi-truck will be able to keep the engine cool with help from the radiator. However, drivers often run into radiator problems that result in engine overheating and eventual failure.

If you want to avoid costly engine repairs, always make sure radiator fluids are at an acceptable level, and keep an eye on the temperature gauge. If the temperature gauge keeps rising, have a semi-truck repair professional check for radiator issues that need to be addressed.


When big rig breakdowns keep you from doing your work, contact Northwest Truck Repair in Kalispell, MT, to get you back on the road. Providing comprehensive semi-truck repair services in the Flathead Valley region, these skilled mechanics can reliably detect and resolve issues affecting the engine, transmission, brakes, and electrical system. For direct assistance, call the shop at (406) 755-9762.