How to Save Money on Truck Services
Finding a reliable and skilled service team for your vehicle can be difficult, even though it is worth taking the time to choose carefully. With a good service team and a solid understanding of what things the team should concentrate on when servicing your vehicles, you can save your company both time and money.
Money Saving Services
The following compiled list of preventative maintenance could save you countless dollars and headaches. These services allow you to become more familiar with your truck so you can recognize potential problems and ultimately save money improving your bottom line.
To boost vehicle performance and availability in a fleet, preventative maintenance should be implemented on a regular basis. If not scheduled regularly, the vehicle’s lifetime could drastically be reduced.
Vehicles—especially heavy-duty performing commercial trucks—are frequently used in all types of weather conditions and can be susceptible to expensive repairs. It is important that they are regularly maintained to prevent the driver and company from negligence and liability, while promoting safety for all on the road.
Fleet management services are a good investment for those who need to keep their commercial trucks on the road and running efficiently. Aside from the required maintenance, fleet management can assist in minimizing liability increasing productivity and cutting expenses.
Fleet services offered expressly by the company include:
Tracking and diagnostics
Driver, speed and fuel management
Health and safety management
One of the most crucial ways to save money on your truck is to keep your tires properly inflated. By checking your tires monthly, you could save a noticeable amount of fuel and money. Always check the spare tire, too.
Unbalanced tires lessen your control of the vehicle. The tires will also wear unevenly and even prematurely if not equal to their counterparts.
There is a common misconception that you should run with different tire pressure, depending on the season. Always keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s suggested pressure. You should check the pressure often regularly, but even more often in colder temperatures.
Remember that a cold tire may cause your car’s computer to flash a “low tire pressure” symbol. If this occurs, visually inspect your tires, and if they appear normal, chances are that the sensor has misread the inflation, due to the weather.
Tire Mounting and Balancing
Tire mounting and balancing are commonly required services for vehicles. Tires are expensive units themselves, so it is important to keep them in top condition so that they last.
Keeping your tires balanced directly correlates with how often you will need to replace them. Whether you are buying new tires or simply need a tire rotation, your tires should have the correct balance.
Tire balancing ensures the weight of your vehicle is distributed equally on the axle. When your tires are out of balance, your vehicle produces a lower-quality ride, and it wears down the suspension.
The benefits of good tire upkeep can save money for a commercial business in the long run. With properly executed balancing and mounting, money is saved through tires, fuel and the inevitable repairs that come from neglected maintenance. These services for commercial businesses, as well as electronic and dynamic tire balancing, are crucial for a working fleet.
Instead of completely replacing your wheels at the first sight of damage, you can have them assessed to see if they can be refurbished. Each wheel will be individually evaluated for the best possible course of action. The wheels are repaired, cleaned, primed and finished, leaving it in brand-new condition and saving the cost of a total replacement.
Suspension and Drivetrain
Both the drivetrain and suspension keep a vehicle balanced and allow the driver to stay in control. These components are important to maintain, as they keep the driver safe and the vehicle under control.
The drivetrain, otherwise known as the power train, is the system that generates and supplies the power to the truck that you experience on the road. A combination of the engine, driveshaft, transmission and differentials all work to provide power to the wheels of your vehicle. With a working and well-maintained drivetrain, the energy your truck produces will be economically utilized, making your vehicle more efficient overall
The suspension acts as a bridge, connecting the engine to power the wheels, while receiving the impact of the road on your vehicle. If you feel any swinging, bouncing or jerky movements, this could be a result of suspension trouble.
Your suspension system is comprised of pieces that work in tandem, and worn or malfunctioning struts and shocks can cause dangerous driving conditions. With a working suspension system, you are in full control of your vehicle, which is especially important for large trucks. A working suspension system improves control of the vehicle, as well as the braking and overall movement.
In commercial vehicles, the brake systems are highly engineered to transform kinetic energy to thermal, which causes your vehicle to stop. In a fleet, a maintained and working brake system increases the overall safety of the driver and other travelers during those long treks.
Maintaining your brakes can prevent failure of the vehicle and other potential damage. Regularly check your brake fluid, pads, lights and circuit. While you never want to wait until you have actual brake issues, here are some signs to look out for:
Unusual noises and grinding sounds
Spongy feeling when pressing the brakes
Pulling while driving
Leaking of brake fluid
Commercial Tire Retreading
New tires are expensive. Therefore, commercial retreading services are a viable option to create a new tread for worn tire casings.
Your first instinct when the tread on your tire wears might be to replace them with new tires. With tire retreading, this isn’t necessary. Major tires companies agree that the tires should be retreaded at 6/32nds tread depth to reach the casing life’s full potential and, in turn, increase the tire’s life.
In a commercial fleet, tire replacement is easily the highest cost associated with maintaining trucks. So, when a tire is worn and needs to be replaced, look at the tread depth of the casing to see if tire-retreading services are an option to extend the tire’s product life.
Another way to ensure your time is spent driving instead of spending money on costly services is too flat proof your tires. Flat proofing your truck’s tires will fully prevent flat tires from occurring.
Plus, using a combination of a liquid polyurethane polymer and a synthetic rubber core can eliminate the downtime from flat tires. Additionally, flat proofing your tires will keep a stable internal pressure, an enhanced lifetime and improved overall performance for full efficiency.
Ensure your emissions control systems are working properly to prevent power issues and to maximize your fuel economy. If the system is damaged, it won’t pass inspection, preventing you from getting out on the road. Also check to see if you can repair or put in a new emissions control system, specially created for commercial vehicles, including sensors, actuators, the catalytic converter and a computer to help monitor and regulate emissions.
This control system decreases thetemperature of the exhaust and transforms gasses, so that they are less harmful to the environment. A healthy catalytic converter also ensures your vehicle is using fuel efficiently and won’t misfire.
To avoid having soiled or low engine oil, proactively changing both the oil and filter can help an engine run smoothly and prevent damages. Oil breaks down and can become polluted with debris, leaving an engine running sluggishly.
Proper oil upkeep will lubricate the vehicle’s engine so it can cool down and not overheat. It also prevents a buildup of dirt, which could turn into sludge. This sludge will eventually cause corrosion in the engine and lead to an expensive fix.
Finally, your vehicle will have a longer lifespan if you consistently change the oil. It will prevent your vehicle from overworking, causing it to have a better performance quality.
Air filters prevent particles from going inside the engine and causing damage. Check your air filter every month to prevent any internal damage from loose debris. When replacing an air filter, there are three options you need to know about: cotton, foam and paper.
While paper air filters are the least expensive, they deteriorate at a faster rate. Foam filters are used frequently for off-road vehicles because of their powerful purifying abilities, but they can block the engine, if not maintained. Cotton filters can upgrade regular vehicles, since they are normally used in racecars.
It is crucial that you keep your air filter clean and replace it as needed. A soiled and used air filter can impact the ability of the engine and the vehicle’s gas mileage, along with interfere with clean air mixing with the fuel.
To keep your vehicle running smoothly, consider replacing your air filter every time you get your oil changed. Keep in mind the environment that your vehicle will encounter. For example, dirt/unpaved roads have more impact on your filter than paved roads.
Fuel injections are important to maximize your vehicle’s performance, as that it checks the injectors to make sure they are spraying properly. The injectors and throttle valve work together to discharge fuel mist, combining it with air. This combination is what goes through the combustion chamber so that your vehicle can run properly.
Dirty or congested fuel injectors can result in a filthy exhaust and low gas mileage. Since a healthy fuel injection system is important for your truck overall, you should have it serviced. This action will prevent acceleration issues, misfirings and rough idling.
Don’t only have your fuel injection system checked. Remember to check your vehicle’s sensors, fuel lines, fuel rails, throttle components and fuel filters.
Weather plays a huge role in your truck’s abilities and needs, so always be prepared and have your trucks serviced for both winter and spring. Winterization includes changing the coolant, checking the batteries and wipers and even changing tires for the snow. All belts and hoses should also be checked to ensure there isn’t any damage from the weather.
Always check the fuel filter and water separator as part of your winterization checkups. Water commonly contaminants diesel fuel, for example, and you will need to have a system in place to check this daily and drain excess water. Also remember that separators are not self-cleaning.
Consider using fuel additive for your diesel trucks, because diesel contains paraffin, which freezes at the same temperature as water. As the temperatures drop, the fuel can become slushy, making it difficult, if not impossible, to pass through the fuel filter. A fuel additive can help.
Don’t forget to winterize your cooling system. Ensure worn or cracked parts are replaced. Inspect the hoses for bulges or insecure clamps. Test the coolant temperature, so that it remains at the optimum freeze point.
Part of your winterization must include procedures for drivers to keep the engines warm. If your fleet travels to cold climates often, investing in an engine block heater might be a good idea.
Finally, remember the importance of an emergency kit for the winter. Include things like extra blankets, tire chains, flares, flashlight, snow boots, a radio and a first aid kit.
A spring check prepares your trucks for hotter weather. Winter can be trying on your truck’s battery, so it’s important to have it checked. Replace your winter tires for year-round tires that provide better traction when the temperature rises, and make sure your emergency kit contains summer-specific items, such as sun screen and extra drinking water.
Other Things to Check
Check your fluid levels, such as antifreeze, to ensure your vehicle doesn’t overheat. This is especially crucial for those working in hot weather.
Windshield wipers are a defense that drivers have against rain and snow. They help keep the field of vision clear and in turn, they keep everyone safe. Wipers should be replaced around every six months to 6,000 miles.
Overall,preventative maintenance is the best course of action to take when trying to save money on truck services. The costliest thing you can do is neglect your truck and its maintenance. Your vehicle and its parts naturally deteriorate over time, which can impact your vehicle and its driving abilities.
With preventative maintenance and general services, these problems are mitigated/eliminated for commercial trucks, providing a livelihood for many people. A reliable and reputable auto service center will help you protect your investment and income. The right auto shop will keep your truck looking its best and performing at its potential.