10 Heavy Truck Diagnostics Terms You Should Know
There are hundreds of millions of drivers around the world, and all of them have vehicles that need maintenance from time to time. But there are far less mechanics than there are drivers, so unfortunately, the majority of drivers have a high likelihood of encountering a problem at some point that they can’t identify or explain.
“It wiggles, you know? Really fast, when I go fast.”
“There’s kind of a, I don’t know, chongakongakonk sound. Is that bad?”
“It feels like the tires are loud, and when I try to turn, there’s a…a shriek?”
While all of those may describe legitimately terrible trouble under your truck’s hood, they don’t really give a mechanic much more than a vague idea of what the problem might be. And that’s bad news for you, because if the technician fixing your heavy truck has to spend a couple of hours finding out what’s really going on – especially if your sound effects and explanation were the cause of the misunderstanding – your costs for labour are going to get much higher.
Here are some of the top ten truck diagnostics terms that mechanics and technicians use all the time. Remember them for the next time you feel something off while you’re driving – it could save you serious headache!
1. Backfire: Often heard about in pop culture (and much less common nowadays than they used to be), a backfire is a gunshot-like sound that comes from the engine or tailpipe. They are caused by unburnt fuel in the exhaust system igniting and rapidly combusting, and are known to cause a loss of power and motion. See a video clip of an engine backfire here.
2. Bottoming: This refers to excessive noise or harsh vibrations that are often felt through the steering wheel or passenger area, often when going over bumps. First place to look for the problem? The shock absorbers and other parts of the shock system, which help mitigate road imperfections while driving.
3. Bucking: Does your engine hesitate or “lurch”, as the transmission slips while trying to change gears? Then you’re familiar with bucking. The most likely cause is in the fuel line, as the engine isn’t getting the fuel that it needs to maintain power.
4. Dieseling: If you turn off your engine, but the truck continues to burn fuel and run for a moment afterwards, that is known as dieseling – because it’s due to an air-fuel mixture combusting in the cylinder without a spark, like in a diesel engine. It can signify timing issues, temperature moderation problems, or any of several other similar factors.
5. Hesitation: When you accelerate and feel a sudden loss of power, that’s hesitation. It can be traced back to low fuel pressure, slowed ignition timing, poor quality fuel, low voltages/weak sparks…the list goes on.
6. Knocking: Also called “detonation”, this is a rapid rattling noise that can be heard upon acceleration, and is often caused by fuel burning unevenly instead of in one smooth, continuous action.
7. Misfire: A category of hesitation, these happen when fuel in one or more of the engine’s cylinders fails to ignite properly and interrupts the flow of power.
8. Shimmy: A pronounced side-to-side motion that transmits from the tires through the steering wheel. While the details can change for each case, the main culprit behind it all is an imbalance of some type – in the tires, in the treads, in the brake rotors, etc. When they are not symmetrical, the mismatch is very noticeable.
9. Sluggish: If you’ve ever floored the gas and the car barely made its way down the road, or felt very jumpy while accelerating, you’ve encountered a sluggish engine. It means it’s just not delivering the horsepower that it should be, based on your power input.
10. Surge: Like the opposite of a hesitation, a surge is a sudden (usually upward) change in a vehicle’s engine speed. Like a lot of these problems, inconsistent fuel delivery and pressure is usually to blame.
Remember these terms for the next time you’re bringing your vehicle in for our money-saving preventative maintenance or repair, and it will help the mechanic pinpoint the problem faster – getting you back on the road more quickly, and making sure the root cause is fixed.
Benefits of Mobile Truck Service
In the modern age of tight deadlines and the necessary efficiency, it isn’t always easy to take time out of your schedule to keep up with the maintenance on your heavy equipment. Aside from being needed on the job site, they can also be inconvenient or simply too large to move. As a result, if they get pushed too hard for too long, they may stop working altogether and break down on the site, or become unsafe to operate on highways or city streets. It could be costly to tow, or to spend weeks waiting for repairs that cost valuable productivity. What can be done to prevent this?
Don’t worry! We’ve thought of the answer already. And it’s West Tech Mobile’s mobile truck service.
If your first thought is that the term only means “roadside assistance”, you’re only partway there. Our Calgary-based mobile truck service is so much more – in fact, it’s a way of bringing a shop directly to you, wherever you need it.
If your machinery, trucks, or other heavy equipment needs preventative maintenance, checkups, or repairs – or if it breaks down on site beyond your ability to fix – you no longer have to figure out the logistics of getting it to a shop and wasting time and staff in the process. Forget about the safety risks of navigating highways or narrow city roads, and simply give West Tech a call.
Not only will this save you time and money (and a lot of headaches), but when we come out to you, it means that we have a direct link to your employees and operators who know the equipment the best. We can communicate instantly about any problems and solutions, and have the right information on hand to get the job done properly as soon as possible. And the best part? Once the unit is fixed, it’s ready to go right away. There’s no waiting around for someone to drive it back to the site and get it back in place.
And, of course, we can also use these mobile units for roadside assistance, too. We can do the same kinds of repairs, on the spot, while you sit in our warm truck and wait.
You may be thinking that we have some small vans or trucks, and that we can’t make it to your remote worksite in the field. We wanted to make sure that we could, so we use a fleet of 4x4 vehicles that can cross even the most unforgiving terrain. They are all equipped with cranes, air compressors, welders, generators, and much more, to ensure that even just one of our techs can lift, reach, and repair heavy equipment all on their own. All of our field computers have portable internet sticks so we can use our software to give you the same quality of service you’d find in the shop. After all, that’s really what these trucks are – portable warehouses and mobile shops that make your life easier.
So the next time you’re in need of some tune-ups, preventative maintenance, on-site repairs, or other work on your units, trucks, or equipment, remember that West Tech Mobile brings a whole shop right to you. You won’t find a better mobile truck service in Calgary, or anywhere else in Alberta!
Calgary Stampede Heavy Truck Trailer Repair
Summer has finally arrived in Calgary, and the long days here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains can only mean one thing: it’s almost time for Stampede! Hitting the city for ten days every July, this internationally-renowned event draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world.
Of course, with all these people come all the logistics, and getting Stampede Park ready for more than a million visitors is no easy feat. Dozens of trucks, tractor-trailers, forklifts, and other heavy equipment roll through the streets, and plenty more campers, motorhomes, pickups and horse trailers, and buses follow behind them. Even though everyone hopes for the best, the fact is that sometimes there are unfortunate circumstances and unforeseen problems.
Many visitors to the Stampede haul fifth-wheels, livestock trailers, and wagons all the way to Calgary from ranches and farms all across the continent. If you are from the USA, you likely want to be sure that all of your vehicles and equipment are in good working order before you set off on the long road home – and what better way to do that than to have a professional technician come to you and inspect everything? At West Tech Mobile, our portable service trucks are designed specifically for this kind of call – we can visit you on-site and we’re fully equipped to perform necessary repairs, tune-ups, and more. This is especially helpful if the worst happens, and you break down completely while you’re in or near the city. Just give us a call, and we’ll be out to help you as soon as we can!
Even more in need would be the trucks hauling the parts of the Stampede midway itself: hydraulic systems, ride components, and all the other pieces that make it the go-to party of the city every year. Obviously, these units are subject to some stringent safety standards, and no driver wants to be pulled over and fined for a problem that is easily preventable. If you get pulled into one of these stations, need a repair, and have no idea what to do, then you can call us and we'll help you out! Whether you get stopped on the way into Calgary, or you want to ensure you’ll have a smooth ride on the way out, West Tech Mobile can get you up to inspection standards. (And do you know what those standards are in Alberta? Click here to find out more information.)
Are you heading up to Klondike Days, or “K-Days”, in Edmonton, just after the Stampede ends? Between Calgary and Edmonton alone there are two commercial vehicle inspection stations, and any number of deficiencies can keep you parked, or even impounded, until they are repaired. Luckily, that’s how we are different! Give us a call and we will even come to where you are and get you back on the road. We can work on motorhomes, semi trucks, tractor-trailers, cattle trailers, diesel one-tonne trucks, and many other heavy-duty vehicles.
Whether it’s a mechanical issue, an electronic malfunction, a worn-down part, or something else buried deep in your engine, our qualified technicians are able to find and repair the issue with our sophisticated computer diagnostics and technical knowledge. If you want the peace of mind, knowing you’re avoiding a bigger problem down the line, then West Tech Mobile should be the call to make! We have roadside assistance trucks on call and available 24/7, so that you’ll never be left waiting days for a shop to open.
Call our shop at 1-403-265-5699 to book your inspection or repair in Calgary. If you’re stuck on the roadside within a few hours of Calgary in southern Alberta, simply call 1-403-899-8805 to get through to our mobile assistance line. You’re never far from help with West Tech Mobile!