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Increase the Lifespan of Your Truck and Business

Keeping your truck on the road is the best way to save money. Whether you own a fleet, or you are a truck driver, treating your vehicle with care could help you be more cost-effective and efficient. You save money by lengthening the lifespan of your truck. In keeping your business running smoothly, maintenance can ensure that a truck outlives its usefulness. When you want to keep your vehicle running for many years, following a few easy steps can help.maintain lifespan of a semi truck for drivers and fleet owners usa and canada, mechanic tips

Maintain The Tires

Consistently maintaining the best average psi for the tires can increase the length of time the tires last on the truck and reduce wear. A way to maintain proper psi is to also consider the loads the truck is transporting, looking at load type and size. Normally, tire pressure will lower under certain conditions, so weather and load size are things to look at when figuring out your tire psi situation. 

You want to make sure the air pressure is not too much or too little. Too much air pressure affects the handling and performance while too little will mean the rubber increases in temperature and then friction is increased, causing wear and tear. You want to avoid heat when it comes to the tires.

The pressure you aim for is between 105 and 110 psi, though the owner’s manual may be able to provide you the specifics for your truck. You do want to consider the axle load and tires per axle, weather and speed of the truck. For a 12,000 lb steer axle load, at least 110 psi is the sweet spot, as that’s 6000 lbs per tire.

You will also want to make sure the tire rotation is right. More time on the road results in tires wearing unevenly, so rotating tires regularly is important. The alignment and load distribution can affect the wear on a truck’s tires, so every 6000-7000 miles you want to make sure the tires are rotated, or at the least perform inspections to keep on top of the wear.

Tire alignment is a safety issue as well as a maintenance focus. Uneven alignment results in uneven wear on the truck’s steer tires, and can cause issues with steering and performance.

Modernize Vehicle Inspections

Regular inspections are essential in identifying any issues or repairs a truck needs, and fixing them before things get worse. For fleet owners, shifting toward using technology can increase efficiency of submitting DVIRs and performing inspections. Drivers can submit their daily vehicle inspection reports (DVIR) using apps, with technology cutting out the time it takes to transmit information. Using an app allows drivers to complete inspections out on the road and upload results instantly online to a fleet management software, to get any issues taken care of quicker.

Recording inspections using an online software or app can help maximize the response time and find it easier to access the data as needed as it is stored online. Paper logs take time to sift through, but using technology can make it easier to keep up on top of inspections, needed repairs and maintenance. 

A thorough inspection should be done every six (6) months.

Preventative Maintenance

Maintenance is the art of keeping something working as well as it can, without going broke. You want to stay on top of any issues before they arise, and get basic servicing about every 15,000 miles or every 3 months. Taking a truck off the road is going to cost you money, so making sure you fix things before they become an issue can help you run smoothly. You want to change fluids and batteries, or complete any other repairs, regularly.

Preventative maintenance may feel like a bit of a chore, but servicing or maintaining the truck regularly, not just when issues arise, increases its lifespan. You can use engine hour intervals or the odometer to identify periods when the vehicle needs to go into the shop for some fine tuning. You may benefit from changing batteries around every 3 years, or testing them yearly to make sure they have enough to power the truck, in order to prevent the waiting period for the vehicle to start running again after a battery dies unexpectedly.

Clean the Truck Often 

Making sure to clean the interior and exterior of the truck can help prevent early rust or deterioration. Weather can cause rust due to the chemicals or salt content on the roads. Washing the contaminants prevents them from eating through the paint as fast. The trucks undergo a lot of wear and tear through the trips, so looking after the basics is important.

Gentle With Your Engine

Properly maintaining the engine will increase the lifespan and performance of the vehicle. Checking for leaks, changing the gearbox fluid and engine oil regularly should be part of the maintenance routine. Check on the engine belts for any signs of wear and tear, and replace when needed. Oil filters do have to be replaced occasionally, as every few thousand miles can wear on the truck. Changing the oil regularly prevents the engine from wearing down as quickly by reducing friction. Monthly fluid and light checks are key to keeping the truck running longer and in good condition.

It may help to think about the money that will be saved when you don’t have to pay for a new engine!

Check Brakes Often

Every two to three months, a professional should be looking at the brakes on the truck, in order to avoid costs of buying new brake pads or other parts. They should be maintained during every oil change, as a general rule. 

Regular Air Filter Checks 

Regularly checking and making sure the air filter is clean can help reduce fuel consumption and improve engine performance. A clogged air filter can result in a reduction in the amount of air going to the engine, which reduces its power and fuel economy. If you drive on dusty or dirty roads, checks should occur more often. A new filter should be used after every 30,000 miles (maximum).

Smart Driving

The most effective way to ensure the lifespan of the vehicle is in the way you drive it. Watch the speed and don’t overheat or push the truck. Your specific vehicle will likely respond differently, so read some of the manual when you can, and trust your instincts. Stop and go driving or bumpy roads will damage the truck, so tread cautiously when it comes to certain parts of the road, as best you can.

You also want to keep in mind that the odometer reflects the motion of the truck, but not so much the idling. When you can, try to limit idling time not only to save gas but also prevent engine wear and tear.

Keeping your truck on the road is crucial to your business as both a truck driver and fleet owner. Truck maintenance is more than just oil changes and tune-ups, it's also about investing in your vehicle and keeping it on the road longer. You're saving money and making sure it's in tip-top shape. Your truck is your business. Take care of it, and it'll take care of you.