A malfunctioning truck is no longer the immense burden that it used to be. Sure, nobody wants to be inconvenienced by a breakdown or other mechanical issue, but it is far easier to deal with today than it was in the past. Technological advances have given trucks more ability to recognize what is wrong before even seeking consultation for mechanical maintenance.
For those not well-versed in fault codes, however, diagnosing a truck can be confusing. It can sometimes feel as though there are hundreds of codes for each individual system. In some cases, even the savvier users are unable to diagnose the problem, even with the most meticulous diagnostic procedures.
Most of the time, we can rely on a trusted technician to diagnose and repair any issues that beyond our capabilities. However, there are bound to be times that we have to make at least a temporary fix even if we aren’t exactly sure how to do so. In these cases, we can take a few steps to ensure that we are diagnosing the problem with as much accuracy as we can provide.
Before we can take any steps for repair, it is important to gather as much information about the problem as possible. This means talking to drivers or fleet owners who have experienced the problem and learning when it is occurring and what is happening in these instances. Keeping a log of times and places, especially for intermittent service failures, can be a major help.
Most systems on a truck will have some sort of manual with plenty of basic information, and many will even include some pretty advanced walkthroughs. If there is a software issue involved, make sure to check online for any additional information and FAQs about the program.
You should have access to wiring diagrams for system circuits, both which use shared powered and grounded connections. Become familiar with these diagrams so that you can easily check the circuits on the truck to find where there may be pinch points that might affect how the truck runs.
Heat sources can be too closely routed to the circuits which could lead to damage or overheating. There may also be water and heat guards that have sustained damage or are missing, meaning that unwanted water could cause short circuits.
If you follow all of the above steps and still can’t pinpoint the cause of the problem, you may have to physically inspect the circuits by opening up certain sections. If you are not comfortable with this it is best to see a technician, but if you move forward with it yourself, make sure you create a checklist to show where you have inspected them.
Although diagnosing your truck can be a lengthy process, you gain a lot of valuable skills that will help you well into the future. This will make you a better driver or technician in the long run.