Semi Fun Facts

Semi Truck Fun Facts

The source of the word “semi” essentially comes from the trailer. No front wheels are present on trailers and can only travel when connected to the tractor. This generated the phrase “semi trailer”. Most people observe a tractor and trailer connecting to each other on the highway and perceive the entire set-up as semi truck, and that phrase took off.

Most semi-truck fleets are smaller operations

According to Popular Mechanics magazine there are estimated 1.9 million semi trucks in operation in the US. Approximately 30% of these are registered in Florida, Texas and California. Yet, 90% of all trucking enterprises have fewer than 6 trucks.

Since we frequently see large image brands on the trailer, we presume most semis on the road are owned and operated by big corporations. Surprisingly, though, that’s not the case. Cargo is handled throughout the United States by mostly by small businesses.

Impressive pulling capacity

The average 18-wheel maximum pulling capacity in the US is 80,000 pounds. A large number of large could even pull more, but other road conditions and making tighter turns is not as safe.
In countries with vast areas of flat land, such as in Australia, trucks can form “road trains” by connecting sets of four tractors and following each other in a cargo line the length of a train. Each tractor in a road train can move in excess of 300,000 pounds!

When your job calls for power, bring your truck to M & J Auto Repair in Madison, Wisconsin. Our experienced technicians are trained using the latest technologies.

Better Gas Mileage Tips from M&J

Better Gas Mileage Tips from M&J

Everyone would undoubtedly prefer improved gas mileage. It puts less wear and tear on the vehicle and environment, in addition to lowering your driving budget. With increased attention to maintenance and following some simple tips, you can reduce your expenses at the pump.

    • Proper tires are a must to maximize grip to the road. Oversized and racing tires are created especially for certain uses and should not be used as everyday tires. Make sure you properly inflated tires in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations also.
    • Wheel Balance is also important to ensure full contact with the road surface. Get your wheels balanced with each rotation for optimal gas mileage.
    • A correctly aligned vehicle generates less resistance, thus consuming less gas, as well as putting less wear on your tires.
    • Routine oil changes are a valuable way to boost gas mileage. Your vehicle operates more smoothly when well oiled.
    • Examine your air filter so that combustion is mixed with clean air and less fuel is wasted. Be especially observant if you live a more polluted location or often drive on dusty roads.
    • Regular tune-ups and overall maintenance will result is much less gas consumption in the long run. You’ll also increase your chances for driving safely.
    • Erratic driving and excessive speeding brings down gas mileage due to inconsistent and forced acceleration.
    • Fuel with the correct gas. Don’t spend more on premium fuel if it is not required for your truck or car.
    • Even though it’s necessary in very hot temperatures, drive with your windows down if possible to reduce the extra cost of air conditioning.

See us at M&J Truck and Auto Repair to keep your vehicle properly maintained at all times and to help cut down on your automotive expenses. Call us today at 608-221-0526 to schedule an appointment.

Don’t Neglect Tire Pressure Maintenance on Your Commercial Truck

Don’t Neglect Tire Pressure Maintenance on Your Commercial Truck

Measuring tire pressure routinely is imperative because air pressure in tires fluctuates. Air molecules escaping directly through the sidewalls cause diffusion, or a loss of tire pressure. Tires will still leak air even when right after they are purchased. Microscopically, tires are comprised of a mass of long and stringy molecules similar to a net. Air molecules are smaller than tire particles. Semi-truck tires may deflate by as much as 2psi each month, and pressure can easily decrease by 10 psi if you don’t check it every 4 months.

Diffusion from a Dirty Bead

If bead surfaces or the wheel itself are corroded or grimy, you will probably lose more air pressure. If your mounting lubricant doesn’t adequately cover the bead or wheel the loss intensifies. You want to make sure to have Block Diesel replace your tires – we always take always take appropriate precautions to safeguard against unnecessary diffusion.

Tires that aren’t inflated enough cause irregular wear, which shortens their lifespan. When your tires wear out unevenly, they have a much shorter lifespan. When this happens, retreading is often impossible. Rolling resistance will be greater, increasing the possibility for other damage. Exposing more surface area of your tires also makes your problems worse because they are picking more road debris when they make additional contact with the road. In addition, your truck will consume more fuel because of the extra resistance. We all know extra expenses lead to fewer profits.

It’s important to pay close attention to the condition of your semi tires. Don’t let a tire blowout cause unwanted downtime for your semi. Call M & J Truck and Auto Repair in Madison WI at 608-221-0526 to schedule an inspection and avoid an inconvenient and expensive roadside service call.

Should You Buy a Diesel Pickup?

Should You Buy a Diesel Pickup?

There are numerous incentives for purchasing a diesel truck. The primary reason people invest in a diesel pickup truck is for the power a diesel engine provides. If you want a heavy duty truck for transporting loads or hauling a trailer, a diesel has obvious benefits over a gasoline engine. Another good reason for choosing a diesel engine is longevity. Typically, a gas engine lasts anywhere from 300,000 to 500,000 miles. However, a diesel usually has a much longer lifespan. Long life and more economical fuel consumption make the diesel engine more favorable.


Diesel pickups cost more than its equal gas engine pickup. Also, diesel costs more and uses more oil in its engine. Diesel pickups have a slower acceleration because they are built for extended hauls rather driving through town. A diesel pickup will usually cost you a little more than an equivalent with a gas engine. The price per gallon for diesel fuel is going to be more than gasoline, but your mileage per gallon should outweigh this negative. A diesel uses quite a bit more oil in the engine than a gasoline engine, too. An oil change will cost significantly more.

You’ll get a slower take off with your diesel than the pickup sitting in the lane next to you and diesels are meant for long hauls more than cruising around town. For a quick trip to the grocery store, stick with a gas pick up. Stop and go driving can, as a downfall, be harmful. If your truck is not in use at hard work, a gas engine may be preferable. Low temperatures can be a problem. At Block Diesel we can offer heaters and fuel conditioner for this.

Tough Trucks

If you want a heavy duty, durable truck, a diesel is far superior. For any questions, give M & J Truck and Auto Repair in Madison WI a call today at 608-221-0526 and we can offer some solid advice based on our experience servicing diesel engines.

Trust in Skilled Technicians

It is understandable to get somewhat nervous when your truck or car has a break down, or even with routine servicing. Your vehicle is such an essential part of your life in Madison, you need it back with the problem properly repaired the first time so you get it back on the road ASAP. Relax, trust in skilled technicians is one of the many ways M&J Truck and Auto Repair will put your mind at ease.

You would be surprised at the amount of skill and knowledge that diagnosing and servicing a modern truck or car takes. Today there are more four cylinder engines which a more reliable and powerful than V-8s from years ago. We credit better engineering, but with improvement comes more mechanical and electrical complexity.

Most vehicles have several interactive computers controlling most engine operation and other functional components. As motorists, we take these advancements for granted and do not realize the challenge technicians face to keep up with superior technology. At M&J Truck and Auto Repair we work diligently to remain at the forefront of new developments. We are also dedicated to using the most up-to-date repair and diagnostic tools. The proficiency to service your truck or car requires a solid combination of resources and training. We would like everything to be easy and straightforward, but at times that just is not the case.

The next time you leave your vehicle with us you can relax knowing you have made a good choice.

A Leveling Kit or a Suspension Lift Kit?

Most people find a universal sense of appreciation to ride higher than other motorists when driving their truck. If you want to elevate your gas, diesel, half-ton or heavy duty truck for improved performance or just for a more striking appearance, first consider the difference between a leveling kit or a suspension lift kit. Both selections will raise the height of your truck by lifting the body up and apart from the axles, allowing more space for bigger tires.

You’ll see a minor growth increase with a leveling kit. The front of the truck gets leveled to the back height and stops the bed from drooping under heavier loads. A leveling kit usually lifts the front of the truck approximately 2 inches and is a rather simple service. It will cost considerably less than paying for a suspension lift kit.

Lift kits are more costly because the actual suspension components are altered compared to merely installing torsion keys or spring spacers. Lift kits will usually raise the truck body up from 2-10 inches. However, if you want an even more towering effect, custom options are available.

Modifying suspension requires new shocks and springs, and most likely a new drive-shaft. It is imperative to ensure that your brake lines will still reach the brake system. Also, realize that your ride will be rougher than before.

If you have more questions about leveling kits or a suspension lift kits don’t hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable technicians at M&J Truck and Auto Repair at 608-221-0526.

The Check Engine Light

The check engine light is your car’s warning sign.  Bring your car or truck to M&J Truck and Auto Repair in Madison, WI if the check engine light appears. There are a few common reasons.

Fuel system glitches are the most frequent triggers.


  • Faulty Gas cap. Is gas cap is more than important than we think. If it is not sufficiently tightened or cracked when fuel vapors escape, it can disrupt the fuel system. It will reduce your gas mileage and increase emission.


  • Mass airflow sensors are common components that get flawed. When the MAF sensor fails, the vehicle is unable to scan oxygen and gasoline levels that enter the engine. The fix is easy and only requires a replacement MAF sensor


  • The O2 sensor is responsible for managing oxygen quantity during combustion. An O2 sensor break down also causes a decrease in gas mileage.


Exhaust Troubles. A catalytic converter extracts hazardous gases from your vehicle and lessens their harm. If your catalytic converter is working, you are placing the environment and yourself at risk or yourself and the environment in danger excessive carbon monoxide exposure.

Damaged Ignition. Spark plugs and spark plug quite often cause sputtering and engine faltering. A spark plug acts as a seal to the combustion chamber and supplies a gap for the spark to activate the combustion     course in the engine. When plugs are damaged they misfire. Replacing them at M&J Truck and Auto Repair restores ignition performance for another 30,000 miles.

Call us today at 608-221-0526 if your check engine light is glowering at you.


Common Reasons for Breakdowns

Don’t Panic. There are quite common reasons for breakdowns. Fortunately, the breakdowns that occur most frequently are simple repairs. Follow this advice from M&J Truck and Auto Repair and let us get vehicle in operating condition as expediently as possible. Here are 3 common reasons our autos breakdown:

  1. A Dead Battery

Luckily, it is unlikely for a battery to die while the vehicle is running. Yet, it might prevent the auto from starting in an unfamiliar location. This breakdown is easily recognized because you will get a clicking noise when you turn the key. You will require a jumpstart to revive the battery.

Always store a spare set of jumper cables in the vehicle. To prevent the alarming inconvenience of a dead battery, schedule annual electrical system diagnostics and have the battery tested occasionally if it more than three years old.

  1. A Tire Blowout

The sound of a blowing tire while driving can be terrifying, but stay calm. Drive steadily and slow down to the roadside shoulder, and not the median. If the blowout happens in a heavily trafficked Madison street, or the vehicle is street-side, call M & J at 608-221-0536 for a tow. It is much safer than having an accident occur. If the area is safe and you have a jack and instruction book you can change the tire yourself.

As a preventative measure, regularly check the air pressure in all tires, including the spare. Keep a tire maintenance routine and have them rotated and examined routinely. Get wheel alignments when necessary.

  1. Your Engine Overheats.

Keep aware of the temperature gauge and you will stay informed of the cooling system’s status. If the vehicle overheats, pull over at once. Switch the air conditioning and crank up the heat. Your heater will extract hot air from the engine. If you observe emitting steam from the hood, lift it and wait for the engine to cool down.

Check the radiator coolant level or for other leaking fluids. Call us for a tow and get an accurate diagnosis if you witness fluid leakage. Adding more coolant mixed half with water to the full line could be a. Keep extra coolant on hand and a jug water in the trunk. Of course, check your coolant level regularly too.

Breakdowns are scary

Our best tip is to be prepared and drive safe!

3 Brake Types

There are three distinctive and complex brake types on semi-trucks: air or service brakes, spring or parking brakes and emergency brakes.

Air Brakes

Air brakes are most commonly used for everyday driving and use pressurized air to set your brakes in motion. Most semi-trucks now are outfitted with ABS to prevent the wheels from halting during a severe brake. Most commonly, S-cam brake mechanisms (S-shaped drums) are applied, but there are also wedge brakes and disc brakes.

Parking Brakes

Spring brakes are set off by air pressure loss, during an air leak for instance. Throughout standard driving, air pressure leaves these brakes open, but they are activated during times when pressure being applied from the springs exceeds the existing air pressure. They can also be operated manually from the cab and are principally utilized to keep the semi stationary when it is parked.

Emergency Brakes

The emergency braking system is applied when the truck drops air pressure below 20-45 psi in the storage tanks of the air brake system. At this time, the semi becomes immobile. Emergency brakes may be unlocked when air from an independent tank is engaged. They also may be manually utilized during an unexpected brake failure.

If you are facing any braking concerns with your semi-truck, M & J Truck and Auto Repair, Inc. in Madison, Wisconsin would be happy to diagnose the issues and perform the necessary maintenance in a suitable time frame. Give us a today at 608-221-0526.

Tires, Tune-ups and Hoses

As seasons change, semi-truck repair mechanics will frequently suggest checking tires, hoses and tune-ups. It’s very important to take care of your engine so it runs properly and that you replace tires after they have withstood a rough winter.

Truckers should never undervalue the importance of a properly tuned engine and new tires. If you regularly maintain your tires and engine you will notice that you’ve saved more money in the long run.
In colder weather, hoses are likely to contract and expand more quickly due to the temperature difference between the exterior and interior of the engine. The rapid rate of expansion and contraction can often damage hoses or call for immediate replacement. It’s a good idea to have a mechanic examine your truck’s hoses to make sure that there are no leaks, cracks or other damage that could cause very expensive problems if left unchecked.

7 More Ways to Winterize Your Vehicle
  1. Check your battery. …
  2. Change your wiper blades and refill your wiper fluid. …
  3. Consider getting snow tires. …
  4. Check your tire pressure. …
  5. Check your four-wheel drive. …
  6. Check your anti-freeze mixture. …
  7. Change the oil and adjust the viscosity.

Tires, Tune-ups and Hoses may be the most fundamental maintenance items on a trucker’s checklist, but they are definitely not the only parts worth checking. Call M & J Truck & Auto Repair today at 608-221-0526 to schedule a preventative maintenance inspection on your truck or trailer.