Preventive Maintenance: Are You Ready for Post-COVID-19 Return to Business?

Apr 22, 2020

The impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been felt across the supply chain – from logistics firms and distributors to manufacturers, suppliers and motor carriers. Even as countries that felt the first wave of the pandemic such as China begin to recover and slowly get back to business, it’s difficult to predict a recovery timeline for the U.S.

Whether you are an owner-operator, or you have an entire fleet of trucks, focusing on preventive maintenance now will make sure you are ready to roll when the time comes. 

Here are a few of the preventive maintenance measures you can take now (and on a regular basis) to help spot potential problems and minimize the risk of breakdowns. 

Driver Inspections

Driver inspections are probably the most effective way to keep trucks in good condition. Pre- and post-trip inspections, where drivers record findings and any concerns, should include looking at critical fluids, lights and windshields, brakes, suspension and shocks as well as tires and air hoses. 

Tires

Since tire maintenance can represent about one-third of the cost of total truck maintenance – it’s important to check tire pressure often. Under-inflated tires can lead to premature wear and tear. It can also cause tires to overheat, increasing the potential for an accident. 

Brakes

There’s no question that failing brakes are the biggest cause of accidents involving semi-trucks, which can result in damages and even third-party law suits. That’s why in addition to regular driver inspection, it’s important to have a professional service brakes regularly. 

Drivetrain and Engine

Drivetrain and engine problems are notorious for taking trucks off the road. Drivers should keep an eye out for signs of trouble such as a loss of oil pressure, decrease in power and excessive smoking. Having a maintenance provider conduct compression tests as well as monitor exhaust and engine coolant temperatures will also help keep trucks on the road. 

Body Corrosion

Rust that forms from the chemicals and sal used to treat ice leads to corrosion. There’s no way to prevent rust, but corrosion can be slowed by:

– Removing big paint chips
– Washing trucks at least every 10 days
– Spraying door locks to protect from moisture
– Cleaning the rig immediately after rain, snow or sleet
– Avoiding parking or driving in large puddles
– Storing trucks out of the elements when not in use 

Lube Fittings and Parts

City driving and short trips can be hard on an engine. It’s important to lube all applicable fittings and parts – steering, drivetrain zerks and suspension – with high-quality grease before each trip. Drivers should also check for slop and leaks in the drivetrain at the same time. Installing a pre-lube system ensures trucks deliver oil to parts as needed using an electric pump. A tuber timer is also helpful for providing alerts when engine heats up too much. 

Gas Tank

To keep the engine running smoothly and the fuel flowing freely, try to keep the tank free from moisture and contamination. A maintenance provider can recommend the best moisture control treatment. 

Driver inspection is only part of keeping trucks on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that all carriers have a preventive maintenance schedule in place and that all trucks parts be in “in safe and proper operating condition” at all times. Plus, sinc  18-wheelers are subject to roadside inspections at any time – it’s crucial to keep up with maintenance. 

Regardless of how large or small your fleet is or where you’re located, FYX Preventive Maintenance services can help with all this and more, keeping trucks in compliance and in good working order.

For more information, please contact FYX: 800-888-1001 | sales @fyxfleet.com

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