If you're in charge of a long-haul truck fleet, you know that you need to treat each vehicle as its own profit centre so that you maximise productivity and meet your monthly budget. To help you do so, you may have some proactive fleet maintenance procedures in place and feel that you are doing everything you can to get each load to its destination as soon as possible. However, as you strive for total efficiency, you may be missing some low hanging fruit and could easily cut back on some unwanted expenditures. How could additional attention to detail in the maintenance department reap significant dividends?
More Than Just Alignment
Each truck in your fleet will cover tens of thousands of kilometres each year, and this will undoubtedly take its toll on the suspension and steering components. As such, springs, shock absorbers, steering arms and ball and socket joints are only meant to cover a certain distance before they are supposed to be replaced.
As they near the end of their natural life, these worn components can become loose and ill fitting. When this happens, the wheels and tyres fitted to that axle will tend to move as the vehicle is in motion and will quickly begin to deteriorate, despite your best efforts to keep those axles aligned. It doesn't matter how accurate your tyre fitting technician is during the alignment process each month, as those worn suspension components will quickly erase any gains elsewhere.
As you may know, poor wheel alignment can lead to significant problems, as the truck will tend to pull to one side when it's being driven in a straight line. In some cases, it will be difficult for the driver to control the rig, and they will invariably complain due to the extra effort required behind the wheel. Furthermore, the edge of the affected tyre will scrub quite badly within a relatively short distance, and before you know it, you will need to fork out for an unexpected replacement.
While you should always ensure that you align the wheels carefully and according to recommended intervals, you must also ensure that you change the shock absorber, suspension and steering components carefully. Otherwise, you will end up spending more money in the long run and will fall far short of your targets.
Putting It Right
Make sure that you get your mechanic to have a look at the entire underbody system during your next truck wheel alignment.
If, like me, you like to drive and are something of a petrol-head, then feeling confident is part of what it is all about when motoring. Knowing what to do if you face a hazard on the road or how to deal with a blowout is all part of the driving experience, to me. Having said that, few motorists really know what checks they should be making to ensure their car is properly roadworthy. I've spent the last few years upgrading my car maintenance skills and - although I'm no qualified mechanic - I now undertake all sorts of jobs needed to keep my car running properly and safely. Read my blog and pick up some car maintenance tips that anyone can do.