Creating a preventive maintenance (PM) schedule should be an owner operators first priority. A truck that is out of service due to engine issues means lost pay.
Every truck, new or used, should be equipped with a maintenance manual. If you don’t have yours they can easily be purchased from the dealer or manufacturer. You may also find your manual here. These manuals contain valuable information on every area of your truck including: recommended maintenance intervals, lubrication and fluid level checks, noise emission controls maintenance and torque specifications.
Finding your Schedule
A preventive maintenance (PM) schedule should be based on the distance you drive, along with wear and tear on your truck. To determine the correct maintenance schedule for your vehicle you must first define the conditions you drive in and how you drive. If you run 80 mph you will have higher maintenance costs than if you run 65 mph. If you haul heavy loads through mountains, the wear and tear on your truck will be different than a truck that sees level highways and city driving. Most maintenance manuals have a list of schedules from which you can best choose the one most appropriate.
When routinely followed, the PM can anticipate, identify and solve potential problems that can harm your truck. Routine maintenance prevents breakdowns and allows you to anticipate maintenance related costs. Unexpected shut downs are prevented which keeps you on the road. Some procedures like simply checking the engine oil and tire air pressure frequently can extend the life of your engine and tires. More sophisticated procedures such as using engine oil analysis can extend the drain intervals for your truck which leads to a cost savings over time. Most owner-operators find they are able to perform some maintenance activity themselves which leads to additional cost savings.
Not Rocket Science
A simple plan doesn’t require technical skills or special equipment. Checking tires, engine oil, wipers, lights, filters, coolant levels and and belts/hoses wear can be done frequently with nothing more than a flashlight. The more technical PM activities may include getting dirty and require a few tools. These include brake checks, drive axles, wheel seals, transmission checks, batteries, exhaust system, driveline, suspension, steering, clutch and engine checks.
Preventive maintenance makes repairs predictable and affordable. A little money spent over time helps prevent big unexpected breakdowns. However, every good PM schedule begins with establishing a self maintenance savings account. This account allows you to budget for both the small expenses each month and those larger ones that occur less frequently. The industry standard for maintenance escrow savings is based on a time-proven formula, which is detailed in this chart.
Drivers are also required to make sure their trucks comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. The DOT conducts roadside maintenance checks and requires annual inspections. A word of caution: preventive maintenance doesn’t always fulfill the DOT requirements. There are a few substantial differences between these two. Understanding the requirements can be a difficult task but having a basic knowledge of them will assist you in maintaining a safe truck. The records you keep from your PM activities along with any completed service will make filing your DOT reports easier.
Partnering with our Drivers
Paramount Freight Systems requires our owner operators to meet both the annual DOT inspection requirements as well as PFS quarterly inspections. The quarterly inspection is paid in full by Paramount Freight. We know that these quarterly inspections provide two services. The first is that the trucks are safer when potential maintenance issues are caught earlier. Secondly, we know that more frequent checks save our drivers money and keeps them on the road longer. Our drivers also submit monthly maintenance reports, which are used internally to ensure that all owners are in compliance with the DOT regulations. Partnering with our drivers on this issues is key to our success of maintaining a safe and well run fleet.
Safety is the highest priority at Paramount Freight Systems and we are proud to partner with the safest drivers and owners on the road. For ways we can assist you on the road please visit us on Facebook or contact us here on our website www.drivepfs.com/contact