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7 Signs Your Truck's Engine Might Give Up on You

Posted on 9/27/2016 by in Equipment maintenance

Trucking is tough. Anyone who knows a trucker is well aware of the long hours and hard work involved in providing for your family. Your truck is your livelihood, and when it starts creeping towards the million-mile mark, it’s easy to get blindsided by an engine that gives up on you.

While it’s painful to be down, it’s always better to have it happen on your terms. Keep an eye out for these warning signs, and you’ll avoid getting stuck on the side of the road


7 Warning Signs

  1. Low Fuel Economy
    Are you spending more at the pump? When your engine needs help, poor fuel economy can be one of the signs. Worn or damaged injectors can be a likely cause. 
  2. Loss of Engine Power
    Does your engine give you less? Is your truck not pulling the same? Is your top speed a fraction of what it once was? It's possible that you've lost cylinder compression. Piston rings, valves, or the head gasket can cause your truck to lose its muscle.
  3. Increased Oil Consumption
    Always checking your oil? Are you constantly adding more between oil changes, fearing that you'll run dry? Your engine might be leaking or burning oil, caused by issues with your piston rings or cylinder liner.
  4. Black or Blue Exhaust
    Has the exhaust from your truck taken a different color? Blue or black exhaust tells you that you're either burning oil or the fuel environment in your engine is too rich or lean. This can be caused by issues with your piston rings, injectors or cylinder liner.
  5. Excessive Blow-By
    Do you have excessive amounts of smoke or unburnt fuel blowing into your crankcase? This could be caused by wear on your piston liners or an issue with the steel rings.
  6. Poor Engine Brake Performance
    Is your engine brake not working as well as it used to? Does going down a long hill make you more nervous every day? You could have lost cylinder compression. Piston rings and the cylinder liner could be the cause.
  7. Engine Knocking
    Does something sound a bit out of the ordinary? Did the hum your engine normally produces get replaced with something terrible? This could mean that your combustion timing might be off or oil contamination. Engine knocking could be caused by worn or damaged liner seals, main bearings or piston skirt.

It might be tempting to keep going when your engine is giving you these warning signs, but continuing on could cause catastrophic engine failure. Listen to your truck, and avoid getting an unrepairable issue like a cracked engine block. Finding a nationally certified CAT, Cummins, Detroit, Volvo, Mack, or PACCAR repair shop can help give you a quick answer and let you service your truck on your terms instead of being forced into a tough situation. Peace of mind is important to everyone, so ensure that your business keeps rolling without unexpected down time.


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Note: This article was adapted from DAT’s blog post on www.DAT.com. It was first published in June, 2016.

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