Diesel Truck Maintenance Checklist

A diesel truck is the ultimate road warrior. But even the mightiest beasts need proper care to keep roaring down the asphalt. Buckle up as Riggy’s explains the nitty-gritty of diesel truck maintenance and ensures your ride stays smooth and powerful on the open road.

The Major Systems in the Truck

Your diesel truck is a complex marvel with various systems working in harmony to keep it moving. Regular checks on these major systems are crucial to prevent breakdowns and ensure optimal performance.

Engine Health

The heart of your diesel truck is its engine. Regularly check for oil levels, coolant quality, and the condition of belts and hoses. Keep an eye on your exhaust system, too; a clean engine is a healthy engine. Kenworth, Freightliner, Mack, etc., each have their unique engine design, so familiarize yourself with your truck’s specifics.

Brake Inspection

Your diesel truck brakes are your lifeline on the road. Regarding truck maintenance, your diesel truck brakes are not just a convenience; they ensure the safety of you, your cargo, and everyone sharing the road with you. 

Electrical System Inspection

Pay attention to the electrical components of your truck. Regularly inspect battery terminals, cables, and the overall electrical system. Faulty electronics can lead to unexpected breakdowns. If your truck is equipped with advanced electronics, like Volvo’s high-tech features, stay vigilant in your checks.

Air System Inspection

Keep your truck breathing easy by routinely inspecting the air filter and the entire air system. A clean air system ensures optimal engine performance. Some trucks might have air dryers; ensure they’re functioning correctly to prevent moisture-related issues in the air brake system.

Emissions System Inspection

Ensure your diesel truck is environmentally friendly by consistently checking the emissions system. Keep an eye on the diesel particulate filter (DPF) for any signs of issues. Trucks from different manufacturers may have unique emissions systems, so stay informed about your truck’s specifics.

Tire Inspection and Rotation

Tires are your truck’s shoes; keeping them in good condition is vital. Check tire pressure and tread depth for diesel truck maintenance and rotate tires at recommended intervals. Different truck models, like a Kenworth versus a Mack, may have varying tire requirements.

Fuel System Examination

Efficient fuel systems are the lifeblood of your diesel truck. Regularly inspect for fuel leaks and replace the fuel filter at recommended intervals. Understand the specifics of your truck’s fuel system, and the requirements may differ between a Freightliner and a Kenworth.

Wipers and Lights

Clear vision is crucial on the road. Regularly check that your wipers are functional and all lights – headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working correctly. 

Suspension and Steering

A comfortable ride starts with a healthy suspension system. Properly check for worn-out components and ensure your steering is responsive. 

Transmission Check

A smooth ride depends on a well-functioning transmission. Routinely inspect the transmission fluid levels and ensure they’re at the right consistency. If your truck has a dipstick for the transmission, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to assess the fluid’s health.

How Maintenance Schedules Compare Between Truck Type

Different truck manufacturers have different maintenance schedules. Understanding these variations is crucial to prolong its lifespan and prevent costly breakdowns. Let’s explore for Kenworth, Freightliner, Mack, and Volvo.


Grease Job: Schedule a grease job every 20,000-25,000 miles for optimal lubrication and component longevity.

Oil Change Interval: Plan an oil change every 50,000 miles, ensuring engine health and longevity.

Fuel Filter Replacement: Replace fuel filters with every oil change, safeguarding the fuel system and promoting combustion efficiency.

Air Dryer Coalescent Filter: Remember to replace the air dryer coalescent filter every 150,000 miles for consistent air brake system performance.

Drain Air Tanks: Drain Kenworth air tanks daily to prevent moisture build-up in the air system, which can damage emissions and transmission components.


Grease Job: Schedule every 20,000-25,000 miles to ensure the best lubrication and enhance the longevity of components.

Oil Change Interval: Recommended every 60,000 miles or 1,500 hours, as the manufacturer specifies.

Fuel Filter Replacement: Replace the fuel filters on the engine with every other oil change.

Air Dryer Coalescent Filter: It is recommended to replace the air dryer coalescent filter every 150,000 miles or 3,750. The Freightliner filter must be used.

Drain Air Tanks: To avoid moisture accumulation in the air system, it’s essential to drain Freightliner air tanks daily. 


Grease Job: For Mack, schedule every 15,000-25,000 miles to extend the lifespan of components.

Oil Change Interval: Plan an oil change every 30,000-50,000 miles to maintain the engine’s health.

Fuel Filter Replacement: Replace fuel filters during each oil change, typically every 30,000-50,000 miles, to protect the fuel system and enhance combustion efficiency.

Air Dryer Coalescent Filter: For Mack, replacing the air dryer coalescing filter is recommended every 150,000 miles or 3,750. The Mack filter must be used.

Drain Air Tanks: To maintain the proper functioning of the air system, it’s recommended to drain Mack air tanks daily. 


Grease Job: Get a grease job every 20,000-25,000 miles.

Oil Change Interval: For Volvo, get an oil change every 45,000 miles or 1,125 hours.

Fuel Filter Replacement: It is essential to replace the primary fuel filter with every oil change.

Air Dryer Coalescent Filter: For Volvo, Remember to replace the air dryer coalescent filter every 150,000 miles. Failure to replace this can cause emission system-related issues.

Drain Air Tanks: Daily drain Volvo air tanks to avoid moisture accumulation in the air system.

Costs Associated With Maintenance

Maintaining a diesel truck is an investment, but it’s essential for the longevity and performance of your vehicle. The costs associated with truck maintenance can exceed $15,000 per year when you factor in all the parts at play, such as the regular oil change, brakes, tire replacements and rotations, transmission fluid change, etc.

Oil Changes

$200-300, depending on oil type and capacity.

Brake System Maintenance

$300 to $600 per axle, based on maintenance needs. Factors include labor, drum and brake replacement, as well as brand of replacement.

Transmission Fluid Change

$200 to $300, depending on fluid type and labor. 

Suspension and Steering System Maintenance

$750 to $1,500, depending on repairs needed.

Fuel System Checks

$75 to $150, based on truck make and model.

Advantages of Preventative and Scheduled Maintenance for a Diesel Truck

Optimal Performance: Regular maintenance keeps all components in top condition, leading to optimal performance on the road.

Extended Lifespan: Preventative maintenance helps increase the overall lifespan of your diesel truck, protecting your investment.

Improved Fuel Efficiency: Well-maintained engines and systems operate more efficiently, improving fuel economy.

Reduced Repair Costs: Addressing issues before they escalate leads to lower repair costs over the long term.

Enhanced Safety: Regular checks on critical systems contribute to a safer driving experience, reducing the risk of accidents.

Manufacturer Compliance: Adhering to scheduled maintenance ensures compliance with manufacturer guidelines, preserving warranties and guarantees.


In the trucking world, your rig is more than just a vehicle – it’s a partner on the road. Treat it right with regular maintenance. The open road awaits, and with a well-maintained diesel truck, you’ll be rolling smoothly and steadily toward your next destination.