There are millions of truck drivers strewn across the United States pulling trailers cross-country. That pace of moving freight is only picking up as populations explode and demand for goods increases.
If you own a trucking fleet, you’re no stranger to the demand for your services. What may be foreign to you, however, are common fleet maintenance mistakes.
Not sure how best to care for your trucks between runs? Are you hoping to get more longevity out of your fleet and improve your company’s efficiency?
If those things sound good to you, keep reading. Below, our team breaks down regular fleet maintenance mishaps that avoiding will create conditions where you can make more money.
Ignoring Preventative Work
When your truck stops working, you know it’s time to get it fixed. After all, a stalled truck means stalled earnings.
But what if you could avoid your truck going down altogether? While there’s no magic-bullet solution to avoiding repairs beyond a shadow of a doubt, investing in preventative maintenance is your best hope.
Know what your truck’s maintenance schedule looks like per its manufacturer. Stick to it like clockwork.
In doing that, you’ll not only limit your odds of a breakdown but you’ll also maintain your truck’s warranty status.
Not Having Your Maintenance Person Come to You
The larger your fleet gets, the more difficult it’s going to be to drive your trucks to a maintenance location to get work done on them. The good news is that just about every maintenance service worth its salt offers a form of on-site care.
What on-site care means is that a professional will come to your lot and work on your trucks overnight (or during other down hours) so you don’t have to lift a finger to get critical work done on your rigs.
Yes, fleet maintenance costs will go up if you have services delivered. When you factor in the opportunity cost you’re saving though, we think the investment is well worth it.
Devaluing Niche Expertise
Not all trucks are built the same. If you have trucks that are manufactured in America, Europe, and Asia all sitting in your fleet, make sure your maintenance person has expertise managing engines from each of those places.
We’ve seen a great many well-intentioned mechanics botch a European engine because they assume that everything works the same as the domestic vehicles they’re used to.
While it’s certainly not out of the question to stretch a mechanic’s expertise, if you can find someone that specializes in your needs, pay extra to work with them.
Forgetting to Assess Your Driver’s Role in Maintenance Issues
Are you finding that every time you get routine maintenance, one of your truck’s breaks are worn out more than it should be? Are you noticing a tractor’s tire tread looking worst than the rest of your fleet’s?
These sorts of problems may be attributed to driving style more than anything else. To that end, if you think a problem is likely a bi-product of the way a driver is handling your vehicle, have that conversation.
With a little bit of coaching, you may be able to save money on future maintenance and potentially help your driver operate their vehicle more safely.
It may not seem like an integral part of your regular fleet maintenance routine but believe us when we say that cleaning your truck is important.
From a pragmatic perspective, getting a good engine wash can prevent oil and other elemental build-ups that could cause fires. From a more superficial perspective, when your truck is moving down the freeway, it’s advertising your business. The last thing you want is for that advertisement to be about how little you care about the condition of your property.
Fortunately, most maintenance teams offer on-site washing services.
Not Considering Your Fuel Needs
As you’re enjoying the time-saving benefits of getting your trucks worked on in your lot and washed, don’t forget about fuel. Getting fuel is a regular time-waste in your driver’s schedule that reduces the number of loads your vehicle can pull in a year.
As a solution, fleet owners are investing in fuel delivery services that get a company’s trucks on full before a day of work. Imagine avoiding trips to the gas station and the amount time/liability that could save your fleet!
Going With a Provider Solely Out of Convenience
A lot of fleet owners hire maintenance people, washers, and fuelers that already have a relationship with the lots where they park their trucks. That could be a good idea or one of the most expensive fleet maintenance mistakes you can make.
Compare rates and reviews with other services before working with a provider solely out of convenience. You may be able to find a more quality service that’ll save you thousands of dollars per year just by doing minor diligence.
You’re Now Privy to Common Fleet Maintenance Mistakes
Avoiding fleet maintenance mistakes means avoiding trucks falling out of service and losing money. Those are all important things if you’re interested in maximizing the ROI on your fleet, which many company owners have to do to stay afloat.
We hope that our tips have helped put into perspective the value of preventive maintenance among other things in the world of trucking. If you’ve read this post and find yourself harboring more questions, we’re got you covered!
Feel free to explore more of the big-rig content we have on our blog to continue fulfilling your need to know.