New Years Maintenance Resolutions for Your Commercial Fleet | Semi Truck Repair
It’s that time of year again. The time for new calendars, new expense logs, new budgets, and for some, the dreaded New Years resolutions.
Personally, I’ve made it my permanent resolution not to make any ridiculous resolutions that I could possibly beat myself up for later. Usually, that just means I have a couple cocktails on New Years Eve and “resolve” to do my best at every endeavor I throw myself into. (It’s been working out pretty well thankyouverymuch.)
When it comes to taking care of your equipment though, there are several resolutions you should make AND stick to. Doing so guarantees that you’re doing everything you can to save money for your fleet and save yourself from future headaches.
We thought 5 was the perfect number of resolutions, but in the end there were 6 that we felt were really important.
So, without further ado, the 6 resolutions you should make and keep for your fleet.
6. Start securing your equipment. Whether you are a fleet that drops trailers or an owner operator that parks your rig while you go home for off time, the importance of making sure you have a safe place to park your equipment is undeniable. OverdriveOnline’s Matt Cole reported in November ’15 that “unsecured parking remained the top location for cargo thefts, representing 82% of reported incidents.”
We’ll let that number sink in for a minute while we pose a parallel. Do you lock your house? Keep your money in a bank? Or if not a bank, a safe? Right. Why would you leave your equipment (which is essentially your money or your means to make money) just sitting out all willy nilly and unprotected?
We’re just saying. Google “drop lots.” Even if you don’t park with us, you’ve got no excuse not to protect your investments.
5. Just retread already. On average, retreading saves a fleet owner approximately 2-4 thousand dollars per truck depending on which type of tire you run. With all of the studies now showing that retread tires perform just as well as Virgin tires as far as durability and performance, fuel and cost efficiency, isn’t it about time you decided that $2-4k might look really great back in your bank account?
On top of that, retreading is just plain better for the environment. It is estimated that 240 million tires are discarded each year in the US alone. Fewer than 10% of these are recycled. But heck, if you’re totally okay with being wasteful, filling our already over-full landfills, and leaving behind a huge mess for future generations to deal with, by all means… go ahead and roll with those expensive virgins.
Again: We’re just saying.
4. Stop guessing at which tires “seem to work best” for your application. Which others have you tried? And what data (you know, empirical evidence?) do you have to back up that claim? If there’s silence on the other end over there… well… we suggest it’s time you get proactive with your fleet.
Our recommendation? Split test brands of tires and track your data. (Notice how that first tip was a clickable link? That was us hooking you up with exactly how to do it. No thanks needed. We’re much obliged. We like saving people money. It makes us look good. :))
3. For the love of Pete, please STOP excusing yourself when you go over mileage between oil changes and PM’s. Admittedly, we’ve been “just saying” a lot. But if there’s one thing we’d like to “just say” louder than all the rest, it’s this: this practice is NOT OK. If anything it’s a slippery, slippery slope.
“I needed to get that load to XYZ” or “I was only 250 miles over” are all great excuses when you use them once. But we promise you, deem it acceptable to use an excuse once and you will be doing it again. And again. And again. Until your PM and maintenance program are all out of wack and you’re effectively gambling with the well being of ridiculously expensive equipment. (And the success of you at your job if you want to go even further.)
2. Get an annual alignment. Some fleets (we’re guessing the ones with a bit more reckless drivers) prefer to get their wheels lined up bi-annually, but if you’ve got good drivers and you aren’t hitting every pothole on the interstate, we recommend an alignment once a year.
The benefits of alignments are well documented, but somehow they still remain one of the most underrated maintenance practices for commercial vehicles. Increased fuel mileage, even tire wear, and a better ride for your drivers are just a few benefits.
1. Train your drivers to check the tire pressure on all of their tires every day. Sure, sure. We hear you… “All my drivers complete a thorough pre-trip before leaving the yard every time.” Mmm hmm. Okay. Our guess is though that unless you’ve got flow through caps on every single one of your valves stems on every single one of your tire positions… well…. you’re probably being lied to. Maybe not all the time. But sometimes.
And since tires are fairly pricey items that are literally carrying the weight of your payload… it should be important to you that they are aired up to the correct psi. An extra 15 minutes checking tires can save hundreds of dollars on a blown tire and hours with your driver and your load disabled roadside.