Importance of maintaining your commercial asset
By: TrüNorth Global
When your entire business is riding on the safety and performance of your commercial truck, protecting your investment is job No.1. That’s why performing regular maintenance is a critical first step for avoiding unplanned downtime and extending the life of your truck or fleet. Regular maintenance of your commercial asset is critical to extending the longevity of the engine, aftertreatment, and transmissions.
“Performing regular maintenance will aid in extending the lifecycle of your commercial asset,” says Lance Eskridge, TrüNorth Global Vice President of Channel Sales and Development. Preventative maintenance is required to keep your truck/equipment operating at peak performance. Downtime means a loss of income making it important that your truck/equipment is reliable.
Preventive maintenance will help reduce or prevent costly repairs of your transmission, drive train and other components, thus extending the lifecycle of your truck/equipment. A proactive maintenance plan for your engine, transmission and aftertreatment is vital to your truck/equipment’s uptime.
“The biggest problem I see is there’s just not enough attention paid to the preventive side of aftertreatment maintenance,” says transportation fleet maintenance consultant Bruce Stockton. “Fleets tend to wait until a light comes on or the system throws a code. By the time the light comes on, the problem could be such that the truck could be down for two or three days at a remote location. If fleets stayed ahead of the problems, maintenance on the system could be done, along with the regular PM work, in a day.”
If preventive measures are put into place, downtime and expensive repairs could be prevented. Preventive maintenance (PM) can be expensive, however, when you think long-term breakdowns, repairs, and downtime, the cost benefit is on the side of PM.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), created a commercial truck maintenance checklist, it suggests that you should inspect your truck before each trip and then semi-annual/annual tasks. Here are a few tips.
- Check your fluids (ensure proper oil, coolant, antifreeze levels) for leakage and proper amounts before each trip.
- Ensure your electrical system is working properly and that no wires are worn or loose.
- Check malfunction indicator lights for proper operation.
- Check brakes to ensure there are no leaks in the air pressure system and that your warning alarm is working properly.
- Maintain service records.
- Semi-annually change oil and filter. Do not overfill the oil or “top it off” as this can cause serious engine problems.
- Annually replace transmission and differential fluids.
- Establish a routine air filter maintenance program (prevents loss of aftertreatment system performance).
- Ensure you and/or your driver understands each warning light and what action is necessary to take.
- Semi-annual or every 200,000 miles aftertreatment system inspections to avoid complications.
- Remove and clean your DPF annually to remove accumulated noncombustible ash from the filter.
Improper care of your truck/equipment can lead to a host of issues including:
- Increased downtime.
- Expensive repairs and replacement parts.
- Voided original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/aftermarket warranty.
- Engine malfunction or breakdown.
- Aftertreatment performance slow down.
- Loss of horsepower.
- Transmission and aftertreatment breakdowns.
Your maintenance program must be proactive, it is important to stay organized. Categorize jobs/inspections as daily, weekly, monthly and annual. Create a system that will work best for you, this will allow you to stay up to date on all maintenance – which is key as you already have a host of things to remember and complete while completing a load.
TruNorth is with you all the way. Learn more.
TruNorth Global provides limited liability warranties for commercial medium and heavy-duty trucks, including work trucks, construction and agricultural equipment.