There aren’t many situations much more infuriating to a food truck owner who is in a rush to hit the streets than when their mobile kitchen won’t start. Engine problems are actually more common than the majority of food truck owners think. Even though you may stick to a regular vehicle maintenance schedule, you can still encounter a breakdown at any given time.
While having your engine die on you is incredibly annoying, it can be an issue that can be easily resolved. Just as any other problem you run into, the very first thing you should do to fix it is to determine what the cause is.
To be able to troubleshoot the reason why your truck’s engine won’t start, it is important that you know how it starts in the first place. When you turn your key in the ignition, voltage in your battery travels to your ignition switch. The voltage then moves towards the starter relay and starter motor. If the starter motor receives the voltage, it spins to start the engine. If there is sufficient spark in the cylinders, compression, and of course, fuel, your food truck’s engine will start.
You should know that there are a lot of possible reasons as to why your truck will die on you. To narrow this list down, pay close attention to the sounds produced once you turn the key in the ignition.
If you don’t hear any sound from the truck, the issue can be the battery. It could be dead or perhaps seriously corroded.
If you’ll hear a ticking sound, then it’s 1 of 2 things. It can be your battery or the starter motor. If it’s not the battery, then there might be an issue with the ignition system not getting enough voltage.
When you hear your engine turn over yet still will not start, the most probable causes may be:
• Wires connecting the battery to the starter may be frayed or loose, and thus blocking the motor from getting voltage
• Insufficient spark in the cylinders
If your engine turns over yet still won’t start, the very first thing you should look for is a spark.
A smart food truck owner should have a spark tester kept in their truck’s tool box. If there is no spark, the problem lies with the ignition system.
• Inadequate fuel
When there is a spark and your issue is yet to be resolved, the next step is to check your fuel system. If the fuel gauge reading shows that there is still enough fuel in your tank but your truck still doesn’t start, it’s time to look at the fuel pump, the pressure in the fuel lines, the fuel filter, and the fuel injectors.
• Inadequate compression
If your truck has an adequate supply of fuel, then the issue may be caused by lack of compression, which in turn can be caused by a timing belt that has loosened.
When you’ve determined the reason why your vehicle won’t start, you may proceed to perform minor repairs if you are confident in your mechanical ability. If you find yourself clueless on how to go about fixing the issue, then it’s time for you to seek the assistance of a trusted mechanic.
We hope this article helps you in diagnosing your food truck’s engine problems and allows you to get it back on the road, sooner than later.