Common Peterbilt Truck Breakdowns & Repair Tips

Peterbilt Truck Breakdowns

If you own a Peterbilt truck, you should always be mindful of its maintenance. Unexpected issues can cause major problems to ultimately sideline you and your Peterbilt truck. This is why we thought of sharing a list of the most common Peterbilt truck breakdowns and repair tips with you. 

A Malfunctioning Alternator & Dead Battery

As your engine runs, your alternator will charge your battery and power your Peterbilt’s various electrical systems. If this alternator fails or malfunctions, your Peterbilt will be operating based on the power stored in your battery. Most trucks will be able to drive for 45 minutes or so before breaking down. If you suddenly lose power and come to a stop, you most likely have a worn alternator. 

If your Peterbilt simply won’t start, chances are you have an issue with your battery. Batteries do age and become less effective; under regular usage, they generally fail every five years. Extremes of heat or cold, as well as regularly draining and recharging the battery, may speed up this process. To aid in avoiding this issue:

  • Regularly check the battery terminals to ensure they are tight and corrosion-free. Battery terminal protection spray is often available at truck parts shops, but you may also use petroleum jelly or a dab of grease in its place.
  • Keep the battery's top dry and spotless.
  • Take your Peterbilt truck for a lengthy journey sometimes to assist the alternator in completely charging the battery if you usually make short excursions and start the Peterbilt truck.
  • Before attempting to start the engine, make sure that all electrical devices (lights, heater blower, rear defroster, etc.) are off.
  • Every so often, check the alternator belt's tightness.
  • Have the battery checked as soon as a problem arises, such as a delayed start or dim headlights. Regardless, test it at least once a year.

A flat tire or further wheel/tire damage

It is difficult to prevent every flat tire brought on by errant road debris. However, with the right safeguards, you may prevent early wear, blowouts, and the tire from falling off the bead. To aid in preventing these issues:

  • Regularly check the tire pressure and overall condition.
  • Make sure you always have a spare tire ready to go. 
  • Set the tire pressures to the suggested "full-load" levels if you're hauling a lot more weight, and restore them to normal once you've unloaded.
  • When parking or driving, if a wheel "curbs," be sure to examine the tire and wheel as quickly as you can.
  • Think about bringing some tire "quick repair" foam with you.
  • Make sure the jack, lug wrench, and (if necessary) the equipment for locking wheel nuts are in the Peterbilt truck and that you are familiar with their usage.

A Malfunctioning Starter Motor

Some Peterbilt trucks struggle to reach 50,000 miles, while others can go up to 250.000 miles without a starting issue. One of the most common reasons why your truck isn’t starting is a bad starter motor in your Peterbilt. The starting motor may be failing if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • When attempting to start the engine, there are metallic grinding sounds.
  • You attempt to turn the engine on, but it turns more slowly than normal (which might also indicate a battery problem).
  • When the key is turned to the "start" position, the engine doesn't start, but a click can be heard from below (which might also indicate a battery problem).

Using the incorrect kind of fuel or running out of fuel

It is difficult to totally prevent running out of diesel, which happens to everyone at some point in their life. Although it happens seldom, sometimes a diesel-powered Peterbilt truck may simply run out of diesel. If you take the following steps, you can easily prevent both of these issues:

  • Before every lengthy trip and before it becomes chilly and dark outdoors, fill up on petrol.
  • If you are in an unknown region, keep an eye on your diesel gauge and fill it up before the warning light turns on.
  • When the gauge reaches 1/4 tank, if you're driving on a remote road with few gas stations, you may want to stop at any station you come across.
  • Make sure you are aware of the kind and grade of diesel required whether you are operating a new Peterbilt truck, a rented Peterbilt truck, or a borrowed Peterbilt truck.

Damaged clutch cables

This only applies to Peterbilt trucks with manual transmissions, and even some of them use hydraulic clutches rather than cable-operated ones. The clutch cannot be disengaged if the clutch cable breaks. Don't worry; you should still be able to push the shifter into neutral and roll to a halt without suffering any harm. When having your oil changed, and tires rotated, ensure sure the clutch cable is inspected and greased to prevent problems. There are many warning indicators of an impending issue:

  • When you depress the clutch pedal, the clutch "feels odd" or requires extra effort.
  • When in its relaxed posture, the pedal seems to be either higher or lower than usual.
  • When shifting gears, the gears grind, which can indicate that a stretched cable isn't disengaging correctly.

Defective Glow Plugs

Glow plugs are designed to heat the air and diesel fuel mixture that enters your combustion chamber to encourage combustion. If these plugs fail, you may have a hard time starting your Peterbilt truck. This is especially true if it’s very cold outside. Do keep in mind that your engine can start without glow plugs, it’s just a lot more difficult. 

Final words

As the owner of a Peterbilt truck, you may keep these in mind and work on the truck accordingly. This will help you to keep your truck up and running on the road without giving you any issues at all. 

More articles

Common Mistakes In Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel System Maintenance And Repair

Common Mistakes In Heavy-Duty Truck Fuel System Maintenance And Repair

Explore the crucial dos and don'ts of heavy-duty truck fuel system maintenance. Learn from RPD Services about common mistakes to avoid, the importance of advanced fuel filtration, and expert tips for optimal performance. Ensure your fleet runs efficiently and reliably with our proven insights and comprehensive maintenance solutions.

Behind the Scenes: The Role of Regular Inspections in Heavy-Duty Diesel Truck Health

Behind the Scenes: The Role of Regular Inspections in Heavy-Duty Diesel Truck Health

Explore the vital role of regular inspections in maintaining heavy-duty diesel trucks' health. Uncover the significance of compliance with FMCSA standards, preparing for roadside inspections, and leveraging technology for efficient maintenance. Elevate your fleet's safety and compliance with RPD Services' comprehensive solutions.

Brake Fade In Heavy Duty Trucks

Common Causes Of Brake Fade In Heavy Duty Trucks And How To Prevent Them

Brake failure in heavy-duty trucks is a serious safety concern. This article examines the causes of brake fade and provides prevention tips.

Heavy Duty Truck Engines

Impact Of Idling On Heavy Duty Truck Engines And How To Minimize It

Idling is a major issue in heavy-duty truck engines. It affects performance, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs. This article explores the impact of idling on truck engines and offers tips to minimize it for better efficiency.

Using The Correct Oil And Fluids In Heavy Duty Truck

Importance Of Using The Correct Oil And Fluids In Heavy Duty Truck Maintenance And Repairs

Discover the importance of referring to the user manual for your heavy-duty truck. Learn about the correct oils and fluids essential for optimal performance. Gain insights into the reasons behind consulting the manual and ensuring proper maintenance. Read on to understand the significance of following manufacturer guidelines for your truck's longevity and efficiency.

Heavy-Duty Truck Inspection Service

Why You Need Regular Heavy-Duty Truck Inspection Service

Regular heavy-duty truck inspection service is essential for ensuring that your truck is running at its best and for preventing costly repairs down the road. Here are some of the reasons why you need regular heavy-duty truck inspection service.

Heavy-Duty Truck Axle Repair

6 Common Indicators That Your Heavy-Duty Truck Needs Axle Repair

Regular maintenance is crucial for heavy-duty trucks, including their axles. Here are 6 signs your truck needs axle repair, a vital component of the transmission and drivetrain system.

Winter Truck Maintenance: 8 Tips To Prepare Your Truck For Winter

Winter Truck Maintenance: 8 Tips To Prepare Your Truck For Winter

Here, we'll look at some of the best winter truck maintenance advice to keep you and your truck safe and functional through severe winter weather.

Mechanic performing repairs at RPD Services

Top 5 Expensive Heavy-Duty Truck Repair Mistakes: How to Avoid Them

Heavy-duty truck repair mistakes that are done incorrectly, either by you or by a technician, will cost you a lot of money. Below are five frequent heavy-duty truck repair errors and solutions to remedy them.