As a freight carrier, you’re in the business of moving the world’s business. Time and money are equally important. And, like any business transaction, unexpected costs often make the difference between cash in,
or cash out of pocket. Next to fuel and equipment, maintenance is one of the costliest aspects of the trucking industry. Merely keeping up with repairs and reacting to issues as they arise gives us a run for our money… literally. In order to minimize your expenses as much as possible, it is helpful to take proactive maintenance measures. Not only will this reduce your costs directly related to fixing the equipment, it will also provide additional savings in helping you avoid safety regulation violations, as well as unnecessary delays in getting the job done on time. Here are a few suggestions to keep your maintenance costs, stress levels, and time management in check:
1. Set Up a Calendar for a Personalized Preventative Maintenance Plan
Use a calendar to keep track of when certain truck parts and equipment require attention.
Scan/walk around your equipment from front to back and inside/out. Make a list of areas that require annual checks.
Follow the same process and continue your list with areas in need of quarterly, monthly, weekly, and even daily checks.
When you make this list, be sure it is a clear document that you can make copies of and keep with you while you’re on the road. Consult with a certified mechanic to make sure you’ve left nothing out.
Use a calendar to keep track of when certain parts and equipment require attention. Consider an electronic calendar on your Smartphone, tablet, or laptop that can alert you about regular maintenance checks so you don’t have to look them up.
2. Keep an “Every Trip” Checklist Handy Wherever You Go
The most common areas of maintenance may seem simple, but can have a huge impact on your ability to keep freight moving on time and without delay. Therefore, make a checklist similar to the one below and review it before and after every trip. Taking these proactive measures will help reduce the chances of a breakdown and/or a violation while on the road.
Pre and Post Trip Inspection List
Check All Lights and Signals: This includes any not working marker lights, tail lights, head lights, high beams, low beams, and turn signals.
Check Tire Thread on All Equipment: The tire thread must be greater than 4/32 on steer position and 3/32 on all other tire positions.
Check for Oil Leaks: Oil leaks may happen in the engine area, transmission, differentials, and/or wheel seals.
Check Air System for any Leaks
Make Sure the ABS Light on the Trailer Functions Correctly
Check for Proper Oil and Coolant Levels
Check for Cracks in the Windshield
Check Brake Shoes for Cracks
Check Air Hoses for Rubbing or Chaffing
A pre and post inspection list for your truck will remind you to keep up on maintenance.
3. Don’t Wait!
Routine maintenance of your truck saves both time and money.
The above tips are only helpful if you take action. Ignoring your preventative maintenance schedule or leaving even a minor pre/post trip inspection issue for a later date can turn into higher costs and a higher risk for safety problems. Whether your time is money or your money is time, maintenance and safety costs can burn through both quickly. Getting these simple steps applied in your daily routine will get you in the habit of preventative maintenance. And, that’s a great habit to have in your back pocket… along with all that extra cash.
What Does Your Maintenance Routine Look Like?
Regardless of what type of equipment you work with as a driver, being proactive in your maintenance routine can lead to big savings in terms of time, money, and stress. What are some things you make part of your routine to keep safety, maintenance costs, and delays to a minimum? Let us know your preventative maintenance tips by leaving us a comment below or chatting with us on , Google Plus, and Facebook!