With 164,000 miles of road in the U.S., there is ample opportunity for accidents, mechanical failure, and normal wear and tear. Drivers and fleet managers must constantly be aware of this, keeping trucks in optimal conditions. They must stay compliant with road regulation and keeps businesses running smoothly. In addition to U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, there are state and local laws drivers must adhere with to ensure safety on the road. At an estimated 7% of overall revenue, repairs and maintenance can cut into any logistics and distribution company’s bottom line. With a bit of foresight, Preventative Maintenance (PM) will not only ensure vehicles remain compliant but increase safety and prove to be more profitable in the long-run.
Of the 5.6 million registered heavy duty trailers & trucks in operation today, one fact is certain–they must be on the road to make money. With 300 billion miles logged each year, PM ensures fleets stay on the road longer with fewer breakdowns and downtime.
Preventative maintenance combines best practices employing more frequent service intervals. A typical safety inspection or maintenance checks lubrication, fluids, brakes, lights, & tire conditions should be done approximately every four months or 10,000 miles. PM would halve this to occur every two months or under 5,000 miles. Industry studies have shown that fleets participating in PM have as much as 20% decrease in days off the road due to service and repair.
This can mean as little as conducting pre and post inspections with every ride. And industry technologies are improving year by year providing a great deal more that can help in this respect. Cloud-based maintenance software monitors the lifecycle of each component. It then links with fleet and repair shop management to schedule timely and efficient repairs with other vehicles. There are even personal apps that will provide diagnostic alerts for upcoming maintenance. Concerns by drivers can be logged directly into the system and coordinated with managers as well.
An engine alone on a heavy truck can cost $60,000 plus. Most warranties will not cover this, or any part of the powertrain if the damage is due to neglect. When key components of an engine give out due to overheating or grinding, replacement cost can be prohibitive, taking the entire vehicle off-line. By avoiding these outcomes altogether, the cost of depreciation is limited, maintaining the value of your asset over time.
With long-term use, leaks in the cooling system are inevitable especially in the charge air cooler (CAC) located in front of the radiator. This cools the hot air as it travels from the turbo to the intake manifold and can cost you in mileage and higher diesel expenses. Checking the system frequently and keeping it pressurized can prevent this leakage and save thousands in the long run.
Preventative maintenance ensures heavy trucks remain road-worthy and in compliance with regulations. This allows fleet managers to better control costs and focus on their core business needs.
 U.S. Department of Transportation statistic.