Establishing a routine for vehicle maintenance prevents breakdowns
I know I have mentioned it before, but our trucks are the most precious assets in each of our companies. They cost the most to purchase, they are the most expensive to repair, and without your trucks your business will come to a screeching halt. So that is why routine maintenance is a must for all of us.
We have all been there. It is midsummer, business is booming and a truck breaks down. Maybe you are lucky and you have a spare truck sitting in your yard. But most likely, especially this time of year, every truck is out on the road. So now you have to spend your day rescheduling deliveries and rearranging routes to get your work done and make sure all your customers receive service. This means wasted time and a lot of aggravation, but all of that can be avoided with a little bit of planning.
To prevent breakdowns from occurring, we do a series of checks on a weekly basis to keep our trucks in great working condition. We like to do this routine maintenance on the weekend, so that precious weekdays aren’t wasted and our drivers can start the week with fresh trucks.
Every weekend we check all the fluids in the trucks. Oil, windshield and brake fluid are the most important. Every 10,000 miles we replace the oil and filters. We also test the brakes each weekend to find the percentage of brakes left. This is monitored weekly so we know when to replace them. In addition, we grease all moveable parts such as the pins and drive lines. We also take the time to wash all our trucks so our fleet is sparkling clean come Monday.
We also take the time to apply sweet oil to the vacuum pumps on our trucks. Without taking the time to oil them, your pumps will burn up quickly. Given the fact that an average pump costs a couple thousand dollars, this step is definitely justified. Because what good is a pump truck without a working pump?
This scheduled maintenance helps prevent any major breakdowns. It also keeps our fleet in top working condition. It may seem tedious and costly and if you don’t have a mechanic on staff, it means finding a mechanic who can fit you in on a routine basis. But given the fact that the average pump truck costs around $150,000 and most operators have more than one truck, I think this is money well spent.
Taking the time to care for your vehicles means they will serve you well for years to come.
About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.
What is your maintenance schedule like?