Sat. May 18th, 2024
How To Make Your Truck Fleet Last Longer?

Operating a fleet of trucks is a major investment for any business. Between the initial purchase costs and ongoing maintenance and operating expenses, keeping your trucks on the road can put a big dent in your bottom line. That’s why it’s so important to maximize the lifespan of your truck fleet through fuel delivery service, proper maintenance, and smart operating practices. 

Truck Maintenance Program: Ensuring Longevity and Reliability

Here are some top tips and best practices when it comes to making your truck fleet go the distance and last as long as possible:

Maintenance Program

The foundation of keeping your trucks running strong for years to come is adhering to a rigorous preventative maintenance schedule. Developing and sticking to a comprehensive maintenance plan is critical.

Oil Changes

Getting the oil changed at regular intervals is truck maintenance 101. Experts generally recommend changing the oil every 25,000 miles for heavy trucks. Using high-quality oils and filters is also important to help engines last.

Inspections

In addition to oil changes, your maintenance program should include:

  • Frequent trailer
  • Brake
  • Tire
  • Coolant
  • Other inspections to catch any potential issues early before they become costly problems

Maintenance Records

Keeping detailed maintenance logs for each vehicle allows you to track cycles and spot any recurring issues that need to be addressed. Digital maintenance tracking makes it easier to stay on top of service intervals.

Parts and Upgrades

Factory-authorized parts should always be used when components need to be replaced. You may also want to consider upgrading certain components like heavier-duty brakes if your fleet operates under very demanding conditions.

Repair Facilities

It’s best to use certified commercial truck repair shops and mechanics who specialize in your truck brands/models. They’ll have the specialized expertise, equipment, and tooling to properly service and repair your fleet.

Driver Performance Optimization: Maximizing Efficiency and Longevity

Driver Habits

The way your trucks are driven can have a major influence on longevity and operating costs. Developing good habits and providing training in this area is key.

Speed

Excessive speeding puts more strain on components and drastically reduces fuel economy. Setting a maximum speed limit of 65 mph can significantly improve mpg and brake life.

Shifting

For trucks with manual transmissions, training drivers in proper shifting techniques can reduce wear and tear on transmissions, clutches, and drivelines over time.

Braking

Avoiding overly aggressive braking prevents premature brake wear. Looking well ahead and braking gradually when possible is better practice than slamming on the brakes.

Acceleration

Similarly, taking it easy on acceleration puts less stress on components. An experienced driver with a light foot on the gas pedal can improve fuel economy and longevity.

Idling

Idling a diesel engine, even when stopped briefly, is highly inefficient and shortens engine life. These are designed for continuous operation – it’s better to shut engines off for stops.

Weight

Never overloading trucks beyond their gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). Hauling too much weight overstresses components and leads to premature failures.

Routing

Plan routes that minimize travel on poorly maintained roads with lots of potholes, sharp turns, steep grades, etc. Rough duty cycles accelerate wear.

Strategies for Longevity and Cost Reduction

Fuel Quality

Using top-tier fuels and avoiding lower-quality fuels can prevent premature fuel system component failures. Quality matters for both gas and diesel engines.

Operating Conditions

How your trucks operate makes a big difference when it comes to maximizing service life. Certain conditions are harder on components and require additional steps.

Off-Road

If your trucks frequently operate off the paved road, extra maintenance will be required. Change air filters, clean bolted joints, and inspect for debris and damage more often.

Dusty Environments

For trucks running in very dusty/dirty conditions, more frequent air filter replacements, radiator cleanings, and other measures may be needed to prevent excessive wear.

Heavy Idle Time

Trucks that spend a lot of time idling place different demands on components like starters and batteries versus over-the-road trucks. Additional PMs may be warranted.

Extra Accessories

If your trucks are equipped with accessories like hydraulic lifts, PTOs, cranes, specialized bodies, etc. those components will need maintenance too. Don’t overlook them.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Spec’ing low rolling resistance (LRR) tires can improve fuel economy. The downside is they typically have a higher up-front cost and don’t last quite as long as standard commercial tires.

Telematics/Remote Diagnostics

Telematics systems allow you to monitor truck health in real time and check diagnostic fault codes to handle issues remotely or intelligently route for service.

Techniques for Extended Life and Effectiveness

Driver Monitoring

Telematics also gives you the ability to monitor driver behaviors like speeding, idling, harsh braking, etc so you can provide coaching to improve habits and longevity.

Tire Monitoring

Equipping trucks with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) allows you to monitor inflation and alert drivers when tires need attention, preventing premature wear.

Training/Education

Proactively educating drivers on proper maintenance practices and operating techniques is another way to promote longer truck lifecycles.

Pre/Post-Trip Inspections

Conducting thorough inspections before and after trips allows you to catch issues early and make sure trucks are ready to roll again safely.

Emissions Maintenance

Making sure emissions components like DPFs, DOCs, EGRs, etc. are properly cleaned and maintained according to the engine maker’s service schedules.

Fleet Software/VMRS Coding

Utilizing a quality fleet management software package with VMRS coding can streamline maintenance, track PM cycles, issue smarter repairs, and generate useful reports.

Creative Repairs

In some cases, instead of replacing major components like engines or transmissions, it may be possible to rebuild or remanufacture them for added longevity.

Outsourcing Opportunities

For fleet operators without in-house service centers, outsourcing maintenance to trusted truck service providers can ensure proper care and maximize uptime.

Buy Trucks Right

The truck models you spec and purchase for your fleet set the foundation in terms of durability, reliability, and longevity from day one.

Consider Vocational Ratings

When speccing new trucks, make sure to choose the proper vocational truck rating (on-highway, off-road, construction, etc.) to match your intended duty cycle.

Component Choices

Similarly, the specific components, systems, and options you equip on new trucks like suspensions, axles, and engines should align with how they’ll be used.

Extended Warranties

To protect your investment, procuring extended warranty coverage puts a cap on certain repair expenses and provides extra peace of mind.

Fuel Delivery Service Near Me

Remember, longevity isn’t just about keeping your trucks on the road; it’s about ensuring the continued success and profitability of your business for years to come.At FuelSRV, we understand the value of efficiency and cost-effectiveness when it comes to gas stations in Downtown Vancouver. That’s why we’re dedicated to delivering top-quality fuel directly to your vehicles and bulk tanks, eliminating the need for time-consuming trips to the gas station.

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