The Importance Of Proper Truck Fleet Maintenance

Semi tractor trailer truck fleet

Proper trucking fleet maintenance is very important. The average cost of a new truck is between $125,000 and $150,000. Ensuring each truck is properly maintained increases its years of efficient, effective service, boosts its productivity and helps reduce its downtime.  A good fleet maintenance software program can help you achieve proper and timely truck maintenance services, reduces operational costs and helps to keep the drivers safe. When trucks are properly maintained using a an excellent truck maintenance software system,  fleet owners can more quickly recoup the money they invested in each trucks and helps their company remain profitable for many years.

What Is Proper Truck Fleet Maintenance

Proper truck fleet maintenance is having each truck in your fleet serviced on a regular basis. This can be weekly, monthly or quarterly depending on how the trucks are being used. Basic maintenance includes checking and changing the oil, checking and servicing the brakes, checking the transmission, oil fuel, air, exhaust and cabin air filters and
the electrical system. As part of proper truck maintenance, check all the rubber parts to ensure they are not worn or brittle. It's also important to check all gaskets for signs of wear and leaks and replace them as needed. Checking the shock absorbers is an essential truck maintenance service to ensure it rides smoothly and evenly.

Ensuring Good Performance And Safe Operation

Trucks are rugged, reliable machines designed to run efficiently in tough conditions. Regular maintenance services is critically important to ensure they continue to provide good performance and safe operation. When you neglect the maintenance services trucks need, you compromise their ability to last a long time. Taking each trucks in to have
regularly scheduled servicing done helps you detect and address minor problems and stop them from becoming serious, costly issues that can affect their productivity and their durability.

Daily Monitoring

Truck drivers play an important role in proper truck fleet maintenance. Ideally, they should check the engine oil level and clarity before they start their trucks each day. Drivers should also ensure the brakes are working properly and report all problems to the dispatcher or maintenance manager so the brake shoes, air valves and air dryers can
be serviced in a timely manner if there is a problem. Drivers should be sure to report any cabin air problems, so the maintenance team can make a point to look at the cabin air filter. Reporting blown fuses or lights ensures the electrical system continues to work properly. Proper fleet maintenance takes a team effort.

Reduce Downtime

When any truck in the fleet is forced to take extensive downtime to have vital parts or systems repaired or replaced, it takes money out of the pockets of the driver and the company. Taking a few minutes on a regular basis to check things like shock absorbers can prevent problems that lead to unnecessary downtime and are essential to keep trucks
riding smooth and even. Stocking up key replacement parts can make repairs faster and easier, reduce downtime and keep all the trucks in the fleet up and running. Using high quality oils, fuels and replacement parts can also play an important role in preventing excessive downtime.

A Systematic Approach To Fleet Maintenance

Employing a systematic approach to fleet maintenance can help keep the trucks in your fleet properly serviced, safe, in good condition and prevent unnecessary breakdowns. A systematic approach to proper fleet maintenance and good preventive vehicle maintenance requires thoughtful planning, timely scheduling, in-depth analysis and great execution.
Approaching fleet maintenance systematically and consistently can reduce the risk of a truck experiencing preventable breakdowns and road accidents due to worn tires, faulty brakes, steering and suspension issues and other common problems truckers often face.

Driver Safety

The number one reason for doing proper fleet maintenance is to enhance driver safety. A truck driver is at a higher risk for injury if the trucks they drive are not properly maintained. Truckers often drive on dangerous roads and in inclement weather. If the truck they are in has bad brakes, smooth tires, steering issues or electrical problems,
their health and safety is unnecessarily compromised. Trucking fleet owners who care about their drivers' health and safety will ensure the trucks are in good working order and less likely to suffer a mechanical, braking or electrical system failure or a tire blowout that will put a driver's life, health and safety in jeopardy.

Protecting The Cargo

Another reason to keep your fleet of trucks properly maintained is to protect the cargo they are carrying. Customers depend on the trucking companies they hire to move their goods from one location to another safely and in a timely manner. Part of the fleet owner's responsibility is to make sure that their trucks are always maintained in good working order so they can do just that. Trucking fleet companies that have earned a reputation for always having well-maintained trucks and consistently get the cargo they are hauling to their destination on time and intact improve the chances they will enjoy long-term success, profitability and growth.

Reduced Operational Costs

Proper truck maintenance can play a major role in reducing operational costs and lead to increased profitability. Properly maintained trucks are more likely to avoid the high human health and financial cost associated with preventable road accidents. Plus, timely preventive maintenance costs much less than reactive repairs. According to OSHA, the legal expenses, medical care, lost productivity and property damage as a result of vehicle accidents costs employers more than $60 billion a year. Making sure the trucks in your fleet are properly maintained can reduce the operational costs by thousands of dollars a year.

Proper Maintenance Boosts Productivity

Making sure your entire fleet of trucks is always in good working order can help your company to avoid operational delays and help to maximize productivity. Having trucks go out of service for unscheduled repairs can result in missed deliveries and delays in the fulfillment of several succeeding obligations. Proper fleet maintenance can reduce truck malfunctions and ensure your trucks are always available to take advantage of any business opportunities that pop up. Good fortune favors the prepared and when you make sure your trucks are always prepared to work it can help your company's productivity to increase exponentially.

Improved Efficiency

Proper fleet maintenance leads to improved efficiency in the use of the resources of any trucking fleet. Addressing minor problems before they become bigger ones, that are much more expensive saves you money you can invest in other areas of your company. If you use your company's resources more efficiently, managing your fleet will become much easier and more profitable. Plus, your drivers will be able to make more trips safely and earn a larger salary. Once your company earns a reputation for excellent efficiency it will attract customers and your fleet will be able to easily handle the increased opportunities.

A Vehicle Maintenance Log

Each vehicle in your fleet should have a vehicle maintenance log showing the services and repairs it has received and when. This can make it easier to manage its preventive maintenance schedule and prioritize specific vehicles with issues requiring immediate resolution to keep them running properly. Following a maintenance system like this can
maximize a fleet's profitability and help its trucks running for many years.

Southern Tire Mart, Pilot Flying J Ink Tire Maintenance Deal

Pilot Company and Southern Tire have signed an agreement that will product an alliance strategically positioning both companies as major players in fleet maintenance sector. The new venture will combine the expertise of tire distributor and installer with nationwide presence of Pilot’s truck stops and service areas, which spans over 750 locations. As a result, fleet operators will see higher efficiency through reduction of downtime, with significantly improved drivers’ experience and convenience. Over 100 new centers are planned to be built by the summer of 2022.

Key Takeaways:

  • Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J will combine the strengths and conveniences of Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers with the tire and maintenance expertise of Southern Tire Mart.
  • Despite the abundance of training material and step-by-step instructions provided by wheel component suppliers, industry associations and others, wheels continue coming off trucks.
  • Bearing-related wheel-end failures are often caused by over- or under-tightened bearings or lack of lubrication.

“Southern Tire Mart and Pilot Company recently reached an agreement to create a new, strategic alliance called Southern Tire Mart at Pilot Flying J.”

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What is the Difference between semi-synthetic and fully-synthetic vehicles?

We all know how important it is to keep your vehicle well lubricated at all times and there are two different types of oil that can help you to achieve this. Synthetic oil and partially synthetic oil. The difference between synthetic oil and traditional oil is that you can use this to up your performance, it also degrades slower so you won't need to fill up with oil as often. The partially synthetic oil does have some benefits but won't be as good long term.

Key Takeaways:

  • Fully synthetic oils are distilled which allows them to degrade at a slower rate and lead to better performance.
  • Fully synthetic oil has fewer impurities, it better protects your engine and it also reaches it's destination quicker.
  • Semi-synthetic oil has benefits such as better fuel economy, better price and better engine defense when it comes to heavy loads and high temperatures.

“Fully synthetic oils are necessary in newer vehicles with turbocharged engines as they operate at much higher temperature than standard engines.”

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Investing In Premium Trucks Attracts More And Better Drivers

Commercial trucking plays a major role in the American economy. About 70% of the U.S. freight moved each year is handled by trucks. Commercial trucking generates over $700 billion each year. However, a shortage of drivers is threatening the smooth functioning of the trucking industry. Companies large and small are finding it difficult to attract and retain well-trained, experienced, dependable truck drivers. One effective strategy a growing number of trucking companies are using to attract the good truck drivers they need is investing in the purchase of top of the line premium trucks.

Premium Trucks Attract Top Truck Drivers

Truck drivers tend to gravitate towards companies with high quality, well-maintained, premium trucks. With the looming driver shortage that is threatening to hurt this very lucrative, essential industry, savvy trucking fleet owners are paying attention to this fact and upgrading the quality of their fleet. One in five drivers who leave companies do so because the trucks they are asked to drive are old, not properly maintained, lack the right safety technology and don't run well. On the other hand, companies with the premium trucks find it easier to attract and keep all the drivers they need to succeed and grow. 

Why Drivers Are Drawn To Companies With Premium Trucks  

There are several simple reasons truck drivers want to work for trucking companies that have premium trucks. Truckers get paid based on the number of loads they haul and how many miles they drive. A premium truck enables a driver to transport loads over longer distances faster and easier. Plus, premium trucks work better and the driver does not
have to waste precious time and miss out on the opportunity to make more money because the truck they drive regularly breaks down and has to be repaired. Safety is another reason drivers want to work for companies with the best trucks. Truck drivers want to know they can make their runs in inclement weather and rough terrain safely.

A Good Strategic Move

For trucking companies that want to ensure operational consistency and attract and keep top-caliber truck drivers, bolstering their fleet with new premium trucks is a good and smart strategic move. It enhances the company's image in the eyes of the drivers, shows they take driver safety and comfort seriously and want to make sure their drivers can
make as much money as possible. In an industry where keeping drivers happy and on the job is more important than ever before, investing in the premium quality trucks drivers enjoy driving is a winning strategy. It signals to drivers their safety, comfort and economic successes is important to you.

Having Quality Assets

Purchasing premium trucks benefits trucking companies in other ways. Customers will be more likely to do business with them because they know their trucks will be able to get to their destination on time while keeping the items being transported well protected. Good trucks are quality assets that add value to a trucking company. By having quality assets, a trucking company will be better positioned to get and keep good drivers and attract more business and take advantage of the lucrative opportunities available in the marketplace. Investing in premium trucks can lead to a great return on investment. 

Safety, Efficiency And Accountability

Buying high quality trucks gives trucking companies the stability and flexibility they need in these uncertain economic times. Plus, it gives them the additional operational diversity they want as they handle challenges associated with the safety, efficiency and accountability of their fleet and their drivers. Investing in premium trucks can help trucking companies address some of their unique business challenges. It changes the way potential customers view you. They are more confident that fleet owners with new premium trucks will understand their business concerns, deliver the cargo intact and on time and will not leave them in a bind.

A Major Step

Purchasing a fleet of brand-new, premium make and model trucks is a major step. But if you talk to drivers, their consensus perspective is investing in premium quality trucks puts your company on a higher level. It shows your long-term vision for your company takes into consideration what drivers want and how best to provide them with it. When
a company gives drivers new, premium brand trucks with the latest safety, communication and infotainment technology to drive, it means they want to give drivers the chance to earn a huge salary. That enhances the company's image and attracts the top drivers.

A Variety Of Important Benefits

Investing in premium trucks provides trucking companies and drivers working for them with a variety of very important benefits. The company is viewed as a “premium brand”. Plus, it sends a strong message to the drivers that the trucks will be well maintained and they will be able to earn a high salary. The trucks will consistently deliver good fuel economy and performance, intangible and hidden costs that can negatively impact pricing loads are eliminated and uniform fleet management will be easier. When there is an entire fleet of new, high-quality trucks, every driver will be able to get lots of good loads.

A Win-Win-Win Proposition

When trucking companies invest in premium trucks, it creates a win-win-win proposition. Customers can hire those companies confident their cargo will be properly protected and arrive on time and intact. Drivers will be driving excellent trucks that run well and have all the latest driver-assistance and safely technology that enables them to make
more trips and more money more comfortably. Company owners will have their pick of the best drivers and jobs, make more profit and be able to quickly pay off their trucks. It can be of great benefit to all involved when trucking companies make the commitment to get premium trucks.

Powerful, Durable Engines And Transmission And Diverse Safety Systems

Companies actually save money when they build their fleet using premium quality trucks. These vehicles have powerful, durable engines and transmissions that work smoothly for many years when they are properly maintained. The new trucks also have a diverse range of technologically advanced safety systems designed to protect the driver, the truck
and the cargo being transported. These safety systems qualify the company to get lower insurance rates that can save them thousands of dollars. When drivers are happy, they are more productive. When customers are happy they spend more money. And safer trucks makes the drivers, customers, insurance company and the trucking company owner happier.

A Waiting List Of The Best Drivers

There is a growing shortage of truck drivers. Some companies respond to this by cutting corners and still lose drivers. Some bold, savvy, trucking companies deal with it in another way. They invest in premium quality trucks drivers and customers love. Many of those companies now have a waiting list filled with some of the best trucking industry drivers from which to choose and a growing roster of lucrative clients. The decision to invest in the best trucks is already paying dividends. Offering drivers premium trucks that they enjoy using and treating them well, has helped many of the most successful trucking companies to attract more and better drivers even during a driver shortage.

[Video] New Lube Service Reminders With Multiple Criteria Report

In the video below you'll discover how to use the new Lube Service Reminders with Multiple Criteria Report that was released in TATEMS Fleet Maintenance Software version

This new report lets you filter the Lube Service Reminders by Equipment Type, Lube Service Type, Location, Customer, Department or Area.

You'll can also sort the report by Equipment number, Sort Order Number, Miles/Km to Go, Hours To Go, Days To Go, Location, Department or Area, Customer or Lube Service Type.

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How Truck Automation May Change Roadside Inspections

You now have trucks that are capable of much more than they were ever used to being capable of on their own. Trucks aren't driverless and likely won't be for a while, so there is always a driver to do all of those little things that an automated vehicle cannot do on its own. When it comes to inspections, vehicles will still need to be inspected even with the automated things in place for all those things that aren't automated.

Key Takeaways:

  • Because its an emerging issue, how to deal with the advent of autonomous trucks, remains problematic. For example, legislation may have not even been thought of yet for certain circumstances.
  • What the protocol for dealing with a vehicle minus a driver is yet to be finalized.
  • An enhanced and more thorough pre-trip review may be one way to deal with the evolving possibility of driverless trucks.

“Asked for his thoughts on how CVSA and the overall enforcement community is viewing the advent of highly automated and eventually fully automated (aka autonomous or “driverless”) trucks, Schaefer told HDT Talks Trucking that “it’s a very fluid discussion. We established some recommendations for policy at the end of 2019. They're evolving. So, what we recommend might be a little different in the near future.”

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Southern California Fleet Turns to Volvo to Electrify Operations

The California truck company known as Dependable Highway Express, is going for a more sustainable future as part of its core mission going forward. To that end, the company has taken big steps to improve its profile vis a vis climate and air quality measures. Part of this initiative has included taking on two new Volvo electric trucks. With the successful inclusion of the two vehicles into the DHS fleet, the company has signed an agreement to take on 10 more such vehicles in 2022. Meanwhile, the company's strong commitment to environmentally friendly energy and sustainability is continuing very much on point. To wit, the company has added Class 8 trucks, batter-electric yard trucks and charging equipment to their infrastructure. The charging equipment services fleet needs and company employee vehicle needs as well. Solar panels and energy storing options have also been added to the company's receiving facility. Much of this lauded move to sustainability falls under the management of the Volvo Lights project. This is a tandem project instituted between Volvo Truck and South Coast Air Management Quality District, as well as a host of like-minded organizations. The goal has been to introduce these electric trucks into the market at scale.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dependable Highway Express has been turning to sustainability efforts as they've been trying out two new Volvo electric trucks since last September.
  • The South Californian carrier has plans to purchase ten more Volvo trucks by 2022.
  • A statement from Volvo claims that their partnership with DHE has been pivotal to the success of the Volvo LIGHTS project.

“Through the Volvo LIGHTS project, DHE introduced Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 trucks, battery-electric yard trucks and forklifts, charging infrastructure for fleet vehicles and employees’ personal vehicles, as well as solar panels and onsite energy storage at its shipping and receiving facility in Ontario, California.”

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Kenworth Adds Front Air Suspension Option for W990

Kenworth is now offering their W990 with an optional Kenworth AG130 front air suspension which will bring this heavy weight titan into a new class capable of supporting 13,200 pounds. The new suspension is special proprietary technology that will allow for faster repairs and a more comfortable drive. This new suspension is available on the T680 and T880 models as well. This is a welcomed move forward for the Classic truck and Kenworth customers should be quite pleased.

Key Takeaways:

  • As of mid-month January of 2021, the Kenworth Company has optimized its W990 with availability of the AG130 front air suspension option, rated at 13,200 pounds.
  • The W990 is the Kenworth bread and butter vehicle, it's most classic truck design. The model features 131.5 inches from bumper to back of cab.
  • Besides gracing the iconic W990 model, the new front air suspension option will also be available in the Kenworth T680 and the Kenworth T880 units.

“Kenworth said in a news release that its proprietary AG130 front air suspension uses an innovative design and high-performance components to provide serviceability while reducing the total cost of maintenance and ownership.”

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Electric Trucks Conquer Pike’s Peak

Colorado's famed Pike's Peak, which was named for a military explorer in 1908, is a grueling piece of natural architecture which has been a proving ground for even the staunchest of motor vehicles. With the advent of the emerging automotive industry arrived a need to best one another in proving the to have the best vehicle endurance. A trek up Pike's Peak was the approved venue for such quests to prove vehicle endurance and capability. The long and winding path includes more than a hundred turns. Because of the length, drivers often must expect differences, sometimes amounting to extremes, in weather change, as they mount to greater elevations. This natural test-ground for automotive worth has stood the test of time as the gold standard of how strong a vehicle can claim to be. Of late, two new trucks have endured the challenge to prove that sustainable and zero-emission vehicles are just as capable of rugged terrain as the next truck. The Paccar Company threw its hat into the ring with its Kenworth truck, likewise Peterbilt has put forth its own sustainable model. Both vehicles are victoriously claiming that their sustainable model is the first of its type to make it to the apex of the peak.

Key Takeaways:

  • An army explorer by the name of Zebulon Pike founded the highest peak in the south part of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Originally Zebulon named it Zebulon's Mountain but everyone call's it Pike's Peak because it's simple.
  • To get to the top drivers must make 156 tough turns and drive through tough weather conditions many times even when it starts out sunny.

“A carriage road to the summit of the mountain was the perfect place for manufacturers and drivers alike to showcase their technology, durability and skills on a tough, 12-mile course that begins at 9,390 feet elevation and finishes at 14,115 feet.”

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Paccar Parts Introduces Charging Stations for All Electric Vehicles

Paccar Parts is anticipating the global launch of electric vehicles by revealing new charging stations. They are releasing multiple fast chargers that are rated up to 920V DC. Chris Scheel says that they offer a range of products that range from 20 KW to 350 KW. They anticipate that their chargers will get a truck up to full battery in around four hours. They are compact is size which is nice for the urban market.

Key Takeaways:

  • Early in 2021 Paccar Parts has proudly lifted the veil on a stunning institution, the creation of new electrical charging stations.
  • This successful launch on the part of Paccar Parts is meant to synch with the global launch of electrical vehicles world-wide.
  • The station is designed to work with an array of vehicle types and brands, including Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF electric.

“The 20 kW charger option is a UL-certified DC Wallbox and the perfect charger for commercial parking and fleet or dealership service facilities. The low power DC charger is easy to install and ideal for vehicles with extended dwell times.”

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