As some of the largest vehicles on the road, it is little surprise that big rig trucks are susceptible to frequent breakdowns. Add in the fact that these vehicles travel long distances for prolonged periods and it’s easy to see why most big rig trucks need to call for roadside assistance at some stage!

There are other factors that make the huge vehicles more prone to breakdowns, from the age of the rig to the current driving conditions, leading to various types of auto problems that typically appear at the worst time possible.

Let’s take a look at the 5 most common reasons that big rig trucks need roadside assistance – being aware of the causes may help you avoid a breakdown in the future!


Without a doubt the most common cause of big rig breakdown is tire problems, accounting for around half of all breakdowns. The reasons that tires fail on big rigs are much the same as any other vehicle, with things like under or over inflation, worn treads, and misaligned axles on being contributing factors for tire failure.

Additionally, give the massive weights that these tires are carrying over long distances, wearing tends to occur at a much quicker pace than a car, even if the huge tires are designed to withstand larger loads.


Damaged brakes account for roughly 30% of big rig breakdowns, making it the second most common cause for needing roadside assistance.

The reason brake failure is so common on big rig trucks is the immense pressure that the drum brake and discs are under – they are exposed to more friction, heat, and pressure than brakes on other vehicles.

Most of this can be avoided with regular maintenance, checking for signs of wearing on the brakes like rusting, corrosion, air leakages, water contamination etc.

Refrigeration Issues

With a large portion of big rig trucks transporting temperature-controlled goods, such as food and medicine, they require special refrigerated trailers to maintain the correct temperature to avoid spoiling the goods.

Should any sort of problem arise with the refrigeration unit then roadside assistance is quickly needed to prevent the products from going to waste. It’s the type of problem truck drivers cannot overlook or their entire load could end up ruined.

Cooling System

Lots of connections are needed in big rig trucks to operate the coolant system, yet these connections are susceptible to breaking and disconnecting during transit, leading to coolant loss that will cause issues with the thermostat.

Thankfully, it can be fixed with relative ease, although the need to stop wait for roadside assistance is still a huge inconvenience for drivers.


Big rig trucks have a lot more electrics than your average vehicle, including cranking and charging systems, along with standard electrics like the truck’s lights. These complex electrical systems need regular maintenance to avoid failure, which is a common cause for big rig breakdowns.

In fact, there are three electrical systems that need maintained, with start motor, alternator, and battery all playing an important role in the vehicle functioning. Any issues with these will require immediate roadside assistance, whether it’s the truck failing to start or battery dying mid drive.

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5 Common Reasons That Big Rig Trucks Need Roadside Assistance