You would be hard-pressed to find any vehicle on the road that takes more wear and tear than a commercial truck. Highly durable, these trucks handle whatever mother nature, and their assigned duty can throw at them. One of the critical components to keeping these trucks working well is proper truck maintenance.
Without proper maintenance, the lifespan of these commercial trucks would be significantly shortened.
Some common tasks require regular completion. Here we break these down into proactive and reactive maintenance along with some other maintenance needs you should consider.
Truck Maintenance Tips
There are many tips and tricks that you can implement that will help you get the most life out of your commercial vehicles. The first thing you need to do, however, is to get your trucks on a maintenance schedule.
A proactive way to keep that fleet in working order is to stay on top of your truck maintenance schedule. This truck maintenance schedule is essential to the prevention of accidents and to keep your commercial vehicles on the road.
Proactive maintenance includes tasks such as regular oil changes, transmission fluid changes, and making sure that your tires are balanced and rotated on a regular schedule.
Making sure your engine is clean is another task that should be completed regularly. As dirt and grime build-up, it can be increasingly challenging to locate any leaks or other problem areas as they arise.
Regular inspections should be held every six to twelve months for tasks such as:
- Brake Inspections
- Tire Inflation and Balance
- Electrical Inspection
- Steering Inspection
Keeping a detailed log of the inspections and outcomes also helps you determine maintenance trends. If there are consistent issues with one part of the inspection, it may trigger you to look deeper into what may be causing a problem.
When it comes to reactive maintenance, your first line of defense will always be your driver. They are the ones that are in daily contact with your commercial vehicles.
A simple squeak or squeal from your vehicle could be the first indication that something is about to—or already has—gone wrong.
Reactive fleet maintenance may sound like it’s the more inexpensive of the two options; however, in the long run, it may end up costing you way more than you bargained. You may not pay much of anything upfront, but once something breaks down, it can cost you into the thousands.
Then there is the time cost as reactive repairs often take your commercial vehicle off of the road for days, if not weeks. So, the simplest thing to do would be to prevent these types of occurrences with preventative maintenance.
Driver Maintenance Inspections
Since daily driver inspections are so crucial to the safety and operation of your commercial vehicle, they should be completed both before and after each use. This method is the best way to determine if there is any damage to the vehicle and keep track of what day that damage occurred.
Before leaving for the day’s route, the driver should be satisfied that there is no damage to the vehicle. The previous day’s inspection sheet should be carefully reviewed before starting the vehicle. If repairs were previously needed, the driver should confirm that all repairs are completed. Noone should take a fleet vehicle out on the road with repairs that have not yet been completed.
When it comes to a pre-trip vehicle safety inspection, there are four categories that you will want to look over:
- Vehicle Body: Windshields, body, cleanliness, etc
- Vehicle Driveability: does the vehicle misfire, is it idling hard
- Vehicle Safety: how is the wear on your tires, do your wipers work correctly, does the horn work, and is the steering system intact
All of the tires should also be checked for proper pressure. Headlights and fog lights should be checked. All mirrors should be checked and adjusted
After the day is over, every driver will want to ensure once again that there is no damage.
Should there be any issues or damage that is discovered, the driver should report it right away so that it can be fixed as quickly as possible.
Truck Body Maintenance
Keeping the body of your truck in tip-top shape is also part of the maintenance routine. Corrosion is a major problem when it comes to fleet vehicles. Those in colder climates that encounter salt on the roads due to snow and ice will see this problem regularly.
Here are some tips to help maintain the body of your truck:
- When the paint begins to chip from the body of your truck schedule some time with a reputable auto body paint shop.
- Keep your truck clean! Washing it every ten days or so will help maintain the paint
- In freezing weather, make sure to keep your hinges oiled.
- Since road salt can corrode the undercarriage of your vehicle, it’s important to spray it down often during the winter months.
Most Common Fleet Repairs
Even with the most stringent preventative tasks from time to time, your fleet vehicles may require truck maintenance or repair. Depending on how often you drive your vehicles, the weather in your region, and how the driver handles the vehicle will determine what part needs repair and how often those repairs should be completed.
Repairs can range from the small tasks of replacing wiper blades and oil changes, to the larger tasks of tire alignments or brake work.
Consistency is Key in Preventative Maintenance
If there is one thing that will help you keep your vehicles on the road, it’s consistency in commercial truck maintenance. Training your drivers and the rest of your team to stay ahead of repairs with a few simple steps will help save your company thousands of dollars each year.
Contact us to start saving money today!