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Preventative Maintenance: A Key to more Efficient, Economical and Safer Trucks

04/02/10

Preventative Maintenance: A Key to more Efficient, Economical and Safer Trucks

  12:20:12 pm, Categories: efficiencies

Last week my daughter came to me with an interesting statement. She said, "Dad, I had my car serviced like I was supposed to – they changed the oil and the fuel filter and the air filter. Now, I am getting much better gas mileage! Why would that change?" I explained to her that as we drive, filters get dirty and less efficient, oil gets dirty and less slick, and in general, the car doesn’t run as well. With new filters and oil the car is able to run smoothly, with less effort, which leads to better fuel efficiency.

This led me to think about the preventative maintenance schedules we set up for our automobiles, how important they are and how strictly we adhere to them – changing the oil every 3000 miles, air filters at 12000 miles, etc.

What about truck and trailer preventative maintenance schedules? Are we as strict in adhering to these schedules are we should be? Or, are we letting them slide a thousand miles or so, or a week or so, or a hundred hours or so? Are our drivers really doing their daily inspections, or just walking around the truck and trailer and calling it good?

Drivers should be inspecting the following every day:

  • Check the engine, transmission, differentials, power steering, and wheel seals for leaks.
  • Check the condition of all belts, hoses, and lines.
  • Check to ensure windshield wipers work properly and the washer fluid level is adequate.
  • Check the windshield and mirrors for visibility and cracks or chips.
  • Check air pressure and make sure the truck is building air up to the proper level.
  • Check pressure, and tread and wear condition of all tires.
  • Check wheels and rims for any damage or cracks.
  • Drain air tanks daily. Check for excessive moisture.
  • Pay close attention to any frayed wiring and check battery connections.
  • Make sure all lights are operational.
  • Make sure the horns are working.
  • Make sure a fully charged fire extinguisher and flares are in the truck.

Make truck and trailer wash a mandatory weekly requirement. Not only does a clean truck look good for customers, shippers, receivers, but a clean truck lets us see potential maintenance problems before they become expensive.

It is extremely important to work with equipment manufacturers and mechanics to set up the right maintenance schedules for each of the trucks and trailers. A newer truck with synthetic oil will need less maintenance than an older truck using conventional oil. Remember whatever the schedule; adhere to it like it was an unbreakable rule.

The savings in time and the cost of unscheduled, preventable, on-the-road maintenance will be far more than the cost of the preventative maintenance. Consider the last time a truck was late because it was in the shop for a minor repair such as a wheel seal replacement – an item that would probably only cost $200-$300 if performed at the proper time, by the proper shop, but ends up costing over $1000 in an emergency shop. Remember, this doesn't include the costs associated with late pickup or delivery fees (which may include loss of a valued customer).

If you would like to learn more about Preventative Maintenance Schedules and how they can help you with your trucking operation, please feel free to contact us at TruckMaster Logistics Systems. You can find us on the web at www.truckmaster.com or just pick up the phone and call 888-891-9550. We will be happy to help you.

Dale Clark
TruckMaster Solution Provider
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company

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