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Complete Preventive Maintenance Is More Than a Diesel Oil Change

Technician Performing Preventive Maintenance

Is it time to set up or adjust your PM program? Save big and maintain the health of your truck by using these helpful tips for comprehensive preventive maintenance.

When many owners, operators and fleet maintenance managers begin considering the scope of a PM program for their truck or fleet of trucks, their tendency is to jump straight to engine oil drain intervals, viscosity and type. This is likely because a modern 15 liter engine could cost upwards of $50,000 - but let’s not forget the rest of the truck.

Pay attention early on, as it will save you big bucks later on

On day one, consider the residual value of the vehicle at the end of the truck’s life cycle. For example, most that purchase a new vehicle do not pay enough attention to unacceptable vibrations, which could shake the rivets loose in the cab over time, reducing the residual value of the truck when it’s time to trade or sell it. New trucks should have no to very minimal detectable vibrations throughout the speed ranges.

If a vibration is detected, then diligence must be taken to discover the source and correct it. If not, the vibration becomes normal to the operator and will be ignored and accepted through the life of the vehicle. Experience tells me that 60% or higher of new trucks have an alignment or vibration problem on day one. What may seem like a normal shake could result in thousands of dollars later.

Another area of concern as you begin to set up or adjust your PM program is to focus on chassis lubrication. Engine oil drain intervals can be extended under the right circumstances, but extended chassis lubrication intervals with engine oil drain intervals is a common mistake that leads to expensive premature replacement of components like u-joints, slack adjusters and steering joints.

So, reference the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals, lubrication intervals and try to avoid coupling diesel oil changes to chassis lubrication for a long and happy truck life.

Finally, let’s not forget the auxiliary components attached such as a reefer, APU or liftgate. Experience tells me that these out of sight and out of mind add-ons are not as easy to track as the truck or trailer. Therefore, they often fail to receive the maintenance they so desperately need.

The APU or reefer, for example, may get the oil and filter changed but likely the added attention to lubrication, inspection and adjustments just go unnoticed. The liftgate may be the most overlooked component on a truck and receives the least attention. So, remember while you are focusing on oil and filters, don’t neglect lubrication and inspection, especially, on those components and parts that work hard to help keep you running safely and on time.

Come into a TA Truck Service location where we can help you decide what PM program is best for you and your truck’s well being, as well as perform any protective measures necessary. To our highly-trained technicians, preventive maintenance is more than just a diesel oil change.

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