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 yours 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.
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.

Also Read: How to do your own fuel economy testing

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. Blue or Black 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. Issues with your piston rings, injectors or cylinder liner can cause this.

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. Worn or damaged liner seals, main bearings or piston skirt could cause engine knocking.

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 a non-repairable issue like a cracked engine block. Finding a nationally certified repair shop, based on the truck you drive, 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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Comments (2)

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Gear Ratio's

August 25, 2015


Thanks Sarah, just had some warranty work done at Freightliner and I was grateful I didn't have to pay out of pocket. It sounds a little different at idle but runs great ? I can not always hear what my wife is saying but I sure can hear if my truck sounds a little different.

August 21, 2016 18:51:06 PM

Nice article Sarah, thank you. Just this past spring I had some work performed on my trucks engine. I ended up replacing all the injectors in addition to quite a bit of other engine tune-up work, and with only 1,475,000 miles. It runs pretty good now. I completely agree with your point that doing the work on my terms is much better than the alternative. Overall it's cheaper because I can get the work done in the off season.

July 26, 2016 9:05:16 AM