You already perform a basic pre-trip inspection on your truck before you even take it on the road. But are you checking all of the things that you need to check to ensure that your truck keeps on trucking? A preventative maintenance plan is important in your personal vehicles. In a commercial vehicle, it is beyond important. Improperly maintained vehicles will perform worse and could burn far more fuel than they otherwise would.
Even without the surprise repair costs that a poorly cared for vehicle can cause you, these slight degradations of performance can add up to a lot of extra money per year spent on topping off burnt or leaking oil and compensating for reduced fuel economy.
In this post, we’ll go over some of the most important things to check on your vehicle and what can go wrong if they are not functioning properly. Following this checklist will help ensure that your truck, and your business, operate at peak efficiency.
Daily checks are things that your drivers should be doing every day before they take the truck out.
- Engine oil levels – Top off the oil as needed. If the vehicle is going through oil faster than usual, it could be signs of trouble.
- Coolant levels – Refill coolant as needed. Like oil, keep a lookout for usage out of the ordinary.
- Fluid leaks – Check under the vehicle to ensure that no fluid is leaking onto the ground. Fluid leaks should be checked out as soon as possible.
- Tires – Check the wear on the tires and make sure that they have the proper air pressure. Also, check for signs of visible damage.
- Belts and hoses – Make sure belts and hoses are not overly loose and do not have any cracks or weak spots.
- Body, glass, and mirrors – Check the body of the truck for any damage that might cause problems while driving. The glass and mirrors should be checked for cracks and chips.
- Horn – Test the horn to make sure that it is functioning correctly.
- Seat belts and seat structure – Make sure that the seat itself is secure and that the seat belts are not frayed or weakened in any spot.
- Windshield wiper system – Make sure the windshield wipers turn on and there is fluid in the reservoir.
- Braking system: Basic – Make sure that the brakes are functioning correctly. If there is any unusual play in the system, or it the brakes feel as though they have lost stopping power, have them checked out.
- Exterior and interior lights – Check all of the lights on the vehicle to ensure that they are functioning. This is especially important for turn signals, brake lights, and headlights.
- Wheels and rims – Check the wheels and rims for any signs of damage that might throw off the balance of the tires or weaken the tire’s seal to the rim.
- Steering – Make sure that there isn’t any unusual play or difficulties in your steering. Check and top off power steering fluid.
Routine checks are things that are a part of scheduled maintenance, such as your annual inspection, oil changes, and tune-ups. Consult manufacturer guidelines and your mechanic for time frames as they may vary depending on the vehicle and the usage. Many of these can be combined into the tune-up and annual inspection trips.
- Braking system: In-depth – Check the condition of the brake pads and the mechanical components of the brakes. Replace or repair as needed.
- Engine oil and filter changes – Regular oil and filter changes will ensure that your engine doesn’t need unnecessary repairs later. Your manufacturer will recommend an oil change schedule.
- ECM Download – The Engine Control Module is the electronic brain of your computer. It can give clues about potential problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. Occasionally, there may also be software updates for it.
- Fuel system – A thorough check of the fuel system, including filter and injectors will ensure that your engine is running at peak efficiency. Poorly performing injectors can reduce efficiency and should be rebuilt. Also check to ensure that oil and debris are not getting into your fuel supply.
- Cooling system – Perform a more thorough check of the hoses and fittings of the coolant system than you do in your daily inspections.
- Suspension system – Ensure that the parts of your suspension are all in good operating condition. Poor suspension can not only decrease ride quality but increase wear on other parts of the truck.
- Alignment – Checking the steering alignment can help balance the wear on the tires and provide better control of the vehicle to the driver.
- Undercarriage and frame – The undercarriage should be checked to ensure that all mechanical parts can move freely. Any bushing and grommets should be checked for signs of wear. Your truck relies on tight connections for mechanical parts. Worn bushings and grommets should be replaced.
- Engine and transmission mounts – Worn mounts can cause unnecessary vibration or difficulties in handling. If they get too bad, more serious problems can develop. They should be checked to ensure they are still firm and holding well.
- Annual Inspection – Annual CVIP inspections are required by Alberta Transportation for heavy-duty commercial trucks. They check to make sure that your truck is road worthy and might alert you to problems that you may have missed.
- Dyno – Putting your truck on a dyno can help identify missing horsepower and diagnose loss of performance or fuel economy. It is a cost-efficient way to ensure that your truck is operating at peak efficiency.
As you can see, there are many things that you need to keep an eye on during your daily operation of the vehicle. Many other things should be done on a regular schedule. Some are best done by a qualified professional. Others, such as the CVIP inspections and dyno testing, can only be done by a professional.
To set up a maintenance schedule for your truck, or an entire fleet, contact us today. With scheduled visits in place for the routine maintenance at our shop and your own diligence in your day to day operations, your truck will always run at its most efficient.