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Diesel truck maintenance checklist for 2024

Diesel trucks are the workhorses of the transportation industry, critical for delivering consumer goods and commercial products across the country. Keeping these heavy-duty vehicles in peak operating condition involves diligent, proactive maintenance.

Diesel truck checklists detail fluid checks, brake tests, filter replacements, and other vital upkeep to minimize breakdowns, maximize efficiency and lifespan, and sustain safe, emissions-compliant operations. Adhering to manufacturer and dealership recommendations for diesel truck maintenance also allows commercial fleets to take advantage of the latest advancements in diesel engine and emissions technologies coming online in new 2024 truck models.

This article will act as a guide that will highlight the full scope of all semi truck maintenance checklists and the importance of leveraging emerging technologies in ongoing fleet management. And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Truck fleet maintenance management’ series:

What is fleet maintenance?

Fleet maintenance involves the rigorous preventative upkeep of commercial trucking assets through regular inspections and servicing to achieve reliable, cost-effective operations.

Thorough vehicle inspections should be conducted before each use to check critical components. Additional monthly fleet inspections review deeper mechanical systems and maintenance records for full fleet oversight.

Following consistent truck inspection checklists as part of a comprehensive program maximizes commercial fleet safety, durability and productivity.

Daily/weekly tasks 

  • Check engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid levels
  • Inspect tires for wear and pressure
  • Check lights: headlights, turn signals, brake lights
  • Test brake operation
  • Check windshield wipers, washer fluid

The most frequent maintenance tasks for diesel trucks should be done on a daily or weekly basis to spot potential issues before they lead to bigger problems.

Checking fluid levels for the engine oil, coolant, transmission, brake, and power steering systems allows drivers to top them off or seek repairs from leaks that could leave trucks stranded if they suddenly run too low.

Closely monitoring tire inflation and tread wear is also critical for preventing blowouts and improving fuel efficiency from proper tire contact and rolling resistance.

Lights like headlamps, turn signals, brake and marker lights often have quick fixes that could prevent an inspection citation.

Brake tests feel for adequate pedal pressure and stopping efficacy to avoid an unexpected failure. Lastly, inspecting windshield wipers and washer enables optimal visibility, allowing truckers to maintain sightlines in all weather on the roads.

Creating a daily fleet vehicle inspection checklist in order to catch small maintenance needs early keeps diesel trucks running safely and efficiently for the daily grind.

Monthly tasks

  • Inspect belts and hoses for wear/damage
  • Check battery terminals and cables
  • Lubricate chassis and suspension
  • Check air filter, replace as needed
  • Check wheel bearings, CV joints, u-joints

Monthly maintenance checks allow for inspection of deeper systems to catch issues before they cause breakdowns.

Thoroughly checking belts and hoses takes little time but prevents road calls from ruptured components. Inspecting battery cables and terminals can reveal corrosion that leads to hard starting; cleaning them monthly ensures consistent cranking power.

Lubricating chassis components like ball joints, tie rods, and bushings reduces friction for smooth suspension operation to improve ride quality and control.

Clogged air filters restrict vital engine airflow leading to decreased power and efficiency. Replacing them routinely maintains filtration while optimizing combustion.

Finally, scrutinizing wheel ends components like wheel bearings, CV joints and U-joints monthly catches tiny cracks or play that signals impending failure down the road.

Being diligent on monthly preventative maintenance pays off in reliable service from large diesel trucks over the long haul. Catching small issues early through system inspections ensures critical truck uptime while avoiding being stranded with a catastrophic breakdown.

Annual/biannual tasks

  • Change engine oil and filters
  • Replace fuel filters
  • Flush and replace coolant
  • Replace air dryer desiccant
  • Load test battery and replace as needed
  • Check exhaust system for leaks/damage
  • Rotate tires
  • Inspect brake linings/pads, replace as needed

An annual and biannual semi truck preventive maintenance checklist involve more extensive care to keep these hardworking vehicles in peak condition.

Changing the engine oil and filters yearly or at specified intervals helps remove accumulated contaminants and refresh additives that protect internal components against sludge and wear.

Replacing old fuel filters maintains efficient combustion by preventing particles from restricting flow to the injectors.

Flushing and changing coolant prevents corrosion in the cooling system while maintaining ideal engine operating temperatures.

The air dryer desiccant also needs regular replacement to continue removing moisture from the brake air reservoirs as it becomes ineffective over time.

Load testing a truck’s multiple batteries occasionally determines if one needs replacement to hold a consistent charge.

Inspecting exhaust components for leaks or damage helps prevent exposure to dangerous fumes or loss of engine power.

Rotating tires equalizes tread wear patterns for balanced traction and even wear.

Finally, checking brake linings and pads catches thinning friction material so they can be replaced before losing stopping power.

Investing time in major annual and biannual maintenance protects the costly investments owners have in their diesel trucks for continued reliable service.

Looking ahead with emerging tech

With the variety of maintenance advancements and diesel technologies emerging in new 2024 truck models, fleet maintenance managers have several key considerations for keeping up with changing specifications in their preventative programs.

Reviewing original equipment manufacturers’ guidelines will be essential to ensure compliance with updated diesel emissions standards taking effect, dictating selective catalytic reduction maintenance and DEF fluid quality standards.

The newest API FA-4 synthetic oils permit extended drain intervals, but oil analysis should determine change timing. Fleets must use FA-4’s specialized formulations protecting modern engines and emissions systems.

Connected truck telematics systems provide remote, real-time diagnostics on engine fault codes and performance parameters that can direct preventative maintenance.

Advanced diesel tuning software will prove essential for fleets adapting to cutting edge truck technologies arriving in 2024. Look for tools offering custom tuning packages and real-time data insights that enable heavy-duty truck fleet maintenance teams to optimize engine performance. Ideally, the technology will also help schedule preventative repairs, and sustain peak operating efficiency across all assets.

Working with dealers provides the diagnostic tools and tuning expertise essential for optimizing cutting-edge 2024 trucks. Dealers can help you fully leverage advanced driver assistance, benefit from real-time drivetrain data insights, and use connectivity for preventative maintenance.

Keeping an open dialogue with OEMs ensures maintenance programs can fully utilize the transformative diesel technologies hitting markets. Doing so also helps to avoid compatibility issues or downtime.

Maintain your trucks in the digital era

As the transportation industry undergoes rapid evolution, diligently following comprehensive fleet maintenance checklists enables diesel truck fleets to uphold productivity, efficiency, and driver safety.

Preventative upkeep provides significant returns by maximizing vehicle lifespan, averting disruptive roadside breakdowns, and optimizing fuel consumption. However, with major technological advancements arriving in 2024 truck models, simply relying on conventional inspection protocols risks falling behind emerging innovations.

Fleet managers must constantly educate technicians on meeting updated OEM specifications. This is particularly important for upgraded emissions systems, advanced telematics, alternative drivetrains, and streamlined platforms.

By combining meticulous preventative maintenance truck checklists with prompt adaptation to new diesel engine technologies, heavy-duty trucking outfits can sustain reliable freight delivery. It also enables them to control operating costs as the industry enters a new era of connectivity and automation.


What is the most expensive repair on a semi truck?

The most expensive repair on a semi truck is usually the replacement of the engine. It can cost over $20,000 for parts and labor. This huge expense emphasizes the importance of preventative maintenance.

What is the hardest thing to fix on a truck?

The hardest repairs on trucks involve electrical wiring issues. They are challenging to diagnose and require meticulously tracing connections and faults across complex systems. This makes thorough electrical inspections during preventative maintenance vital.

What is high mileage for a semi?

Many long-haul trucks log over 200,000 miles in their first few years. However, with consistent preventative maintenance focused on engine, drivetrain, and emissions systems, high-quality semis can reliably log over one million miles in their extended lifespans.

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