How to Wash a Semi Truck

September 16, 2021

Posted By: Nova Lines

Trucks are integral for multiple purposes, especially carrying freight. If all trucks were to come to a halt, then major businesses around the world would be unable to function. What’s more, truckers drive their trucks everywhere through harsh weather, rough terrains, and other obstacles to play their essential logistical role.  

During the travel, a semi, freight carrying truck is likely to come across dust, rain, moisture, pollutants, contaminants, and other disruptive environmental elements. Overtime accumulation of these contaminants can be detrimental to the truck’s running condition.

Hence, one of the key measures in regards to truck maintenance is a truck wash. If truckers want their freight machines to keep on moving, they have to know how to wash a semi-truck properly. One must also avoid improper and inefficient truck wash unless they want to waste countless money on repair and maintenance.

Ultimately, frequent and efficient truck washes, along with oiling and polishing are simple and cost-effective methods to keeping your truck in optimum condition. Many people reduce a truck wash to simply washing it over with soap and water. However, a good truck wash involves careful consideration and inspection.  

The Importance of a Pre-wash Inspection

There are many ways you can go about when washing your truck. Nonetheless, the truck wash technique that you choose should depend entirely on your truck inspection. Each method caters best to specific 18 wheeler conditions.

Some components on the truck tend to collect more dirt than others. Furthermore, some parts of the truck may require you to be more careful with the water pressure, brush, and wipes. These parts can include the gas tank, windows, engine parts, and others.  

Another consideration that is essential before you start washing the truck is the truck’s usage. As much you would like to make the truck shiny, you must consider whether you have to move freight again tomorrow.

This is important as it can save you from the unnecessary costs and efforts of cleaning the truck. In other words, if you’re scheduled to move freight over rough conditions, then getting an extensive car wash a day before is likely to be a waste. In this instance, you must adhere to an adequate car wash that gets does the job and is not very extensive.  

Different Types of Semi Truck Washing Techniques

The fleet washing system follows two methods. The first one is a manual truck wash, while the other method is an automatic truck wash. The manual truck wash is a more intimate and hands-on way of cleaning your truck. While on the other hand, the automatic truck wash is one in which you have to rely on automation and machines. This method requires much less effort; however, it may sometimes not provide you with a thorough and detailed wash.  

Manual Truck Wash

Man learning how to wash a semi truck

If your truck’s cleanliness status is dire, then it is better to pick manual cleaning.

When you look at it from a wider glance, there are three types of manual truck wash. The first being the fixed-site truck wash. In this method, a trucker resorts to a fixed location where a business is dedicated to washing a truck. To attain this service, a trucker will have to go to a specific location and attain services from other truck washers. 

Another business proposition that revolves around a truck wash is a mobile manual –wash. For a truck driver, this method is more flexible and convenient as it does not require them to drive to a specific location. Instead, the truck washing service will come to where the truck is parked and clean it using the manual method.

Another way you can manually wash your truck is by going to one of the self-service truck wash locations. This method rids truck drivers from the assistance of manual labor and requires them to wash the truck themselves. Nonetheless, a truck driver will still have to pay for using the space and pieces of equipment to wash the truck.  

Automatic Truck Wash

The automatic truck wash is for truckers that are in a hurry. Where manually washing the truck requires labor and time, automatic truck wash uses technologically advanced systems to quickly wash the truck without any help of manual labor.  

The mechanical frames, intact brushes, and automatic pressure hoses work together in back and forth, repetitive motion that imitates common washing techniques. You can categorize automatic truck wash into different systems.

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For instance, a rollover system uses plenty of mobilized mechanical washing equipment. A big setback of this system is that even the slightest of malfunctions can put your truck at risk of damage. Another system involves the drive-through truck wash. This is very common as it utilizes the friction of the moving fleet against the attached brushes to give the truck a good scrub.  

This is extremely effective in terms of speed; however, truckers have to be careful of unwanted scratches on the truck’s body. To solve the problems of scratches and damages on the truck due to automated mechanical systems, one can always resort to touch-less truck washing.

In this system of automatic truck cleaning, no pieces of equipment come in contact with the truck. Instead, the machine sprays cleaning detergents and chemicals on the truck. Even though this systematic method prevents the likelihood of damages, it lacks the capability of properly cleaning the truck. This is because spraying detergents will not get rid of thickened clay or dirt.

Which one is better?

Picking one that suits you the best involves the consideration of many factors. One of the factors involves the condition of your truck. If your truck’s cleanliness status is dire, then it is better to pick manual cleaning. Despite the fact that it takes longer, it is the only method that offers in-depth cleaning.  

On the other hand, if your truck only needs a light wash, and you are short on time, then an automatic cleanup is ideal. It will help you get a decent wash in just under a minute. Therefore, each common cleaning method can work in, or against your favor, depending on your current requirement and situation.  

Truck Washing – DIY

Washing a truck can also be one man’s job. In fact, to many truckers around, washing their fleet is one of the satisfying parts of their profession. It personalizes their job, gets them to understand their trucks better, and identifies problems with the truck that can potentially become threatening in the future.  

Not to mention, it also saves you the cost that you spend on cleaning services, whether manual or automatic. With the right equipment, strength, stamina, and a good rundown of the cleaning process, you can wash your 18 wheeler just as well as any washing service.  

Once you get comfortable with how to wash a semi-truck, you will never have to worry about how much a truck wash costs. Nonetheless, it does not go without saying that equipments and tools are crucial when washing a truck singlehandedly.

Truck Washing Tools and Equipment

Many truck washers like to use a cold water system. This basically refers to a cold water pump, and if you cannot purchase a system, you can simply use a hose and any water supply. The advantage of having a pump is that you can supply provides the water with a good amount of pressure which helps wipe out the dust better.

You also need a bucket, a downstream injector, a PVC pipe that keeps the injector at the bottom of the bucket. A garden hose, attached to the spigot is also essential when washing your truck. Other equipment involves brushes, black tips, and wipers to apply the soap.  

What are the Best Chemicals and Solvents for Truck Wash?

The chemicals involve a couple of ounces of soap, a degreaser of some kind, and a surfactant. These three chemicals are incredible and you can mix them to create a wonderful chemical cleaning formula that works. To apply these chemicals, you will have to purchase some kind of sprayer.

Final Words

As you can see, a lot goes into an 18 wheeler truck wash than you may think. When doing it yourself, the goal is to wash off the dirt, apply the soap, along with the chemicals, then wash it off and wait for it to dry.

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