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.