Preventative maintenance in trucks
“Success doesn’t happen, it’s planned for,” said an anonymous individual. Although not said specifically in regards to truck maintenance, it captures the essence of how important preventative maintenance is for trucks and other heavy roadside equipment - which cannot be overstated enough.
Preventative maintenance is not just limited to changing liquids and oils but includes changing diesel and air filters on a regular and consistent basis. Preventative maintenance is focused on inspecting the items that can give customers issues and how to prevent them from happening.
By incorporating a proactive servicing routine within overall business operations for your fleet of commercial trucks, local and federal regulations are satisfied and the lifetime of the trucks can be extended and the cost of expensive repairs is significantly reduced.
From our experience at Done Right Services, we can confidently say that preventative maintenance is not strictly restricted to the trucking industry, but is of equal importance to commercial vehicles as well. This is because the vast majority of vehicles require regular and consistent maintenance to ensure operating at peak performance.
Typical tasks within preventative maintenance include but is not limited to cleaning, checking fluid levels, oiling, and doing simple visual-level inspections. It is also equally vital to regularly check if parts need inspecting, especially if they are expected to wear down over time - prime examples being windshield wipers, brake linings, tires, and air filters.
If replacing parts and fluids is part of your fixed maintenance schedule, then you have already achieved the goal of preventing more serious and expensive issues arising in the long run. This decreases the chance of unexpected issues while ensuring there’s minimal impact on the truck driver’s ability in operating the truck and/or any other heavy vehicle.
Planning out an entire maintenance schedule might seem daunting at first, especially due to the fact that all trucks might not be present at the same time. From our experience at Done Right Services, these are the most important steps you can take when it comes to preventative maintenance in your fleet of trucks.
1. Take stock of your fleet.
The first and probably the most important in planning to include a preventative maintenance routine is to take full account of each and every single truck in the entire fleet. From our collective experience as seasoned professionals at Done Right Services, we can say that there are no two trucks or vehicles alike and an industry tip we can give you is that maintenance needs will differ greatly. Within a mixed fleet, the variety of differing needs will be multiplied. Key factors to keep in mind is how far they’ve been driven, what fuel system they use, and what weather conditions they typically operate in. This mix of factors makes a preventative maintenance program more complex, but still very much an important part of fleet management and fleet safety.
2. Plan a schedule specific to the truck/vehicle.
Keeping record of all registered vehicles is crucial to not only business operations but also maintenance scheduling in preventative measures. When it comes to semi-trucks, preventative maintenance methods will differ depending on how the truck is used. Key metrics such as engine hours, fuel levels, and mileage can be used as benchmarks to help you predict when a truck will need to be serviced next, making it important to closely track these indicators for every vehicle in your fleet. Another industry tip is to keep a close eye on the truck drivers’ routes and factor in when they’ll be closest to a service station, which will allow you to maximize downtime between trips. If small repairs are made during downtime, then this will spare your business and registered trucks from necessary repair work occurring at the same time as an essential job, especially during this challenging post-pandemic client.
3.Train drivers on how to do inspections
As a vehicle maintenance company, bear in mind that your truck drivers essentially operate as the eyes and ears of the entire operation. Equip your drivers with the training and knowledge necessary so that they can conduct routine vehicle checks that act as preventative maintenance and a pre-trip inspection that covers relevant areas such as brakes, the second life-saving system after the seatbelt; tires, the most heavily used and likely to be replaced due to wear and tear; fluids, if any leakages it will be expensive to remedy along with fluid levels for coolant, antifreeze, fuel, and oil; and electrical-based lighting such as warning lights, turn lights, brake lights as these are key to safety and communication while on the road.
4. Document all preventative maintenance work
Developing a pre-trip checklist is a great way to document preventative maintenance measures for the sake of knowing what is happening while on the road and being compliant with local governing bodies. A paper-based documentation method may be a thing of the past in today’s tech-based society, which carries the risk of loss, theft, or being destroyed. There are plenty of digital-based methods available when it comes to planning preventative maintenance schedules. By employing a digital-based method, you can easily link your drivers’ mobile devices to the larger software system and quickly convert plans into proof of service once the maintenance takes place.
By employing these preventative maintenance methods, you can keep your fleet of trucks up and running at optimal performance, are reliable and less susceptible to breakdown.