Work trucks are the driving forces of many companies, both literally and figuratively. It’s imperative that they remain in working order to keep the company’s operations running. However, they get so much usage that maintenance can be difficult to keep up with. Remember these five critical maintenance tasks to keep your work trucks on the road.
1. Check the Fluids Often
A vehicle’s various fluids give essential parts the lubrication and support necessary to function at a high level. Check these fluid levels regularly to promote the long-term health of their corresponding parts:
- Oil and oil filter: clean oil gathers debris fast, which means the engine doesn’t get sufficient lubrication and support. Commercial vehicles can go a long time without an oil change, but don’t push the limit. Change the oil and replace the filter every 5,000 miles or every six months to keep the engine healthy.
- Transmission fluid: keep your trucks’ transmission systems cool and functional by replacing the transmission fluid at least once every 30,000 miles or more frequently if the vehicles have manual transmission.
- Engine coolant: this fluid can go a long time without maintenance, but you should check it after 30,000 miles. You want the engine’s other fluids to have consistent boiling and freezing points.
- Power steering fluid: change the power steering fluid every 50,000 miles or two years to keep the pump, rack and other power steering parts working correctly.
- Brake fluid: most vehicles need new brake fluid after several years, but with work trucks, you should check the brake fluid at least once a year to ensure the safety of your workers, other drivers and pedestrians.
- Windshield fluid: refill the windshield wiper fluid as soon as it runs out. Work truck windshields get dirty fast, and your workers need a quick solution.
With so much time between inspections, these simple maintenance tasks often get overlooked or forgotten. Pay attention to the trucks’ odometers and set a reminder to inspect each fluid after the appropriate timeframe.
2. Prioritize the Tires
A work truck’s tires get much more wear and tear than the average vehicle. With that in mind, you need to schedule routine tire inspections and keep a close watch for several problems:
- Uneven tread wear
- Debris in the treads
- Bulges, cracks and misalignments
Damaged tires can lead to more severe mechanical problems, so you want to nip these minor issues in the bud before that happens. Get routine wheel alignments, tire rotations and inflations. Replace any mismatched tires and invest in tires with special features to help your maintenance efforts.
3. Pamper the Exterior
Your work trucks handle many dirty jobs, so give their exteriors the pampering they deserve. Washing and waxing them often will make them look more professional, but frequent cleanings also have several functional benefits:
- Protects the vehicle’s paint from salt, sand and other abrasive particles
- Prevents debris buildup in the undercarriage
- Optimizes driver visibility
- Keeps hitches, trailer doors and other features in working condition
With these perks in mind, take the time to clean your truck fleet at least once a week. You can either wash them with your own tools or join a fleet program at a local car wash.
4. Communicate With Your Technician
The technician you hire to inspect your trucks has the latest diagnostic and repair information. Communicate with them often and use that knowledge to make better decisions with your vehicles. Discuss the preventive maintenance (PM) strategies they’re using to keep your trucks in good shape. Include your drivers in the discussion as well. They spend most of the time behind the wheel, so they deserve to know the details.
You should also review inspection forms with your technician so they understand every problem (and potential problem) your vehicles have. Constant communication is essential for monitoring a fleet of heavy-duty vehicles.
5. Keep Up With Tech Advancements
Your truck maintenance can only continue improving if you keep up with advancements in vehicle maintenance technology. For example, some trucks have fault codes that trigger when a mechanical issue emerges. This feature helps you identify the problem more quickly, giving you more time and information to fix it. Here are some other new technologies that can help your maintenance efforts:
- Handheld inspection devices
- Automatic data capturing systems
- Tire pressure monitoring system
- Online maintenance and training manuals
- Inventory software for vehicles and auto parts
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and other people to monitor your vehicles. Delegate some of the responsibility to the latest technology and lighten your staff’s workload.
Pay Special Attention to Your Trucks
Your company’s trucks can handle everything you throw at them, but they still need pampering every so often. Fluids, tires and the rest of the exterior deserve special attention. Stay in touch with your auto technician and invest in new vehicle technologies to make the maintenance process easier. Indulge your trucks and they will repay you with longer, more productive lives on the road!
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