When you have a fleet of trucks, it’s important that you take care of each one in a meaningful way. The field of trucking recently held a roughly $792 billion value. You will be better able to get a return on investment (ROI) out of your fleet, while also managing your business with impeccability.
Having a preventative maintenance checklist and the right tips will help you more than you know. So what should you focus on when you need fleet maintenance?
Here’s what you should know about putting together a preventative maintenance plan for your trucking fleet.
1. Know What Kind of Vehicles You Have in Detail
Preventive maintenance starts with understanding your vehicles. You should always understand the number of trucks that you have, in addition to the years, makes, and models.
Keep records of the vehicle identification number (VIN) for each truck, and make sure that the registration is kept up-to-date. The more detail you have about your trucks, the more accuracy you’ll have with its overall maintenance.
Doing this will also help you know when you should phase out old trucks and replace them with brand new models.
Take the time to find used trucks for sale whenever you need them.
2. Consider Each Important Truck Fluid
A big part of truck maintenance revolves around the care of your fluids. Some of the most critical truck fluids that you will need to pay attention to include engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, radiator fluid, and air conditioning coolant fluid.
The more that you take care of these fluids, the better performance you’ll get from each part. You’ll need to perform period fluid checks and flushes on a strict schedule to make sure you’re getting the best from your trucks.
3. Invest in a Cloud-Based Maintenance Software
It’s critical that you use fleet maintenance software to track every aspect of maintenance and repair. This will typically involve cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) that is customized to your company’s needs.
The software will archive information so that you have up-to-date details for old truck maintenance and for the truck repair and maintenance of any brand new vehicles that you have.
When you have access to this information, you’ll be better able to manage your fuel consumption and can keep your vehicles on the best maintenance schedule.
4. Get Cost Estimates for Parts and Supplies
It’s important that you set aside enough overhead to handle repair and maintenance. Getting numerous cost estimates on the work is one of the best ways to make this happen.
Develop relationships with parts suppliers that sell both aftermarket and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts, and decide which are ideal for your trucks. You may also want to get a warranty for your trucks so that you can take it to the manufacturer or a repair shop that can address the work at a reduced cost.
Always retain the serial number of any part that you’re looking for so that you get accurate quotes when shopping with suppliers.
5. Seek Preventative Maintenance Plans From Truck Repair Pros
The best way to manage the care of your truck is by investing in a preventative maintenance plan. These plans make provisions for every important aspect of truck repair that you’ll need.
Since semi-trucks are responsible for hauling more than 70% of all freight in the United States, you can never be too careful. Consider this planned investment into your career and into the protection of your truck.
You’ll save money paying for a preventative maintenance plan upfront as opposed to handling more expensive repairs on a case-by-case basis.
6. Take Care of the Brakes and Axles
When you’re hauling large amounts of inventory around, it’s only right that you look after your brakes. This will help you keep a reasonable stopping distance and prevent accidents, particularly during slick road conditions or inclement weather.
Have a repair shop check your brake pads and change out brake fluid regularly. You should also look into the care of the axles so that the vehicle maintains a smooth ride and tight turning radius.
An 18-wheel truck has five axles and multiple sets of brakes, so you should get them tightened and inspected regularly to be on the safe side.
7. Check the Batteries and Electrical Systems
Don’t overlook your trucks’ batteries and electrical systems. The battery is more likely to drain when you drive across different climates and spend time in cold weather areas.
Consider insulating the battery so that it stays warm regardless of outside conditions.
In the meantime, you should also look into the electrical system, since your truck uses computerized systems to regulate most of its moving parts. Always get the alternator inspected and repaired whenever you get battery work done so that it can hold a charge.
8. Have the Trucks Inspected on a Regular Basis
The best step you can take is to get inspections quarterly at the very least. You need these vehicles to make it through trips of as many as a few thousand miles, and that only happens with preventative inspections.
These inspections will look after everything from the engine and transmission to the tires, carriage, and other key parts.
Put Together the Best Preventative Maintenance Plan
The points above will help you out with your preventative maintenance plan. Consider these fleet maintenance tips and always document everything to keep your trucks at their best.
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