Are you a fleet owner, motor carrier, or owner-operator? Maybe you're just a for-hire driver. No matter your capacity in the trucking industry, if you are a vehicle owner you need to be completing maintenance.
One of the best practices to make sure all maintenance is being done up to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requirements is to have a checklist. This ensures that nothing will be skipped or forgotten about during servicing.
There are many things that should go on your checklist, to include routine maintenance, seasonal maintenance, and maintenance by mile. It may also be a good idea for your company to include maintenance for adverse weather conditions if there has just been a bad storm or a storm is coming.
Routine maintenance on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) is very similar to maintenance on your personal vehicle. These are usually the cheapest to maintain or fix, but if they are overlooked the repairs can lead to more severe issues and can easily become expensive. Some routine maintenance items include:
Changing the oil
Changing the filter
Tuning the engine
Checking the brakes
Rotating the tires
If you are in a place where there are drastic seasonal changes, chances are that you will need to do some seasonal maintenance. Both extreme heat and extreme cold can cause different components and systems of your CMV to wear out faster than expected.
During the summer months, your seasonal maintenance will be concentrated on the cooling and electrical systems, to include:
Air Conditioning: check for leaks and debris build up .
Coolant: drain, flush, and pressure test the system at least once a year.
Electrical system: check the battery for corrosion and ensure that wires are secure.
Tire pressure: ensure warm air does not raise the air pressure of tires over safe limits.
During winter, if your vehicle is encountering snow, ice and freezing temperatures, you will want to concentrate on safety components of your CMV to include:
Windshield: check for chips and cracking, ensure wiper blades are sharp, and defrosters are working properly
Power steering: check fluid levels, replace filter, replace pump.
Braking system: ensure your ABS is working properly before starting a winter drive.
Fluids: service the fuel filter and prevent freezing of fluids such as diesel fuel, exhaust fluid, coolant, and engine oil.
Tire tread: confirm tires have proper tread depth and have chains on hand.
Exterior: clean the cab and undercarriage regularly to avoid salt buildup.
Maintenance by mile
When building your preventative maintenance program, one area to consider building around is the mileage of your vehicles. Most vehicles come with manufacture guidelines on when maintenance should be performed, and most of your routine maintenance will need to be done based on the numbers of miles driven.
Even the best constructed maintenance can go up in flames when parts and components fail sooner than expected. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop defective parts from breaking but the best course of action to prevent this is a solid maintenance plan.
If you need assistance building a maintenance program for your fleet, contact Front Range Compliance Services and we would be happy to assist you. Our representative will come in and look at your fleet and come up with a plan that will work for you and your operations. Learn more at the link below.
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