Spring maintenance tips to maximize safety and uptime

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Spring maintenance tips to maximize safety and uptime

Winter weather can be brutal on vehicles and equipment, making spring an ideal time to zero in on preventive maintenance. Proper inspections and timely repairs are crucial for keeping trucks rolling safely and efficiently while maximizing uptime throughout the rest of the year.

Here are a few aspects worth paying particular attention to:

Comprehensive air system inspections

Winter freeze-thaw cycles, road chemicals and moisture can severely compromise air system components. During spring inspections, make sure to focus on:

Air dryers: Look for corrosion around purge/pressure protection valves, governor connections, and the desiccant cartridge seats. Replace cartridges if not done in the fall, using proper oil-coalescing cartridges.

Air tanks: Steel tanks are prone to corrosion and small punctures from chemicals and debris. Replace any severely corroded tanks.

Air lines & fittings: Plastic tubing can crack or break due to harsh winter conditions. Check push-to-connect fittings for leaks and replace any damaged lines or fittings.

If you notice that it takes significantly longer (3-4 minutes) to charge the air tanks compared to normal operation, that’s a sign of air system leaks. Increased charging frequency also indicates leaks and places excess strain on the dryer cartridge.

Meticulous Brake Inspections

Corrosion, missing components, and wear can severely compromise brake operation and compliance after winter. Keep these factors in mind during inspections: 

Friction: Look for cracked, missing, grease/oil contaminated, or excessively worn linings. Replace friction axle sets per OEM specs.

Brake chambers & hardware: Ensure dust plugs are seated to prevent internal contamination and check stroke adjustment. Examine mounting hardware, air lines, and components like slack adjusters for damage and/or corrosion.

Air disc brakes: Check rotors for cooling fin obstructions and surfaces for corrosion. Don’t forget to inspect caliper boots, guide pins and shear adapter covers.

And remember, proper lubrication is vital — grease all bushings, cam tubes, clevis pins, and automatic adjusters to prevent moisture buildup and corrosion.

Valve Maintenance for Optimal Brake Response

Sluggish brake feel can indicate valve seal degradation from exposure to corrosive de-icing agents used to clear frozen air systems. In addition to replacing any sticky and/or leaking valves, inspect and replace valve O-rings that may have been compromised by chemicals.

It’s also a good practice to thoroughly inspect the air system’s driers, tanks, lines and fittings for any moisture buildup. Lingering moisture can lead to corrosion inside valves over time, causing sticking conditions. 

Taking the time to thoroughly clean out the entire air system helps prevent valve issues before they develop. With careful inspection and timely valve maintenance, fleets can restore ideal brake feel and responsiveness.

Streamline fleet inspections and maintenance with Whip Around

Fleets can further boost their spring maintenance program’s effectiveness with Whip Around’s incredibly easy-to-use mobile software. The app guides drivers through complete vehicle inspections, easily identifies defects with photos, and seamlessly relays issues to the maintenance team. 

This transparent communication enables proactive repairs before small issues become big problems. Whip Around gives fleet managers the digital preventive maintenance platform they need to maximize safety, compliance, and uptime while reducing costly downtime.

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