At least one phone call a day is from a truck driver who is stranded somewhere with a broken down truck. It’s hard enough trying to earn a decent living hauling loads, squeezing a few pennies out of a sixty-hour work week, if not more, freight factoring your loads at a percentage, away from your family and home. The last thing you need is something to go wrong with your truck. And unfortunately, the unexpected breakdowns are usually the more expensive ones. Added to that, it can cause you to deliver the load late, damaging your reputation.
Remember when you first started driving and your dad, or mom, taught you how to check the oil and water levels and how to change a flat tire? Well, it’s the same principle, only on a much larger scale. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates that a carrier must have a program set in place to systematically inspect and maintain all vehicles under its control (whether you have one truck or 10,000 trucks) to make sure you are putting safe vehicles on the road.
Preventative maintenance is the key to success. It is a process that involves looking at your truck and determining: what to check, adjust, and lubricate; how often to check, adjust and lubricate; and when to replace or rebuild specific components or parts, and documenting everything in a log for yourself and roadside inspections.
Following the manufacturer’s specifications will help you decide ‘what to check’ with a little tweaking on your part. The ‘how often’ is not so clear-cut and would have to factor in what type of service your vehicle is involved in. Tracking by your mileage is usually a good gauge, along with the manufacturers’ recommendation, and then any minor adjustments you make based on your specific truck’s performance. Deciding ‘when to replace’ is more like determining ‘cut-off points’ for components based on measurements, time, or mileage, with the goal of replacing or repairing before there is trouble.
If your vehicle is being methodically inspected, maintained, and lubricated, and is passing all roadside inspections and not breaking down, then you probably have a solid maintenance program in place. If you continue to breakdown and fail inspections, you might want to revisit your program and find the holes.
Preventative maintenance is the key to success to keep you safe and rolling. At Pay4Freight.com, a truck factoring business, we strive to keep you rolling, too!