Toolbox Tip

 

GIVE YOUR TRUCK THE GOOD LIFE

To keep your truck running right, you need to treat it right.

With routine checks, preventive maintenance and simple replacements, you can really help prolong your truck's life and performance. And don't rely on hearsay from other truck drivers regarding equipment and repairs. Always consult a qualified diesel technician before acting on any friendly advice – it can save you time, expense and problems down the road. Here's more about treating your truck like the trusted business partner it's supposed to be.

PREVENT PROBLEMS NOW

Every truck purchased or leased from a reputable dealer should come with maintenance manuals. These are a vital accessory and should be kept in a safe place and be readily available. They contain valuable information on topics such as determining scheduled maintenance intervals, lubrication and fluid level checks, emission control maintenance and full vehicle specifications.

A preventive maintenance schedule should be based on the distance you drive, along with expected 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 travel at 100 kmh you will have higher maintenance costs than if you travel at 60 kmh. If you haul heavy loads through mountains, the wear and tear on your truck is obviously greater. Most maintenance manuals have a list of schedules from which you can identify the one that is best designed for your situation.

When conscientiously followed, the preventive maintenance schedule can anticipate, identify and solve potential problems that can harm your truck and business. Procedures can be as simple as checking the engine oil and tyre pressures frequently, or more sophisticated, such as using engine oil analysis to extend the drain intervals. Most owner-operators perform some maintenance activity. As you gain experience, you will become more capable of performing tasks yourself.

A simple plan that doesn't require technical skill and special equipment will include tyres, engine oil, wipers, lights, filters, coolant and belts/hoses. A more technical preventive maintenance schedule will include brakes, drive axles, wheel seals, transmission, batteries, exhaust, driveline, suspension, steering, clutch and engine.

KNOW WHEN TO TRADE YOUR TRUCK

If you only make repairs and do maintenance when a truck breaks down, or only trade a truck when it's beyond repair, then you aren't running your truck – it's running you. Basically, you should consider a replacement when the principal, interest, maintenance and operating costs of an old vehicle are higher than the comparable costs attached to a newer vehicle.

This is known as "life-cycle costing" and is based on a proven formula: As principal and interest payments on an older vehicle decrease, maintenance and operating costs usually increase. The increase in maintenance and operating costs is usually less than the decrease in principal and interest. The annual resale value is the incentive to trade, along with any manufacturers sales promotions.

The resale value of the old vehicle, coupled with the manufacturing incentive, may offset the higher cost of the newer vehicle's principal and interest. At this point a trade makes sense.

For further information, CMV Truck & Bus Service and CMV Finance representatives are available to discuss your maintenance and finance options.