Things to Know Before You Leave the Dealership

While good sales associates will be key in helping get your business started, they are also have a wealth of knowledge on the operation and maintenance of your truck. Take the time to ask these simple but key questions to understand the basic maintenance requirements.

How to Perform a DPF Clean

Maintaining a clear Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Some trucks do a regen while you drive, but there are times when a forced regen is required. When the DPF Indicator comes on and starts flashing, pull over safely and do a forced Regen. This will burn off the soot that builds up and turn it in to ash. Make sure you are not near a grassy area because the heat can cause a fire. If you choose to ignore the indicator, this can lead to an RPM Derate mode causing the One Box to go out. A One Box replacement can cost up to $12,000.

Click for video on how-to Examples of Freightliner and Volvo trucks.

Know Difference Between Indicator Lights

Spend the time to familiarize yourself with the key warning and indicator lights for your particular truck before they come on. Some indicators are informational and some are times sensitive, it’s important to know the difference.

ENGINE WARNING LIGHT means some condition within the engine has reached a warning level. This could be a temperature or pressure level. ENGINE SHUTDOWN LIGHT and possible warring tone is serious, stop the truck immediately. Something in the truck has gone past the warning level and is now critical. HEST (High Exhaust System Temperature Lamp) indicates a high exhaust heat and is a common warning during or after a Regen to be careful when working around your truck. WAIT TO START LAMP can come on in cold ambient temperatures. Follow instructions for your truck when starting your truck in these conditions. BULB OUT or CHECK LIGHT indicates that a headlight or parking light is out. This indicator is easily confused with a more serious indicator and can sometimes cause confusion. Some trucks like Freightliner, will display FAULT CODES when the ENGINE SHUDOWN occurs. These can be searched online for the full description.

Air Pressure

Once you crank up the truck, you will need to wait a certain amount of time to let the air pressure build up for the air breaks to operate correctly. The required amount of pressure may be different between an automatic vs. a manual transmission truck. Older trucks may have an audio indicator letting the driver know when the air presser has built up enough to safely drive. Newer trucks may just have a visual gage.

Frozen Break Drum

If the truck has been sitting for a few days or there has been rain or a temperature change, it is not uncommon for the breaks to lock up. Before taking off, make sure all 8 tires are turning a full rotation. If not, you may need to dislodge the break drum. This can be done by using a four-pound hammer on the break drum until it releases. If you are dragging a tire, it will cause a flat spot on the tire. This can be felt by a bounce in either the tractor or the trailer. When this happens, the tire will need to be replaced.