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Top 20 Heavy Duty Truck Parts

The Top 20 Parts You Need for Your Heavy-Duty Truck

Your heavy-duty truck is the master of the road. It takes you where you need to go, mile after mile, eating up the asphalt beneath its tires. It reliably transports you from point A to point B, every time. Whether it’s a highway tractor, a steel-cab model, or a fifth-wheel, keeping your heavy-duty truck working at its finest is your most important priority. How can you make sure things are running smoothly for you and your noble steed if you don’t know which parts are the most important?

How can you keep the engine revving and the cargo pulling if you’re unaware of what parts in your truck will need most attention?

That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the top 20 most important parts that construct your heavy-duty truck so that you can both stay up-to-date and educated on what’s keeping your hard-working vehicle running.  But also, you can strengthen your knowledge on the details of each part so you’ll best know when to replace or repair each of them.

We’ll provide you with a few of the need-to-know parts, but take heed– we’re only giving you our list of the top 20! There are hundreds of parts that make up your traveling machine. To get a good handle on the most important ones, start reading!

Our Top 20 Parts that Make Your Truck Tick

Transmission

This is one of the most important parts in your heavy-duty truck. This mechanical component transmits power from your truck's engine to its drive axle, making the wheels drive the vehicle. In lay man's terms, the transmission's job is to make sure your truck is getting the right amount of power to the wheels to drive at the speed you desire. Transmission parts can last for a while with heavy-duty trucks. In fact, it's difficult to pin down a specific amount of time for these giant transmissions. We recommend checking on your transmission often. Typically, a heavy-duty truck transmission can cost anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 and beyond.  

Clutchheavy duty truck parts

The clutch mechanics are some of the most important mechanisms of your drivetrain – this is true with any car, but especially with heavy-duty trucks. This is a key component in the shifting of your truck, and making sure it's up-to-par. This is vital for your truck's performance. Clutch brakes help prevent wear on the internal transmission parts during your shifts in speed. You must monitor clutch parts for heavy-duty trucks need closely as you have to repair them more often than your transmission. Typically, this can cost you between $1200 — $1,800.  Make sure you check your heavy-duty truck manual to see what specifics are necessary. You could be paying more, depending on the specific model.

Driveline Components

The driveline components are several parts that make up your driveshaft. These parts, like your center bearings, drive axle, universal joints, slip yokes and driveline tubing, all help keep your heavy-duty truck ticking. To summarize, these components transfer stored energy (chemical, solar, kinetic, etc.) into propulsion. Typically, driveline component repair kits can run anywhere from $40 to $200, depending on the number of tools and number of components you aim to keep in check. Keep a close watch on these components. Aim to have them looked out and checked at about 50,000 miles, just to be cautious.

Alternators

One of the most important parts in your heavy-duty truck, your alternator charges your battery. The alternator works while the truck is running, meaning that while you're driving hundreds of miles in your heavy-duty automobile, this part is keeping your battery alive and well and powering up the electrical system so that the next time you put your truck to bed, you can sleep confidently knowing it will start without a problem in the morning. Alternators can be expensive pieces to replace, though. You may need to check your alternator in your truck if it doesn't start easily, the lights are dim, or other electronic parts are failing you.

Batteries

The battery in your heavy-duty trucks is your bread and butter. It's what makes your automobile go, after all! The battery is responsible for supplying electrical energy to your vehicle and starts your engine, then, the alternator charges the battery to keep your truck running. Normally, batteries for vehicles aren't too pricey. Heavy-duty trucks require heavy-duty batteries though, and these bad-boys can run you anywhere from $500 – $1,000 and beyond. Batteries can last about three to five years, but there are always exceptions. Make sure you're taking note of your battery's condition often so you’re not left stranded.

Starters

A starter is a part in your truck that rotates an internal-combustion engine to make the engine start on its own. In the case of larger engines, like with heavy-duty trucks, the starter can even

be another internal combustion engine. These starters are heavy-duty, electrical motor devices. Often, if your engine won’t start, the problem is with your starter. You should replace the starter every eight years in regular cars, but if you’re using your heavy-duty truck commercially, it’s likely they’ll need replacing every two or three years. Make sure you check your heavy-duty truck manual to see if there are any specific guidelines for your truck model about when to replace the starter.

Mufflers

A less vital or serious part of your truck, the muffler still acts as necessary pieces to keep your heavy-duty truck running smoothly. These devices decrease the noise emitted by the exhaust of the internal combustion engine – and with a truck like yours, you probably really appreciate these. Though mufflers aren’t the most important part on your truck, you should still check them frequently. Typically, they can cost anywhere from $100-$500 and beyond to replace.

Band Exhaust Clamps

These parts do exactly what they say – they provide clamps to your exhaust pipe to keep a seal without deforming the pip in any way. These parts are vital to your exhaust pipe. Though not typically expensive parts to repair or replace, it's important to always have them on hand. You should be able to find some for your heavy-duty truck from $15 to $30 and beyond. Your manual should be able to provide you with some insight on which to use. You can always check with your local heavy-duty truck mechanic to see if they have any thoughts on how much you should be paying for your exhaust clamps.

Signal Lighting

Your turn signal lights are of vital importance on the road – not only do they keep you focused and at attention, but most importantly, they alert everyone else on the road where you’ll be driving and what direction you’ll be turning. How often have you had a heavy-duty truck in front of you with a turn signal light out switch into your lane? It’s terrifying, but more than that, it’s dangerous. Heavy-duty trucks without adequate signal lighting are a danger to everyone on the road, themselves included. As soon as they’re showing signs of dimming, you should replace your lights. Typically, you can find replacements ranging from $30 to $100 and beyond.

Overhaul Kits

Here, we’ll talk about one of the fun parts of your heavy-duty truck – your overhaul kit. Overhaul kits are the bag kits that contain the gaskets, seals, and rings to correctly seal your heavy-duty truck's transmission. Overhaul kits should usually include replacement pistons, piston rings, gasket sets, and liners. These kits help repair and rebuild your transmission and can cost anywhere from $3,000 and upward.

DPF Filter

The DPF filter – or the diesel particulate filter – is an important device in your heavy-duty truck that removes the diesel particulate matter, also called soot, from the exhaust gas of your diesel engine. Diesel engines produce lots of different particles during combustion, including harmful soot particles. These DPF filters, vital to your truck and its performance, can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 to replace. It’s a steep price, but worth the cost to purchase a quality filter that will keep your heavy-duty truck running efficiently.

License, Backup, and Interior Lighting

Equally as important to your truck's lighting is your backup, license, and interior lighting. Again, these not only help other drivers stay in-the-know about what your heavy-duty truck is doing, but it's also majorly illegal to have malfunctioning lighting on your truck. Replacing these fixtures costs only about $20-$80, typically, but can run you a bit more depending on your truck model. Regardless, it’s important you check on these regularly and replace them as often as needed. Oftentimes, they'll go out at inconvenient times, so preparation is key. Making sure that you’ve changed out your backup and brake lights often prevent these issues.

Suspension

The system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connect your heavy-duty truck to its wheels is the suspension. The suspension allows relative motion and takes care of all the bumps and dips that your truck handles. Your suspension is important, and keeping your truck’s suspension in check is vital to its handling. Think about replacing your suspension every 3-4 years, sooner if your heavy-duty truck is constantly on the move. Your heavy-duty truck manual should be able to provide you with a more concrete idea of when your suspension needs replacing, but make sure to keep an eye on the way your truck rides. If it feels shaky or un-supportive, take it into your local heavy-duty truck mechanic for a check-up.

Shock Absorbers

Your truck’s shock absorbers will do a few different things for your heavy-duty machine. First, it will control the movement of the springs and your suspension, and secondly, it will keep your tires touching the ground always.  Remember that time last week you drove over that speed bump too fast? Your shock absorbers are what kept your heavy-duty truck fully grounded and protected your truck and its chassis from damage. Shock Absorbers will be different for various kinds of vehicles, but some manufacturers say that you should replace them every 50,000 miles. Keep an eye on the way your truck drives and try to pinpoint any trouble spots you feel when driving over bumps and potholes.   

Air Bags

Though not a vital part of the running of the vehicle, airbags are one of the most important safety features in your heavy-duty truck — arguably, in any vehicle on the road. Your airbag is a safety device held in your steering wheel and other areas in your vehicle, that inflates quickly when your truck collides with something, providing you with the protection you need. Air bags don't usually wear out, but if your airbag light comes on, it's important you get it checked out right away. If you’ve used your airbag in an emergency situation before, we recommend you make sure it’s fully functional again before getting back on the road.

Trailer Suspension

Not technically a part of your truck, the trailer suspension is still an important piece for the cohesiveness of your heavy-duty system. The trailer suspension is a rubber equalizer designed to improve the ride of the trailer that’s hitched to your heavy-duty truck. Slipper leaf springs replace standard equalizers, acting as a part of the suspension system that provides an attachment point that can stabilize a 7,000-pound axle. Repairs and replacements can be relatively pricey, with cost starting at around $2,000 and climbing. Keep an eye on your system to make sure it’s in check and take a look at your heavy-duty truck manual for specifics on your particular suspension.

Brake Drums

The brake system on your truck is a complicated, and multi-part operating system. For now, we’re simply going to focus on the brake drums themselves. How can we not discuss one of the most important parts of your heavy-duty truck? The brake is the device that stops your heavy-duty truck from moving. It’s the literal stopping mechanism on your truck You can use it to slow down or stop entirely. Your brake drums are short, broad cylinders attached to your truck’s wheels where the brake shoe presses. Essentially, the drum brakes press against your spinning surface (the tire). These can last you anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000 miles, though mechanics often suggest a sweet spot in the middle – make sure you’re keeping an eye on the performance of your brake drums at get them replaced somewhere in the 50,000-mile zone.

J-Hooks

Your J-hook is the ultimate tool for your heavy-duty truck when it comes to towing and cargo carrying. The J-hook is what mounts onto the WG and helps hold the WG closed until you reach a higher boost pressure. You can find J-hooks for about $55 and up. It’s important that you pick the correct j-hook for the weight you wish to tow, so make sure you’re picking the j-hooks with the appropriate strength for the rest of any existing assembly component.

Tarp Straps & Bungee Straps


More of an accessory than a crucial piece of your heavy-duty truck, tarp straps, and bungee straps are flexible, long bands with hooks at both ends that help secure cargo to the bed of your heavy-duty truck while you try to transport it. Relatively inexpensive, you can find kits and packs of these useful tools starting at about $15, however, if you want something extravagant, you can always pay a bit extra for length and extra weight support. Some stores sell these for up to $80! Check out your local car or auto shop for advice and prices on these useful cargo pieces.

Differential

You can find differentials on all modern cars and trucks, and even in your heavy-duty truck. A differential is a device that helps split the engine torque two separate ways, allowing each output to spin at a different speed. The average cost to repair a differential, depending on the model, is about $200-$400, but that’s just for a car. Your heavy-duty truck will likely be much more expensive, in the $600+ range. Most manufacturers recommend that you replace your differential fluid every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, but take a look at your truck manual to see if they advise anything different for your specific model.

 

Our Final Words on the Essential Heavy Duty Truck Parts You Need

There you have it! Our compiled list of the top twenty most crucial parts for your heavy-duty truck. Check it out above and read up on the parts you should be paying most attention to when you're assessing your heavy-duty truck. From the suspension to the brake pads to the cargo accessories, we’ve put together the best top-twenty list we could muster!

Again, note that your heavy-duty truck has hundreds of incremental, vital parts that keep it running smoothly, so it’s important to make sure you’re educated on as many as you can so you can keep your truck on the road doing its job. There’s always more information available on each of these parts, but we hope these summaries helped get you started.

Thanks for reading our list! We hope that our compiled top-20 list of most important  heavy duty parts for has got you in the know!