Breakdowns can be costly. When your entire business rides on the safety and performance of your commercial truck or commercial equipment, protecting your investment is priority #1.
Buying a used truck makes good sense for many owner-operators and small fleet managers. The purchase of a new truck can tie up a considerable amount of working capital, despite the fact that it depreciates considerably the minute you drive it off the lot. For many, used trucks are simply a more affordable option. Yet, there’s a greater risk that a pre-owned vehicle will require repairs or experience a breakdown sooner than later, despite regular maintenance. To plan for these inevitable repairs, you generally have two choices. You can set money aside each month in an account earmarked for repairs or the better option, purchase a comprehensive aftermarket warranty to manage your overall risk.
When your entire business is riding on the safety and performance of your heavy-duty truck, protecting your investment is job #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 transmission.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a commercial truck maintenance checklist and it suggests that you should inspect your truck before each trip and then do 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 OEM/Aftermarket warranty
- Engine malfunction or breakdown Aftertreatment performance slow down
- Loss of horsepower
- Transmission and aftertreatment breakdowns