Tech Talk

Diagnostics: Getting it right from the start

When there’s a steering issue with your truck, the correct diagnostics can save you thousands and ensure you’re back on the road as quickly as possible. 

Hydrosteer knows steering and it knows it very well. “We specialise in steering; we don’t do brakes or suspension, we stick to what we do best. The benefit of coming to a steering specialist is that we can use the knowledge and expertise that we’ve acquired over the past 40 years to save you time and money,” said Hydrosteer sales manager Timothy Day.

He says that any time a driver complains of a steering issue occurring out on the highway, the first job of a service technician is simple. Talk and listen. 

One of the problems in diagnosing steering complaints, particularly road performance complaints such as wander and darting, is the various terminology used by technicians and drivers. It’s vital for technicians to talk to drivers to determine exactly what is happening and under what conditions – including road conditions.

“With diagnostics, a lot of it comes down to interpretation. If you don’t get that interpretation right from the beginning, based on what the driver is telling you, you can be chasing a red herring and wasting a lot of time in diagnostics,” explained Day.

Usually, a truck will be road tested by service personnel without the trailer and only at city speeds, whereas the fault may only be evident with a load at highway speeds, on country roads.

People have different ways of expressing themselves, particularly when it comes to technical issues. For example, a driver might say the truck is oversteering, yet ‘oversteer’ and ‘understeer’ are terms used in the car industry to describe something entirely different. Oversteer is where the rear of the vehicle begins to slide out on a turn, and understeer is where the front or steer tyres slide, requiring more steering lock than should be required.

There are various steering faults that drivers can be experiencing on the road, such as darting, wander, nervous steering, steering wheel kick, shimmy, vague steering, heavy steering, and steering lock up.

“When you don’t have the diagnostics right, it can end up being a long process of elimination. Customers can spend thousands of dollars unnecessarily – without fixing the problem – when they could have come to us in the beginning,” added Day. 

“With an average service of 13 years per employee, when it comes to steering, we know what we’re talking about. We walk the talk.”

Hydrosteer has been specialising in heavy truck steering technology for the past 40 years and is currently the only ISO accredited steering business in the industry.

With major service centres located in Maddington (WA), Bayswater and Laverton (Victoria) and Smithfield (NSW), along with a third-party distribution centre in Brisbane, Hydrosteer provides national coverage.

It offers a full driveway service (WA and Vic only), covering diagnostics, same day removal and replacement of all steering components, local manufacture and more. Its products and services are also covered by a “No Argument”, unlimited kilometre, 12-month warranty. “Because we stand by what we do,” Day said. 

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