The Essential Food Truck Equipment Checklist: Must-Have Items for Food Truck Owners Maintenance

Hey y’all! Buck Sewell here, your go to guy for everything food truck business related. Gonna start a food truck huh? Today, we’re diving into a topic that often gets overlooked but is crucial for the success of your mobile business: the essential maintenance equipment you need to keep every food truck running smoothly. What do you need in your food truck equipment list?

Now, we all know that cooking up delicious meals is the heart of our business, but keeping our vehicle in tip-top shape is just as important. You have to keep yourself Serving Food! So, let’s jam into it! Keep these supplies in your truck.

Keeping Your Truck in Prime Condition

Basic Maintenance Tools and Food Truck Repair Supplies

  1. Toolbox Essentials – For Most Pieces of Equipment
    • Screwdrivers – (Flathead and Phillips)
    • Wrenches (Adjustable and Socket Set)
    • Pliers (Needle Nose and Regular) 
  2. Utility Knife or a General Purpose Tool
    • Perfect for cutting through tough materials like packaging, hoses, or gaskets. Also know as a Razor Knife.
  3. Duct Tape and Electrical Tape
    • Indispensable for quick fixes and securing loose ends. Hillbilly Chrome!
  4. Flashlight or Headlamp
    • Essential for working in low-light conditions or inside tight spaces. Sometimes the smaller the better. I carry both a small and a large.
  5. Open Ended Wrench & Socket Set – Carry both SAE and Metric
  • A comprehensive set that includes various sizes and types of sockets, perfect for working on different parts of your truck. Never know what will happen.

 Electrical Maintenance

  1. Multimeter
    • Essential for diagnosing electrical issues, checking voltages, and ensuring your wiring is up to snuff. If you don’t know how to use one of these. Well, it won’t do you much good.
  2. Extension Cords and Power Strips
    • Make sure they are heavy-duty and suitable for outdoor use to power your equipment reliably. never know when something might go wrong and you have to plug in to a alternate source.
  3. Backup Generator
    • This is a lifesaver in case of power outages or if you’re at an event where power supply is unreliable, highlighting the need for backup power solutions. Adding a smaller generator that only powers essential items is a great idea. 
  4. Jumper Cables – Get a good set! THICK WIRES!
    • Essential for those unexpected moments when your truck’s battery decides to take a dump.

Minor Vehicle Repair

  1. Jack and Jack Stands
    • Crucial for lifting your truck safely if you need to change a tire or perform under-vehicle maintenance. Be safe, don’t crawl under a heavy vehicle with a weak jack and no braces. 
  2. Tire Repair Kit
    • Includes tire plugs, patches, and an inflator to fix any punctures on the go, a necessary part of a truck’s equipment list to ensure mobility. Sometimes a simple plug and you are back off to the races. Make sure your compressor can handle the PSI of your tires.
  3. Spare Tire
    • Always have a properly inflated spare tire ready to go, might save your life. Don’t forget the tools to take the tire off.
  4. Fluids and Lubricants
    • Keep a supply of essential fluids like engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. Regularly check and top up these fluids to ensure your truck runs smoothly. Check this regularly especially in older vehicles and diesels. Starter fluid is a good thing to have in a pinch if you need it also. make sure they say away from food prep.

Preventive Maintenance

  1. Spare Fuses and Light Bulbs 
    • These small items can be lifesavers. A blown fuse or bulb can be quickly replaced, preventing bigger issues, an essential maintenance step for ensuring vehicle equipment and supplies are always operational. Pick up an assortment set and keep them in your truck.
  2. Belts and Hoses – If you have the knowledge
    • Carry spares for critical belts and hoses that are prone to wear and tear, essential for maintaining every vehicle’s engine performance. Regularly inspect and replace them as needed.
  3. Filter Replacements – mostly for fuel issues
    • Fuel filters need to be clean and free from debris to keep your truck running efficiently, so keep them in the box.

Cleaning and Sanitation Supplies

  1. Heavy-Duty Degreaser
    • Keeps your kitchen equipment sparkling clean and free from grease build-up, ensuring everything runs smoothly.
  2. Sanitizing Solutions
    • Essential for maintaining hygiene standards, these will keep your prep areas and cooking surfaces clean and safe.
  3. Trash Bags  
    • Never underestimate the importance of having a sturdy trash management system, buy the good ones.

Documentation and Manuals

  1. Maintenance Log is vital for tracking the upkeep of cooking equipment and other vehicle needs, ensuring everything operates smoothly.
    • Keep a detailed record of all maintenance work done on your truck. This helps in scheduling regular check-ups and spotting any recurring issues. This will save you tons in the long term maintenance.
  2. Equipment Manuals
    • Always have the manuals for your equipment handy. They contain valuable troubleshooting tips and maintenance instructions. I save them to a file in my phone.

Wrapping Up

Running a Mobile food business isn’t just about serving food; it’s also about ensuring your vehicle and equipment are in top-notch condition. When you are in the field and your equipment keeps breaking and you are sitting outside your truck and the right equipment you’ll need to finish the event is broken. you will wish you had at least a few tools laying around to complete the job. A Food Truck’s necessary equipment , or essential equipment, has to have a maintenance plan. The are food safety standards on the equipment for your truck. Keep them safe.

Remember, folks, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and Oil is cheaper the metal. So, equip yourself with these essential maintenance items and keep your truck in the best shape possible. Until next time, keep those wheels turning and those customers smiling!


Check out my other blogs on Food Truck Headquarters USA and Buckndinks.com. And as always, happy trucking!

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