In order to get maximum return when investing in a truck, the owner must ensure that it is on the road as much as possible. Revenues are associated with payloads, and the more trips in a given week, the better, in order to ensure practicality and profitability. Maintenance is, therefore, crucial — and most owner/operators understand this, but they tend to focus on the key components and may sometimes forget to focus on smaller parts that can make a crucial difference. Why do they need to pay particular attention to bushings, for example?
Bushings in Action
A large number of bushings can be found in a typical truck, and they are usually made from rubber. They are used whenever two metal components come together, so that there is no metal-on-metal friction. These rubber bushings offer a certain amount of flexibility, and this can help ensure a good ride and less wear and tear. It is crucial to choose rubber bushings that are of a very high quality, however, and never try to cut corners in this area. The cheaper the product, the more quickly it will wear down and the less resistance it will provide.
Bushings can be found at the end of an antiroll bar, at each end of a control arm or underneath a set of shock absorbers. They can also help to stabilise the engine and transmission, and to provide a certain amount of balance from an operational point of view.
There may be a tendency to overlook these bushings when it comes to general and proactive maintenance. In fact, nothing may be done until something fails or there are clear signs of an issue. This can be shortsighted, however, as it can lead to less-than-optimal performance and unwanted costs in the background.
Signs of an Issue
When bushings start to wear down, the steering could become misaligned, and this could cause tyres to wear prematurely. In addition, the vehicle will feel as if it is "juddering" when it is being driven, and the amount of road noise will invariably increase. In the worst-case scenario, the driver may notice a distinct noise whenever they drive over a bump in the road. This may be caused by the two metal components coming into contact with each other, without the rubber bushing in place.
Bushings will need to be replaced throughout the vehicle on a regular basis in order to keep the vehicle on the road as long as possible. If it's been some time since you did so, bring the truck in to a truck repair shop as soon as possible.