OK, so you know you have a problem with your truck or bus; you’ve noticed, when driving, that something doesn’t feel “quite right”. Diagnosing the problem can be tricky – especially if you’re not trained in automotive mechanics.
The thing is, you really do need to tackle the problem – whatever it is – as soon as possible. Letting it develop will only make things worse, for both yourself and your wallet. And that is especially true if the problem is to do with the vehicle’s transmission (for the uninitiated, that’s the bit that ‘transmits’ the power to the driveshaft from the engine… a rather significant aspect in actually getting your truck moving). And because it’s such an important part of the vehicle, it is especially susceptible to problems, and those problems can then affect other parts of the vehicle, causing a very serious – and expensive – trip to the garage.
Here at Ecodrive we have therefore come up with a 5-point guide of things to look out for:
1) Dashboard Warning
Always a good place to start. If your bus or truck has a light that indicates an issue with the engine, pay attention to it. It might seem like a hassle, but a little time listening to what your vehicle is trying to tell you can save plenty of aggravation further down the line. At the garage, a mechanic can run diagnostics and address the issue before it turns into something really nasty.
2) Noise when changing gears
As with all vehicular issues, if you notice a new, and somewhat unwelcome noise, it could well be something to do with the transmission. Listen out for a buzzing, or clanking sound, especially when you change gears.
Equally, you’ll have a feel for your truck or bus, so you will also have a sense for any errant sounds, or juddering sensations, in its drive, or a grinding sensation when switching gear. Also, feel for any bumps when the vehicle is put into neutral – again, a useful early warning sign.
3) Engine burning smells
Another good way to check for problems is to use your nose. All vehicles use transmission fluid to keep the system cool and lubricated but if that liquid leaks, and then overheats, it can ruin the transmission completely. A burning smell from the engine may well indicate a fluid leak. So check all fluid levels and if you do see that liquid is leaking, you’ll need to check for holes, and top the levels up.
4) Gear behaviour problems
Gears are really the key to all of this. If you’re having problems, and need to force the gears, it might well be the transmission. Equally, if the vehicle slips out of the gear that you have engaged, you need to address that swiftly. As well as a mechanical problem, it could also prove very dangerous.
5) How does it drive?
There is beauty in the relationship between man and vehicle. You will know your truck better than anyone, so if the clutch is slipping or not as responsive as it should be, your vehicle is telling you it needs some TLC. And if it’s refusing to go into gear, or delaying the gear change, that’s not because it is stubborn… it’s because there is an issue, and it may well be the transmission.
So, a few things to keep your eyes, ears and feet on. Take a little time when you’re driving to switch off Talk Sport and listen, instead, to what your truck or bus is telling you. That way, you will be saving both yourself and your vehicle mechanical (and financial) pain, later down the road…