Common causes of semi-trailer breakdowns

Semi-trailer drivers know the importance of being prepared for a breakdown on the road. Although semi-trailer towing is an option available to you in the event of a breakdown, it is ideal that you know the most common causes of semi-trailer breakdowns so that you can prepare accordingly.

Battery or Alternator

Your truck’s battery or alternator can be very prone to failure. Luckily, you’ll always notice warning signs if there’s a problem with the battery or alternator.

For example, when you notice your light flashing while your truck is idle, you should immediately check your truck’s alternator or battery.

If you work in cold climates, you may also notice that your vehicle may have more battery issues than usual. While most batteries have a lifespan of three to five years, it can be significantly shortened if the battery is forced to operate in extremely cold climates.


Undeniably, brakes are considered one of the most critical components of any motor vehicle. This is especially true for trucks, given their weight and size. When your semi-trailer brakes fail, it can lead to catastrophic accidents that could put you and others you meet on the road in serious danger.

Your semi-trailer’s brakes are very susceptible to damage due to the amount of friction they are exposed to. Pressure and heat can also cause the brakes to fail easily. Semi-trailers are also prone to air leaks, which affects the brake’s ability to function properly.


Tire problems are at the top of the list of problems that tractor-trailer drivers have to deal with. Tire problems can also often occur if they are not maintained properly. Regular wear and tear can also cause significant damage to any vehicle, including tractor-trailers. Generally, a flat tire on a regular automobile is not a big deal.

All you have to do is pull over to the side and fix it accordingly. However, semi-trailers are another story. A flat tire on your semi-trailer can already lead to a dramatic postponement and prevent you from planning for many hours. Unfortunately, many truckers
consider tire problems to be one of the most common problems they encounter on the road.

To ensure you don’t encounter any tire accidents on the road, be sure to check your tires regularly. If that’s something you can’t confidently do, invest in the help of a local truck repair specialist. They can help ensure your tires are properly inflated and properly aligned before you hit the road.


Although obvious, it is worth mentioning. Even if your truck is built tough and is very reliable, years of wear and tear can have a huge impact on its ability to operate efficiently. If you’re driving an outdated truck, there’s a high chance it’ll break down when you least expect it, even if it’s been running smoothly for days.

To avoid any inconvenience on the road, it is better to maintain your truck correctly and regularly. The more maintenance you do, the less likely you are to encounter problems down the road. Regular and proper maintenance can also help you avoid costly repairs in the future.


If your diesel engine is an older model, it is more prone to engine problems. This is especially true if they do not receive standard and regular maintenance. One of the most common signs of a problematic engine is getting less than normal mileage. You may also notice that your truck becomes unable to reach the same speeds.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to avoid semi truck breakdowns on the road would be to have your trucks properly maintained. This should include pre-trip, en-route and post-trip inspections. Annual DOT inspections are also recommended. While the risk of
failure is not inevitable, with proper maintenance you can significantly minimize it.

About the Author

Jeremy Keller leads the content marketing team for Elite Towing, a local family business in Casa Grande, AZ that provides high quality towing services to residential and commercial customers. He enjoys photography and doing drone videography in his spare time.

Comments are closed.