Tips For Taking Care Of Your Truck Or Heavy Duty Work Vehicle
Preventive Maintenance Programs & Elements
Preventive maintenance (PM) refers to regular, routine servicing to help keep your heavy-duty truck and equipment up and running – the goal is to prevent any unplanned breakdowns, down time and expensive costs. PM requires commitment and careful planning, as well as keeping records of past inspections and service reports.
Preventive Maintenance is a major key to the success and long-term durability for heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles. When preventive maintenance is done, your vehicle is inspected, repaired and maintained in a way that prevents issues and failures before they can happen in the first place.
When you are only bringing your vehicle to the shop when you know you need something fixed, this is called reactionary maintenance, not preventive. Reactionary maintenance is better than nothing, but will still lead to down-time and increased costs of repair. The goal with PM is to stop the problem before it happens.
On the other hand, when you bring your vehicle in for preventive maintenance, your vehicle is inspected and any items that are even close to their cut-off point will be immediately repaired. When you go this route, you prevent violations, accidents and down time.
Preventive maintenance is a commitment that a driver needs to make if they want the best for their heavy-duty truck. A commitment that their heavy-duty truck will thank them for. This means that you are always checking for things that could go wrong. And when you do this, you get the best, most cost-efficient repairs.
The PM method is used by many serious drivers in the industry, not only because it promotes conservation but because it saves money. When you take on the PM approach, your goal changes from getting the fastest repairs to getting the fewest repairs.
Preventive Maintenance Schedules
The maintenance portion of PM is comprised of scheduled inspections and servicing. Most PM services are designated in an alphabetical order (A, B, C, D, etc.) As you make your way up the alphabet, the service becomes more and more intricate.
A – This is generally considered a maintenance “check out” or safety inspection. This service is comprised of a safety check, lubrication and key component checking. Your service shop will also check and adjust highly used components. This service is advised at the 1,500 and 2,500-mile mark on light vehicles and between 5,000 and 10,000 miles on heavy-duty trucks.
B – This service will typically include all the items in you’re a-level service. But will also include an oil & filter change as well as in-depth checks of your truck engine and driveline. The typical service interval for this level of maintenance is between 10,000 and 20,000 miles for your heavy-duty truck.
C – This service includes everything included in A & B, with an even more extensive service included. You should expect alignment, component replacements, DOT inspection, etc.) We advise heavy-duty truck drivers to receive this service annually. Some even go as far as to schedule it every 10 to 11 months, just to be safe.
Trailers Need PM, just like Trucks Do
Your truck isn’t the only thing that needs an established PM schedule, your trailer and power units should have one as well. Trailers should really be exposed to the same preventive maintenance program as trucks – typical scheduling for a trailer includes:
T1/TA – This service is typically scheduled once every 3 months. You should expect your shop to inspect, lubricate and/or check your lights, tires, brakes, safety equipment, etc.
T2/TB – This service is scheduled once every 6 months. It will include all the components in T1, with an even deeper inspection and additional maintenance.
T3/TC – This service should be scheduled annually. It will include everything you get with T1 & T2, yet you get an even more extensive maintenance service. This includes any alignments and total brake overhauls.
All equipment in your fleet should be subject to a pre-service inspection, whether its new or used.
If you have a used heavy-duty truck, starting with a C-level service is highly recommended. In addition, any accessible nuts, bolts, adjustments, etc., which aren’t normally inspected, should be checked and adjusted. It can be critical to create a pre-service checklist of all your key components.
New trucks will also benefit from this process. When everything is new, you are usually less concerned about your unit’s overall condition – but you should still make sure everything is properly in place.
Make sure you also conduct pre-service inspections on all inactive vehicles that have been unused for a significant amount of time.
Preventive maintenance is a crucial component of a healthy truck and a happy fleet. Taking the initiative and spotting problems before they happen will save you time and money down the road. This simple service scheduling will increase the lifespan of your truck, it’s durability and its performance.