3 Must Do's to Ensure General Truck Maintenance

The best way to avoid costly repairs to your truck fleets as a manager or business owner is to have a preventive maintenance program in place. With consistent checkups for your trucks and commercial vehicles, you’ll ensure you meet DOT regulations and road checks. Truck maintenance is also a vitally important safety measure for drivers, shipments, and road-sharing traffic.

1. Schedule Truck Maintenance

Truck fleets should have periodic, scheduled maintenance checks, based on the truck and trailer mileage, type, and age of the vehicle. Maintenance calendars (whether  manual or software) should be created based on your business and truck additions. Increase the lifespan of vehicles and reduce safety risks by enforcing preventive maintenance.

Preventive (and scheduled) truck maintenance often covers:

  • Brake inspection

  • Proper tire inflation

  • Alignment and steering inspection

  • Lighting and electrical inspection

Discover typical truck maintenance scheduling types and inspection options. Proactive maintenance requires a dedicated calendar to track all trucks in your fleet. Assign maintenance responsibilities to key members of staff to ensure follow-through, per mileage and timing from last maintenance.

Don’t have a preventative maintenance program in place? Read a helpful Government Fleet article on how to implement a preventative truck maintenance program.

2. Encourage Driver Inspections

Drivers are the most important piece in maintaining trucks. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections should be recorded and any concerns addressed immediately. Every driver in your truck fleet should be properly trained to inspect their vehicle.

Important truck maintenance items for the driver to watch include:

  • Oil changes, transmission fluids, and engine fluids

  • Lights and windshields

  • Brakes, suspension, and shocks

  • Tires and air hoses

Review the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance Guidance Section. Supply drivers with a pre- and post-check inspection checklist or log to record issues. If you notice a pattern of recurring maintenance needs on the same truck or with the same driver, check whether there is a deeper training or ongoing part issue.

3. Prepare for Seasonal Needs

No matter the season, it’s prudent to get your truck ready for it with maintenance checks on often-used equipment during that time period. For winterization, preparing engines with fuel additives, ensuring heaters are working safely, and checking tire tread and chain readiness is imperative for the snowy roads ahead. For summer, maintain your truck’s blow fan, air conditioner, and clutch to prevent overheating of essential truck parts.

Spring is perfect for checking for the damage done to your truck during the hard winter. Double check for rusting and part and structure wear, along with corrosion spots. Fall is ideal for gearing up for winterization needs before the first snow catches you off guard. Check with truck manufacturer manuals for recommendations on how to prepare your truck for seasonal changes, which may vary by make and model of your truck or commercial vehicle.

Bringing It All Together

Scheduled services are only the beginning of truck maintenance. Individuals, owners, drivers, and manufacturers all combine efforts to make sure each truck on the road is safe, legal, and ready for the challenges placed on it. Planning helps deflect major expenses and accidents that come from letting trucks fall out of repair, and help the vehicle last as long as intended. Add to this equation, proper part replacement and correct truck use, and you’ll enjoy a truck fleet that’s ready for the long haul.

Contact your local Wheelco for more maintenance tips.