The Sweet Spot of Seasonal Maintenance | Semi Truck Repair
We’re not even going to ask; we already know…
All the trucks in your fleet follow a well managed and strictly scheduled PM program, RIIIIIIIGHT?????????
OF COURSE THEY DO!!!
We take it for granted of course that all of our clients are as obsessed about their fleets service schedule as we are.
Okay, okay… so maybe not everyone is OCD about service like we are. I guess, after all… it is our “thing.”
(Someday I’m going to have to make a video instead of a blog post. Ya’ll would have been laughing hysterically at my facial expressions thus far.)
Anyway; It is always our hope that we can put people on the proper path to routine preventative maintenance.
It’s cliche but too true: It’s NEVER to late to start. Fall is actually the time we recommend for fleet managers to start their maintenance programs if they are looking to do so. We choose this time of year because… well… the leaves are starting to change…. the air has that familiar crisp to it… it’s the passing of another season…. (Are you sleeping yet?)
No. Not really. We pick Fall because it’s the season before Winter (DUH.)– which is without a doubt–mechanically–the most expensive time of year for big trucks.
One of the services we offer for some of our larger fleets is to pull their historical service data to look for any trends that stand out in their drivers or equipment. (For example, Truck 123 goes through brake chambers twice as fast as the rest of the fleet; maybe Driver Joe could go through some additional training to keep him from riding the brakes so frequently, etc.)
Through this analysis we observe and have the ability to say “OK Fleet Manager Mike, 3 out of the past 4 winters, you’ve had a frozen brake system to repair and a truck out of commission because you just knew it’d be okay to bypass that air dryer for the time being, even though we’ve been riding you about it just as hard as Driver Joe has been riding those brakes. Think you might want to take care of that now instead of later???”
Usually, with a little humor, and a somewhat stinging data slap, we can convince some of these gentlemen and women to put a little more effort into monitoring their maintenance – or hiring us to do it.
If you are reading this, one can only hope that you could possibly learn from their mistakes… and start trying to find your sweet spot now – before you are dumping time and money into your own equipment this winter.
When the weather is nasty.
And you’ve got loads to deliver yesterday.
Have we made a point yet?
OK! So what do we recommend?
We always say to start with the basics and to document EVERYTHING. We recommend a basic excel sheet to track your data; but if excel is not your thing – heck, you can use a notebook.
On your list start with your truck or tractor number and make a note and date of everything you do to/check on it.
Make a list of all your fluids and which ones you had to fill or top off.
Check or change your wiper blades. Fall and winter are peak seasons to be using them – so it’s a good time to replace them.
Check your electrical system. What amperage is the battery at?
Measure the 32nds on your tires. Some drivers won’t think to mention their tread until the first snow hits and they’re sliding. Also, some fleets run a straight tread in the summer to increase their fuel mileage and don’t think about changing them out until that same first snow. (It’s a human thing, we often forget things until they’re shoved in our face.)
If you’re feeling really ambitious, Fall is also a great time to do an oil analysis or even drain your tanks and add antifreeze if your fleet regularly sees gel ups when things get frosty.
Like we mentioned before, ANYTIME is a good time to start. But since we’re mentioning it now…. and it IS about to get cold….. we encourage you to take a full inventory. You will be glad you did later; we promise.