preventive maintenance for trucks

Preventive Maintenance For Trucking Businesses

Whether you are starting small with your trucking business or opening a big one, preventive maintenance programs should be on the top of your to-do list. You can market all you want, give discounts and promos to gain loads of clients but you also have to make sure that your trucks can handle the load. 

Did you purchase brand new trucks for your business? Or did you get used ones to save some cash on the start-up expenses? Either way, all those trucks need a preventive maintenance program to keep them in their best shape for longer.

Additionally, it’s a requirement that you check, repair and maintain your vehicles plus the equipment used. Make sure that the maintenance procedures get done and documented properly so you won’t get in trouble and your trucks will last. We’ll tell you how to get that done below.

What Is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is something that isn’t only applicable to trucks for trucking businesses. It is also needed by most of the machines to make sure that they are functioning at their peak performance. That helps maintain safety, quality and efficiency of the machines.

Preventive maintenance doesn’t always mean doing complicated procedures. Most preventive maintenance procedures are simple and small. Examples of those include cleaning, checking of fluid levels, oiling and simple inspections done by the naked eye. Additionally, it may also involve replacing parts that are prone to wear and tear due to use. Such parts would include air filter, tires, brake linings, and others.

The main purpose of having a preventive maintenance program is to help save on cost in the long run. When parts are properly cared for, they are less likely to get damaged. Apart from that, replacing parts that tend to wear down before they are completely worn down prevents serious issues that are likely to be more costly. Additionally, this also helps keep the safety of the truck driver plus all others who are near the truck. 

Steps To Creating A Preventive Maintenance Program

It may seem that creating a preventive maintenance program is costly and complicated to implement. It could, by getting organized and following these steps, can help you make it simpler and easier to do. 

Step 1: Make An Inventory Of Your Fleet

The very first thing you need to do is to note each of the vehicles that you have in your fleet. Even if the trucks are the same models, they may still require different maintenance procedures. That’s because they may be used differently. The roads they travel and the conditions they go through may not be identical. 

The maintenance program for each of the trucks will depend on a variety of factors including the miles they covered, the fuel systems they use, the weather conditions they go through and the type of truck they are. It can seem complicated at first but having a list will make things a whole lot simpler. 

Plus, you also need to have proper and accurate maintenance records for each of the vehicles. The records are required to be kept for at least a year as long as the vehicle is still in use. If the vehicle is decommissioned, you still need to keep the records for at least 6 months. 

Step 2: Schedule The Maintenance Of Each Vehicle

Use your least to help you plan when each vehicle should be due for maintenance procedures. As we’ve mentioned, the maintenance procedure will depend on various factors. That is also true for the schedule of the maintenance procedures. 

You can base the schedule with the vehicle’s engine hours, mileage, and fuel levels. Sometimes, you can also have preventive maintenance ahead of schedule. This could be done when the truck is already near the service station. In that way, you can better use the downtime between the trips and be more productive. 

Step 3: Train Your Drivers

Your drivers should be trained not only to drive well but also to inspect the trucks they drive. They are the first ones to notice whether their trucks aren’t performing well or if it seems that something is wrong with them. 

Train them to do pre-trip inspections. You can even create a checklist for them so they won’t forget any part. Divide the checklist into categories to make it easier for everyone to do the inspection. Inspection should fall on categories such as the brakes, tires, fluids, and electrical.

Step 4: Document And Keep The Record

The checklist you provide for your drivers is a great way to start the documentation process of preventive maintenance. Keep the checklist together with the other records of repairs, replacements and checks done on each vehicle. 

Although paper documentation is an option, digitally saving them on the computer makes the records more organized and less likely to get lost, stolen or damaged. Additionally, digitally saving them on the computer also makes it much easier to search for the records in case you need to. 

trucking business

Starting Small With Your Trucking Business

Many people aim to be able to build a thriving business for their own. If a trucking business is on your mind, then you should be prepared to take the leap and get into the trucking industry. Starting your own trucking business now is a great idea because the trucking industry is getting better and better. The demand for products and for moving freight is high, even in this digital world.

It’s true that there are other larger trucking companies that have an impressive fleet of trucks in the thousands. However, smaller trucking companies also make up a huge percentage of the trucking industry. Most of these small trucking companies only have a handful of trucks for their service. There is certainly room for more trucking companies such as the one you are going to start.


Keeping Up With The Trucking Industry Trends

In order to stay afloat, all trucking companies regardless of size should learn to cope with the current industry trends. It’s a competitive world out there and you need to learn how to keep up with the demands of customers or you’ll lose them.

Even if you’ve been in the business for quite a long time, there are still things you can change for the better. Here, I will share with you some of my discoveries on what you should do to your trucking business.


Team Driving on the open road

Team Driving: Great for Some, Hell for Others

Hello again – it’s Ryan and I’m finally back after 3 months of paperwork requests, delays, and hard work negotiating with my bank, I finally have the permits and funding in place to start my own logistics and trucking company!

Thanks to everyone for their help and support!

While I’ll have another post on this process later this year, I did want to spend some time on an aspect of my career when I was first beginning in the trucking biz.


Basic Requirements of Becoming a Truck Driver

Tired of your old job? Maybe trucking might strike your next job destination thought as it pays off well. Trucking career packs the goods of both world, it’s challenging yet rewarding at the same time.

Targeting the truck driver vacancy isn’t that easy as it looks, you need to fulfill some basic requirements first. This piece of writing will reveal you the very basic needs of becoming a truck driver.


Is Truck Driving Only For Males? Find out!

With rising demand, the trucking industry needs to get smarter in order to address the shortage of workers it’s facing. According to American Trucking Association, there is an urgent need of 48,000 drivers nationwide. They also project that this shortfall is only going to rise in the coming years. Do you know that out of all the workforce in the United States, 47% consists of women workers? But when you see the stats in the trucking sector, women drivers are only 4 – 5%. This has been the case for more than 2 decades now. If we can get more women drivers, this shortfall will quickly come down.



New Regulations for Commercial Truckers – What You Need to Know…


Driver shortages that are already hurting trucking companies could worsen as lawmakers propose new regulations that analysts say would exacerbate the problem.

With unemployment low and many older truckers retiring, finding qualified drivers has become an industry challenge.

Regulations that would require extensive commercial driver training and limit hours of operation – thereby increasing drivers’ time away from home – will only make things worse, industry analysts said.

But they also acknowledge that limiting drivers to fewer continuous hours on the road and increasing their training would make the roads safer, something that also improves the industry’s image.

Driver shortages affect more than just trucking companies, said Noël Perry, a trucking industry analyst at FTR Transportation Intelligence.

Because transportation firms will likely have to pay more for training, wages and the procurement of trucks and trailers necessary to haul cargo, they’ll have to raise rates.

One proposal, which calls for increasing the hours of training that entry-level drivers will need to obtain a commercial driver’s license, will cost as much as $5.6 billion over 10 years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a March Federal Register report.

Retailers and manufacturing companies that rely on truck shipments to keep their businesses operating will pay the increased costs — and likely pass the rate hikes on to their customers.

The industry is challenged by another requirement that drivers electronically, rather than manually, log their driving activity, which may put a crimp in productivity by forcing them to rest more often.

Log books have always been a part of truck driving. But by requiring electronic logging devices, or ELDs, regulators can more accurately gauge how long drivers have been on the road.

Although newer drivers aren’t opposed to ELDs, veteran drivers who’ve scarcely been monitored for decades are pushing back, said Dan Costello, the senior vice president for sales and marketing at TransForce Inc., which touts itself as the nation’s biggest supplier of staffing and support for trucking companies.

As older drivers retire or change career paths, the onus is on companies to find qualified employees to fill cabs, something proving difficult.

“It’s an aging workforce, and we’re not replenishing people as quickly as they’re leaving,” Costello said. “If more drivers don’t start entering the workforce and stay in, it’s going to be a much bigger problem in the future.”

Another proposal that could cut shipping productivity would require each new driver to have 30 hours of supervised time behind the wheel. That presents an impediment to hiring because of cost and lack of qualified instruction companies, Perry said.

“The issue there, as in all these cases, is capacity – the capacity in this case is that of the training schools,” Perry said. “This industry is extremely adaptable, so they’ll solve the issue, but the question is how long it takes them to solve it. It won’t happen overnight.”

Driver-training companies can train about 125,000 students annually, which likely isn’t enough to supply the number of new drivers needed each year, Perry said. If that rule is implemented, he said, the shortage will only get worse.

The solution to the driver shortage is reducing regulation rather than increasing the number of laws governing the trucking industry, said Costello of TransForce.

As it stands, the law says only those 21 and over can operate a Class A vehicle. Getting rid of that regulation and allowing those 18 and over to drive would make a serious dent in the shortage, he said.

If trucking companies can capture a subset of 18-year-olds straight out of high school, there’s a better chance they’ll become lifelong drivers, industry veterans say.

The American Trucking Associations safety board has discussed lobbying lawmakers to allow 18-year- olds to drive Class A vehicles to help ease the shortage, Costello said.

“If someone is 18 and they’re not going to college, they’re going to find some vocation immediately,” he said. “They’re not going to wait around three years to become a truck driver.”

He said developing a truck driving vocation program might be helpful in guiding high school graduates into the industry.

However, Costello conceded that having 18-year-olds driving an 80,000-pound load isn’t without its risks, and said insurance companies would raise concerns if it were to happen.

There’s always another solution. The industry could pay higher wages, he said.

“You can’t change the hours, you can’t change the equipment, and you can’t change the job,” Costello said. “So we’re going to have to find some way to recruit people into the industry … make the pay higher.”

Truckers on the Move

How Much Do Commercial Truck Cost to Drive?

Running a commercial rig ain’t cheap. Whether you’re an employee at a logistics firm or an independent owner / operator you’ll need to be hyper-aware of the cost of driving and maintaining your truck. Running a logistics operation can be profitable, but if you’re not on top of your costs,runaway expenses can kill a logistics business profitability nearly overnight. In this articles we’ll cover the typical costs involved with running a commercial truck, including fixed and variable costs. We’ll also share some good advice on how to save costs and ways to keep up on book keeping.

Fixed Cost Considerations

Fixed costs represent recurring expenses sustained by simply keeping your rig in service whether it’s driving or not. Typical logistics companies fixed costs include:

  • Insurance
  • Truck Payments
  • Storage
  • Mortgages
  • Ongoing rental costs
  • Licenses / Permits

By totaling these costs on an annualized basis, owners can parse the totals into monthly or weekly increments to determine the break-even point for maintaining the business. For example, it the total annual fixed costs of operation are $32,500 for a commercial rig, it takes $2708 per month or $625 per week of fixed costs to maintain the operation. Owners can then determine the net benefit of any individual run as well as the potential loss due to maintenance shutdowns or holdouts based on a more lucrative job.

Variable Costs

Variable cost will directly fluctuate in accordance with the number of miles driven per truck. That being said, not all variable costs are created equal Many variable costs, like maintenance, will decrease per mile as the total number of driven miles increase. Fuel, on the other hand, will directly coincide with the number of miles driven and the price of fuel on the market. Typical variable costs for the logistics / trucking include:

  • Fuel
  • Fuel Taxes
  • Maintenance
  • Tires
  • Tolls
  • Broker Costs

Let’s take a minute and discuss the “king” of all variable costs – fuel. With all the talk of falling oil prices, fuel costs still reign supreme as the largest expense in commercial trucking, representing a whopping 35% – 40% of the TOTAL costs to operate a commercial truck. This critical cost factor can be a competitive advantage for costing a potential job if you can use more efficient diesel engine or fuels like a bio-fuel mix.
Next on the list of big costs is Maintenance. Typically representing around 7% – 10 % of total costs of operation, maintenance needs to be carefully considered and scheduled every year.

Profits / Salary for Drivers

If you own your rig, you’ll need to pay yourself with any leftover money after expenses. For business owner of logistic companies, driver have to be paid promptly for the work being done. Generally, salaries take up around 20 – 25%% of the expenses one is putting in. For businesses with a large payroll, you’ll need to understand there are multiple levels of experienced driver out there, and each one will have his or her salaries. Seasoned drivers will take more than new ones, but there are benefits in going with the experienced hand. The chances of short-term troubles (i.e. accidents) popping up with an experienced driver can make it worthwhile to foot the bill and pay more.