6 Most Common Problems with Electrics On Trucks and Trailers

Electric vehicles have come a long way in recent years. This alternative power source is gradually making its way into the trucking industry although there are no viable electric trucks yet. That is likely to change in the near future and could bring an array of new issues for truckers, assuming there are drivers in the truck. Of course, there are already plenty of electrics inside modern trucks and trailers.

These electrics are essential to the smooth operation and performance of the trucks. However, the more complicated the electrics are, the more important it is that you have a friendly automotive electrician like handy to help when you have issues.

You will find it useful to have a basic understanding of the most common electrical problems with trucks and trailers. You may not be able to fix the issue but at least you can help guide the automotive technician before they arrive at your truck.

1. Starting Issues


This is certainly one of the biggest issues for any truck driver. A failure to start means you and your load can’t go anywhere. It may also mean that a refrigerated unit won’t run, potentially ruining the produce you’re carrying. Of course, that’s assuming the starting issue is battery related.

Battery issues are one of the most common faults because they are under a lot of stress. It takes a huge amount of amps to fire up a truck engine and the battery powers a variety of other circuits. It also runs some items when the engine is off, adding to the draw and potentially giving you a flat battery when you need it most. You can’t easily bump start a truck!

Other starting issues can be linked to an ECU fault, bad starter motor, or an issue with the fuel system. It can take time to locate the issue as there are many variables. Fortunately, the professionals will have the right diagnostic tools to speed up the process.

2. Lighting Issues


Another big issue on a truck is lighting. Fortunately, in most cases, this is simply a bulb gone. Less fortunate, is the effort it can take to replace a simple bulb. They are not always the easiest things to get to, potentially giving you a headache for such a simple job!

It’s also worth noting that sometimes a lightbulb isn’t the issue, even though it’s not working. You may need to check the fuses in your truck to ensure that it hasn’t blown.

Replacing a fuse is simple but, if it blows again within a short space of time, you have a wiring problem that needs investigating.

3. The Liftgate


Most trucks and trailers have liftgates at the rear. They are essential for the speedy, efficient, and safe loading and unloading of any freight. However, the liftgate is only approved for a designated load. Putting too much weight on it can cause the motor to wear out prematurely.

Equally, overuse can cause problems for the liftgate as the motor has a finite life. Regularly maintaining the motor will help you to prolong the life of the motor and may prevent it from packing up when you need it most.

Don’t forget the motor s not the only part of the tailgate system that needs maintenance. The hydraulics that moves the lift up and down must be checked regularly to ensure they are working properly and not drying out or leaking.

4. Wiring Issue


All vehicles have an abundance of wiring and this is certainly true for a truck. The wiring runs through the engine bay and all around the truck, ensuring every part of it works as intended.

Unfortunately, the wiring is under a lot of stress. Vibrations cause rubbing and this can cause the wires to be exposed. They can also be caught by various moving pieces that can pinch them, exposing the inner wiring, or even cutting it.

When this happens things will either work intermittently or stop working altogether. The problem with wiring is that there is so much of it, this makes it very hard to locate the fault. You’ll need a professional to run tests on the various circuits to try and identify where the issue is.

It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process.

5. ECU


The ECU is the heart of the electronics for your truck or trailer. All signals pass through it. The ECU will tell the engine how much fuel it needs, how much oxygen, the rate of gas release, and run through a hundred other complicated equations.

Most of the time it works perfectly. But, if it develops an issue it can cause anything from complete truck failure to a small, barely noticeable, fault.

This is another one that can be very difficult to trace but it’s essential that the fault is located and repaired. If it isn’t it’s likely to lead to further problems in other parts of the truck electrical system.

6. Circuit Protection Devices

Trucks have surprisingly complicated electrical systems. These include an abundance of circuit protection devices. These will notify you of failure in part of the truck and protect it from becoming a safety risk. Of course, if something goes wrong with the circuit protection device you lose this protection which could have disastrous consequences.

It’s essential that these circuit protection devices are tested regularly by a professional. They can identify any issues and resolve them before they become a bigger issue.

Final Thoughts

The key to running a truck, or fleet of trucks and trailers successfully is regular maintenance. This is true for most electronic or mechanical items. However, when your truck and trailer are carrying valuable produce across the country you can’t afford to have them go wrong.

That’s why it’s essential you have a good automotive technician to maintain the trucks and be on call to help if something does go wrong on route. The quicker it is dealt with the better for your reputation and the person or company you are delivering for.

About Ronald Lamumbe