Truck Maintenance 101: How to Keep Your Fleet Running Smoothly

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Whether you have a delivery business or a construction company, truck maintenance should be included in your top priorities.
Besides the obvious safety benefits, proper vehicle care, including engine cleaner service, is a necessary investment for your business, as it reduces the chances of vehicle breakdown in the future. Plus, there’s the fact that keeping a regular maintenance schedule is much less expensive than purchasing new parts for a broken truck.
To make sure your fleet remains operational for longer, here are seven tips you should follow in truck maintenance:

Log everything

Many truck owners forgo logging the maintenance and repair work done on their vehicles. But while this may seem easier short term, things could be different in the long run.
You see, having a historical record of the vehicle condition can make maintenance much more manageable. Aside from having your own reference, it ensures that you don’t forget any of the fundamental maintenance services your truck needs.
It also organizes preventive checks and allows you to highlight any immediate or potential repairs that need to be performed on the vehicle.

Run tests and perform inspections regularly

Like the human body, trucks also require regular check-ups to keep them in perfect shape. Even the simplest examinations can help truck owners distinguish an unhealthy engine from a healthy one.
Some of the most common signs of truck problems you can spot immediately include excessive smoke, oil pressure loss, and low power production. All these need a proper diagnostic service and immediate repairs.
Below are the primary truck components that require your attention during regular inspections:

Tires

Tires should be checked regularly, especially during long trips.
This is even more crucial for trucks as faulty tires could put cargo, other road users, and your business at risk.
Air pressure should be kept at the recommended levels. Overinflation could increase the risk of premature tread wear or tire blowout. On the other hand, underinflation increases fuel consumption.

Brakes

Brakes are vital for safety.
A failing truck brake could lead to costly accidents, vehicle damage, lawsuits, and injuries, so make sure they are tested regularly. Once its lifespan is through, make sure that worn-down components are replaced promptly.

Fuel Tank

Petrol keeps the engine running. The fuel and storage tanks are crucial for this, so make sure that they are free from decay.
Read the truck manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended moisture control treatment. This will prevent water accumulation that could severely damage the engine.

Electrical Systems

Trucks need properly working electrical systems for continuous operation.
Composed of the battery, motor, and alternator, a truck electrical system provides the power that keeps it running. That means you must check every electronic part of the vehicle, wires, and everything else. Even a single torn wire could wreak havoc on the electrical system.

Engine

Engine problems can happen anytime if you don’t maintain the engine properly. Watch out for abnormalities like decreased oil pressure, excessive smoking, and power loss. If you see something amiss, make sure it is dealt with immediately, preferably by a professional.

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3. Don’t skip scheduled oil changes

Engine oils serve various purposes, though their primary function basically revolves around lubricating the moving parts of the truck engine.
With so many parts moving that can create friction and produce heat, oils are vital in preventing engine overheating. They also reduce the chances of premature wear.
However, oils also break down over time. This is why you mustn’t skip regular oil changes to make sure that the truck engine doesn’t produce too much friction that could lead to several problems, including engine failure.

4. Always check vehicle lights

Exterior lights are crucial for safety, especially for trucks operating at night and other low-visibility conditions. These exterior lights include:

  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Signal lights
  • Brake lights
  • Fog lights
  • Hazard lights

Even a dim light could compromise the truck’s safety, so make sure that you and your drivers don’t continue operations without having broken lights repaired first. This could potentially avert any risk of collision and other road accidents.

Don’t forget a regular engine wash

Cleaning the engine is more than just for appearances – it also helps keep your truck in good working condition.
Like a basic car wash, this task can be done on your own or by a professional engine cleaner service. If you’re after flawless results, it would be best to stick to the latter.
But if you’re truly bent on doing this yourself, below are the basic steps you must take:

  • Detach the battery cables, starting with the negative cable to avoid short-circuiting it.
  • Maintain your battery regularly.
  • Clear out the battery tray.
  • Use a wire brush to get rid of any sign of corrosion.
  • Apply a rust-resistant enamel.
  • Soak the cable ends with a corrosion neutralizer.

6. Replace parts that need to be changed ASAP

Certain parts of a vehicle tend to wear out over time. While this is unavoidable, not replacing them immediately is unacceptable. After all, having worn-out truck components could sabotage its entire operation.
Make sure that you have all the parts that need replacement attended to as soon as they are deemed faulty or worn out.
Take note that finding specific parts could be a significant challenge, so it is recommended to stockpile components that you already know you will eventually need.
It is also a good idea to buy parts that come with lifetime warranties. Many alternators, brake pads, starters, and oil seals come with warranties.
Although it may seem more expensive, stockpiling parts can give you the peace of mind that your truck won’t get in an even costlier accident because of a neglected truck component. It also serves as a smart investment if you’re using the truck for your business.

7. Understand trip conditions

Unlike private vehicles or trucks that are exclusively for personal use, trucks for removal, delivery, and construction get used more frequently. That means that they may require a different maintenance checklist and proper care.
Trucks that carry heavy loads or ones that make frequent trips, such as those used in domestic removal services, are used multiple times every day so they require varying types of maintenance. To know exactly what your fleet requires, make sure that your company mechanic or third-party service provider has an in-depth knowledge of the trip conditions the vehicle goes through.

Keep Your Fleet Running

Ensuring that your fleet of trucks runs smoothly starts with proper maintenance. Follow the tips listed here and keep a close eye on the performance of your vehicles.

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