Around 70% of the nation’s goods are transported via trucks. Powerful diesel trucks keep the supply chain running, and the economy would quickly slow to a halt without them. That’s why it’s important to maintain your fleet of diesel vehicles. Every piece of equipment is vital in making sure your goods reach their destination on time. A failing engine or damaged vehicle could cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenue in addition to the cost of repairs. It’s best to repair your vehicles before problems arise, thus minimizing the amount of time they are off the road. Use these tips to improve your approach to diesel fleet maintenance.
Create a Maintenance Checklist
You can’t manage your fleet of diesel engines without understanding what each vehicle needs. Every make and model comes with its own specifications and maintenance requirements. You can keep track of when your vehicles need maintenance by referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Most parts and components need to be repaired or replaced on a regular basis. Cleaning and changing out the diesel particulate filter, replacing coolant levels and replacing the air filter are among the most pressing items that need to be addressed. For example, most diesel trucks need to have their oil changed twice a year and diesel fuel filters should be replaced every 10,000 to 15,000 miles.
Add these maintenance intervals into the checklist to stay on top of your responsibilities as a fleet owner. Log the mileage of each vehicle into the system to make sure you don’t forget to make these changes when they are needed.
Source: ValDan22/ shutterstock.com
Watch Out for Warning Signs
The manufacturer will tell you when to make these repairs, but the maintenance interval depends on a wide range of factors, including the overall condition of the vehicle, how and where you drive and how much weight you are towing. Knowing exactly when to make these repairs can be a challenge.
If you wait too long, you run the risk of further damaging the engine, which can lead to costly repairs. The recommended maintenance interval is only a placeholder. If you hear strange sounds behind the wheel or the truck isn’t performing as well as it should, this is usually a sign that something is wrong. You may need to move up your maintenance timeline before the problem gets any worse.
Every member of your team should be aware of these warning signs, so they can report them when they occur. This may include a hard start, no start, grinding sounds, a sudden loss of power, declining fuel efficiency and increased turbo lag. Teach your workers how to identify and diagnose certain problems with the engine based on the reported symptoms.
For example, many diesel engines will lose power and fuel efficiency if the injection pressure regulator (IPR) valve is not working properly. The valve is responsible for setting the psi on the direct fuel injectors that deliver fuel to the combustion chamber. Your workers should watch out for symptoms of a failing IPR valve, so they can fix the problem as soon as possible.
Certain diesel engines are also known to cause problems. They may excel at hauling and off-road driving, but most of them usually have at least one weak spot. This will inform your maintenance schedule as well. You will need to move up the repair schedule when working with vehicles with known reliability issues. For example, the Ford 6.0 Powerstroke comes with a bad exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) cooler. This can lead to overheating, increased NOx emissions and coolant leaks. Find replacement EGR coolers 6.0 online to resolve the issue.
Source: MNBB Studio/ shutterstock.com
Use RFID Tracking Tools to Keep Track of Your Fleet
More managers and trucking companies are turning to fleet management software to automate the tracking and maintenance scheduling processes. Users can quickly log information about each vehicle into the system, creating a robust, lengthy maintenance record that will stand the test of time.
You can also attach GPS trackers to your vehicles to position them on the map in real-time. The latest studies show 32% of GPS tracking users reported a positive ROI in less than six months. You can use this information to keep your drivers on schedule and coordinate with your business partners in the event of a delay. You can also gather valuable data on your operations.
Every fleet manager needs access to a trusted diesel parts supplier. You should be able to find all the parts you need online and have them delivered to your facility or a local auto shop. This is usually much cheaper than waiting to have the mechanic order the part on your behalf.
Keep this information in mind to keep your diesel trucks strong and healthy for years to come.