How to Troubleshoot a Semi-Truck That Won’t Start

troubleshoot a semi-truck

Is your semi-truck failing to start? Try these troubleshooting techniques.

If you’re on a particular timetable, you can’t afford to be delayed by truck problems. If you find yourself prepared to head out on the road in your semi-truck, only to find that the truck won’t start, this can throw a major wrench in your schedule. Fortunately, by practicing a few troubleshooting techniques, you can likely find the problem and get back on the road soon. Follow these steps to get your semi-truck running again after a delayed start. 

Check Your Cables and Sensors

Semi-trucks are full of numerous cables and sensors. Sometimes all it takes to defer a drive is for a cable to shake loose or a sensor to go out. This is why it is useful to double-check these components if your semi is not starting. Make sure nothing is out of place, and if you spot an issue, you can reconnect or restore the problem part. Don’t forget to pay attention to your battery connection as well! If you check these parts and find a problem, you can start to fix it and soon be out on the road again. 

Inspect Your Ignition Lock

Many semi-truck drivers use an ignition lock to protect their trucks and the goods inside of them. However, if you fail to disengage this lock properly before driving, you will not be able to start your truck. If your truck can’t start, make sure that all of your security equipment is disengaged correctly. Getting in the habit of running through a pre-start checklist can help you regularly remember to disengage all necessary components. This can help you avoid further mishaps in the future.

Wait for Your Glow Plugs

Many diesel trucks have glow plugs that need to be warm for the truck to run. These glow plugs will generally heat quickly, often without you even being aware it is happening. However, sometimes the process can take longer. This can happen in particular if your semi-truck has been parked somewhere cold. If your truck will not start, check your glow plugs and crank them for about 30 seconds. If your truck comes to life then, you know your glow plugs were just taking some extra time to get warm. 

By being prepared for the unexpected and knowing how to troubleshoot common semi-truck issues, you can make sure that you don’t encounter any significant driving delays. 


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