Many long-haul trucks you’d see on the road are in bad shape. Their engines also spew out soot, risking the health of pedestrians and hurting the environment. For those reasons, trucks are perceived negatively by the public. It doesn’t help either that many road accidents with fatalities involve trucks.
But in truth, trucks do not have to emit carbon excessively, and they’re not bound to deteriorate over time. More importantly, they shouldn’t be seen as a threat on the road. Any long-haul truck can stay in tip-top shape, even if they’re already ten years old. If you can keep a vintage sedan looking new, you can surely do the same for your truck fleet.
One possible reason many trucks deteriorate is maintenance costs. A trucker who’s constantly reducing expenses may trade maintenance for greater savings. This is a grave mistake because poorly maintained trucks will indeed be a threat on the road. Not just because of the pollutants they’d emit, but the truck’s components may break down easily and risk the driver’s safety.
So apart from staying on schedule with preventative maintenance, here are the other crucial maintenance facts truckers should know:
1. Your Trucks are Your Assets, Not Tools
Your fleet isn’t a tool that you can replace when they go bad. The trucks are your assets as they’re the revenue drivers. Regarding them as assets instead of tools is one key to maintaining your fleet. You’d also save money on new trucks because you’d preserve what you already have.
In addition, assets are used to boost cash flow and profit. Hence, well-maintained trucks can increase your productivity, because they would rarely break down and cause delays. This would allow your drivers to meet their quota at all times. Your clients, on the other hand, will place greater trust in you, and your value in the market may increase as a result.
2. Your Drivers’ Skills and Habits Affect Truck Maintenance
If your company spends too much money on fuel, the trucks may not be the problem. It could be your drivers instead. Bad habits, like idling, increase fuel consumption. Speeding and stopping abruptly do the same.
Hence, ensure that your drivers are not just experienced, but responsible road users, too. If they’ve developed bad habits during their employment, re-train them. Educate them on the impact of bad driving habits, and refresh their knowledge of warning dashboard lights. Create a policy in which any sign of a maintenance problem is to be reported to you immediately. And of course, do your part and have all reports addressed as soon as possible.
3. Aftermarket Parts aren’t Created Equal
Buying aftermarket parts is an option if you’re unsatisfied with the performance of the original equipment manufacturers (OEM). However, shopping for aftermarket parts should be done with care. They’re not created equal, even if they’re generic. Just because a part looks the same as the original doesn’t mean it’ll perform as good or better.
Study the specifications and see if the manufacturer understands the parts’ applications. In addition, choose top-notch heavy-duty parts from reputable sources. You should also receive after-sales services, such as warranty, technical support, and/or training. If a manufacturer or retailer doesn’t offer after-sales services and appears to have a poor understanding of their products, consider that a red flag.
4. Expensive Doesn’t Mean Better, But Price Matters
Pricey parts aren’t necessarily better than affordable ones. But the price tag can also indicate important factors like the brand, reputation, and source. For example, a part from an international brand would have a higher price tag than a locally-sourced part. But the latter could have the same quality despite being cheaper.
Take note of these factors when you shop for parts. Local or imported, a reasonable price should promise top-class quality, compatibility, and functionality. The cheapest part could be flimsy, while the most expensive one could only offer aesthetics and nothing more. So look for a balance between performance and price.
5. The Drivers’ Health Affect Fleet Performance
If bad habits affect maintenance, healthy drivers will affect your fleet’s performance positively. How far can your fleet travel to with a given amount of fuel? Does its mileage indicate optimized productivity? If your fleet isn’t transporting enough cargo, it could mean your drivers are burnt out. On the contrary, if your drivers are healthy and alert, they can make more deliveries and help your business achieve more.
So don’t forget your drivers’ health as you look to boost your fleet’s performance. After all, your fleet can’t move without drivers.
Take note of these maintenance facts to grow your business even more. Well-maintained trucks with skilled and responsible drivers at the helm are the backbones of your business. Invest in them the most.