Semi-trucks are the livelihood of your trucking business; that being said, it is critical to ensure that your fleet is healthy and properly maintained. Keeping up with semi-truck maintenance will make trucks last longer and run stronger.
Proper maintenance will cut costs on fuel, unexpected repairs, and stranded driver pay. Companies that take care of their fleet inherently achieve better customer satisfaction by keeping up with schedules; those same companies will have happier employees who are safer and more productive.
Semi-Truck Maintenance Checklist
Following a semi-truck maintenance checklist is the first step in being organized. An organized structure allows for trucks to stay on schedule, drivers to work in lower-stress conditions, and customers to be satisfied.
Regular maintenance inspections ensure the safety of the drivers and others on the road. Having vehicle problems increases the likelihood of an accident. Even delays can be hazardous for drivers, adding stress and placing drivers on the side of the highway. These preventable situations not only bring hazards for your drivers but for others on the road. Regular inspections on semi-trucks are important to keep everyone safe.
- Fuel pump
- Braking system
- Hydraulic brake inspection
- Air brake inspection
- Wheel alignment
- Blinker lights
- Engine oil
- Fluid levels
- Check for leaks (oil leaks)
- Windshield wipers
- Emergency equipment
Having drivers go through a regular checklist gives the driver opportunity to catch an issue before it becomes a major problem. The drivers may also find and resolve an issue before hitting the road. Drivers following a maintenance checklist before the trip will prevent the driver from becoming stranded or ending up in an emergency situation.
Semi-truck maintenance checklist for drivers:
- Tire pressure
- Tire tread
- Last oil change
- Seat belts
- Interior lights
- Air conditioning and heating systems
- Check cargo for loose assets
Know Your Semi-Truck Fleet
Having a semi-truck maintenance checklist is a great way to ensure organization for your fleet, but knowing your semi-truck fleet is just as important. It is essential to know what vehicles are in your fleet and where each semi-truck is located at all times
The type of semi-truck may affect vehicle maintenance, the parts needed, and the truck’s lifespan. Knowing your fleet will make it easier to know what parts to purchase, the type of oil to use, and how to properly care for the vehicle.
Keeping record of the make, model, and year of the semi-truck will also make it easier to track recalls. It is important to track recalls because the company will likely do the repairs and replacement of the parts. Tracking recalls will save money on future maintenance and the issues that caused the recall.
What to know about each semi-truck:
- Make, Model, age
- Size and weight of truck
- Vehicle’s history
- Reported accidents
- Last scheduled maintenance
- Upcoming scheduled maintenance
- Vehicle owners
Make sure to track semi-truck locations. Knowing the location of each vehicle is essential for optimizing fuel, asset control, and driver safety. Knowing where each vehicle is located also prevents theft. As soon as a vehicle is out of place, it is easier to figure out why and what is happening. If there is a problem, someone other than the driver will know immediately.
GPS tracking is a great way to keep up-to-date on the location of each vehicle. Other than maintenance, GPS tracking has other benefits such as notifying customers of their shipments or if there is a delay. A great program to use for GPS tracking is Samsara.
Electrical maintenance for semi-trucks is very important. Electrical maintenance is something that should be checked by drivers before hitting the road. Electrical can affect things like emergency lights, turn signals, and your horn. Electrical maintenance is essential for various safety features on a semi-truck.
Electrical maintenance affects:
- Interior lights
- Exterior lights
Trucks need to meet standard safety requirements in order to even legally drive. Obviously, it is critical to stay up-to-date on these inspections. Not only does regular safety inspections prevent lawsuits but it keeps everyone safe including employees, other drivers, pedestrians, the semi-trucks, and the inventory on the truck. Safety inspections go a long way in the fleet maintenance business.
Safely requirements and regulations:
- Brake lights
- Turn signals
- Emergency lights
- Windshield (check for damage)
- Defrost heater
- Oil pressure
- Fire extinguisher on truck
Properly Trained and Safe Drivers
Safe driving not only keeps the drivers and others on the road safe but safe driving preserves fleet and cuts cost on maintenance. Training drivers on safe driving methods is part of semi-truck maintenance.
Proper training for drivers can help maintain truck parts such as keeping the brakes intact. It is recommended that drivers get regular training sessions on safe driving and to monitor drivers. Samsara provides a program to monitor and make sure the equipment is being used properly.
Safe driving methods:
- Speed limits
- Breaking properly
- No cell phones while driving
- No distractions
Fleet Maintenance Schedule
Creating a fleet maintenance schedule is the most effective way to care for your fleet. Scheduled maintenance ensures that routine maintenance is completed on time so trucks do not miss simple maintenance such as a regular oil change or tire rotation.
Scheduled maintenance for a fleet can take a lot of effort, time, and paperwork. However, software is available to help manage fleet maintenance schedules. Whip Around is a great software to use to schedule fleet maintenance.
Semi-truck maintenance enhances safety and effectiveness of your entire fleet. It is critical that the fleet is properly assessed before hitting the road. Semi-trucks are the livelihood of your business, therefore you must know your fleet and take care of the vehicles. The vehicles are meant to get the drivers and cargo safely to their destination.