In many businesses, company trucks are among the biggest assets. Whether you’re a contractor who uses your truck to get materials to and from your job site, or you own a landscaping business and your truck is your moving billboard around town, it’s important you’re executing proper upkeep for your vehicles. Carefully maintaining company vehicles is necessary to ensure business can run smoothly on a daily basis, year-round.
Regularly Check Your Vehicles’ Fluids
According to Mike Bumbeck of autoMedia.com, "regular fluid checks and an almost pious dedication to scheduled lubrication will keep the powertrain going strong. What kind of oil, brake fluid, and grease used is just as important as when it is changed." Don’t invest in a pricy new company vehicle if you’re not prepared to maintain the simple things that will ensure its lifespan.
Don’t Forget the Underside of Your Vehicle
Keeping your company truck clean is always smart, as it’s often your moving billboard around town. Furthermore, leaving the salt and other road grime on the underneath your company van or truck can do serious damage to the paint over time. Avoid rusting and other vehicle damage by hosing off your vehicles after every major storm in the winter time.
Change the Air Filter Every 15,000-30,000 miles
Ford's Global Chief Engineer of Customer Service Engineering, John Norton, recommends changing your air filter every 15,000 to 30,000 miles or "even more often if you're frequently driving on dirt roads."
Invest in a Quality Tire Pressure Gauge
Few things are more important on your company vehicle than its tires. Maintaining and protecting tires properly can save you hundreds, potentially thousands, of dollars per year depending on how large your fleet is. Get some peace of mind by investing in a quality tire pressure gauge. Make sure the gauge isn’t off by more than 5 pounds per square inch, or it may be time to purchase a new one. (bizjournal.com)
Get in Alignment
Staying on top of your vehicle’s alignment is vital. When your truck or van is out of whack, you’ll cause unnecessary tire wear, worse gas mileage and potential lack of control when steering. Have your alignment checked when getting a routine oil change, if you feel the vehicle is pulling to one side or driving rougher than normal.
Protect Against Tire Air Loss with a Valve Cap
According to Bridgestone Firestone North America, "on a commercial tire, the valve cap is considered the primary seal against air loss, with the valve core being secondary." Furthermore, the high-quality flow-through valve caps greatly speeds up air pressure maintenance and doesn’t provide a temptation to ignore checking pressure on inner dual tires.
Don’t Skip that Oil Change – Ever
We understand that life sometimes gets in the way of those routine oil changes, and it may be tempting to skip one, but that’s never a good idea. In fact, according to the experts at KBB.com, "no single step will help an engine last more than regular oil and filter changes will. Conversely, nothing will destroy an engine faster than neglecting oil-level checks or fresh-oil changes."
Analyze Scrap Tires
According to TruckingInfo.com, "scrap tire analysis is an excellent way for fleets to understand why tires are failing or have to be removed from service prematurely." Once a year, take the time to evaluate your vehicle’s tires for odd wear patterns, reoccurring issues and other oddities that are resulting in too-frequent tire changes and vehicle down time. "By evaluating each tire when it is removed from service… this will educate you on whether or not you currently have the right tire for the application… or whether drivers are destroying the tires due to lack of training." (TruckingInfo.com)
Check the Brake Fluid
As autoMedia.com puts it, "brake fluid is cheap; calipers, hoses, and sensors are expensive." Be sure to change brake fluid at least once per year to save yourself from having to replace more expensive, time-consuming parts of your vehicle in the long run. "Brake fluid is hygroscopic. This means it is adept at attracting moisture. Moisture causes components to corrode and fail." (autoMedia.com) Save yourself some serious headaches by staying on top of your brake fluid.
Maintain Your Wheel Bearings
Don’t forget about your wheel bearings! It’s important to maintain wheel bearings by inspecting, cleaning and repacking them according to your vehicles suggested service intervals. "Wheel bearings and grease are inexpensive compared to spindle and hub replacement, or liberated wheels rolling down the road ahead of you." (KBB.com)