Important Spring and Summer Maintenance for Commercial Vehicles
Coming out of winter and heading into the busy spring and summer ahead, it is critical for work trucks to undergo important routine maintenance and parts replacements. This maintenance will ensure the safety of the vehicle operator and guard the safety of others on the road. Not only that but commercial vehicles that are well-maintained stay in service longer and face fewer costly roadside breakdowns. Whether the work vehicle is used to haul landscaping equipment to job sites or to head to homes to service swimming pools, work trucks undergo a lot of wear and tear during the busy spring and summer months. For fleet managers or busy business owners, the following spring maintenance services and part replacement suggestions can ensure that the season ahead is profitable and smooth.
Schedule These Services
Every good summer maintenance checklist should include a few key routine services. The following are all critical services to ensure that work trucks can operate at their prime. Oil Changes As part of standard routine maintenance, never overlook oil changes. This is particularly true for work vehicles, which are often driven a high mileage in a short time. How often an oil change should be scheduled depends on the following factors:
- The type of vehicle — Consult the owner’s manual to find out how often the manufacturer suggests an oil change.
- The type of oil used — From conventional motor oil to full synthetic, the type of oil previously used will also play a role in the frequency of services. For businesses that are extremely busy during the spring and summer, it is worth considering an upgrade to a full synthetic oil to protect the engine, while also cutting down on the time the truck needs to be in the shop.
Air Conditioning & Reefer Maintenance Important summer maintenance should include having the air conditioning system tested and serviced as needed. Air conditioning keeps crew members cool and comfortable during hot, busy months. For work trucks equipped with refrigeration systems, as is common for cold delivery services, it is critical to have the cooling system inspected and serviced. Reefer maintenance will ensure that products are delivered on time and at the temperature required. Alignments Over the course of the winter, a work vehicle’s alignment can suffer. This is particularly true if the vehicle was driven on rough, potholed winter roads or slid into any curbs during the slick months. Alignments ensure that tires wear evenly and create a smoother ride. Additionally, keeping a work truck’s tires aligned will offer the best fuel mileage possible, an important factor for businesses that see ramped-up mileage during the spring and summer. Fluid Services Within any work truck are a myriad of critical fluids, each working hard to ensure the smooth operation of the vehicle. Be sure to schedule the following fluid services before the busy season, based on the vehicle type:
- Transmission fluid flush
- Differential fluid change
- Power steering fluid flush
- Coolant replacement or top-off
- Transfer case fluid change
When in doubt, talk to a mechanic about which fluid services a particular work vehicle might need. DOT Inspections For commercial trucks that require an annual DOT inspection, spring is the perfect reminder to tackle this critical task. A DOT inspection ensures that all commercial vehicle parts and accessories are in working order and road-safe. Scheduling a DOT inspection before the busiest season is critical for those working in logging, mining, agriculture, over-the-road delivery, and other industries reliant upon commercial trucks during spring and summer. Truck Upfits: Consider a Fleet Upgrade This Spring While routine maintenance is key to ensuring a smooth season ahead, it is also the perfect time of year to consider a fleet upgrade. For businesses that have historically used workarounds to make their work truck fit the job at hand, an upfit can create a more efficient and safe work environment. Truck upfits include all of the following and more:
- Utility bodies
- Service bodies
- Van bodies
- Contractor bodies
In addition, be sure to keep extensive and detailed documentation around maintenance services performed. This will help ensure that no important maintenance dates are missed, which is critical for any work trucks operating with DOT numbers
Replace These Parts
In addition to scheduling the above services, consider replacing the following parts as needed:
- Batteries: Unlike a personal vehicle that might operate with the same battery for years, most commercial trucks and work vehicles require battery replacement every 6-12 months. Be sure to replace batteries before roadside failure occurs. This can cut down on time lost and ensure tight schedules are kept during the busy season.
- Brakes: From van brakes to trailer brakes on a semi-truck, keeping brakes well maintained and replacing parts as needed is critical for driver safety. For trucks with air brakes, it is important to schedule routine brake jobs.
- Tires: Tire safety is such a critical aspect of commercial truck safety that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Office of Defects Investigations (ODI), the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) partnered with the FMCSA to put together a USDOT Tire Advisory Card focused entirely on ensuring tires are inspected and maintained regularly. Take the time to check over every tire and replace them as needed.
- Shocks & struts: Shocks and struts do more than simply create a smoother ride for the work truck operator, they also ensure safety around corners and at highway speeds. Have a trained mechanic check over these critical components and replace them as needed.
- Hoses & belts: Work trucks are usually equipped with a spider web of hoses and belts. Over time, especially after cold winter months, these hoses and belts can crack and fray. Replace all necessary components prior to sending busy crews on the road.
- Lights: From fog lights to brake lights to running lights, do a thorough inspection to ensure every light is shining brightly, replacing any damaged or burnt-out lights.
- Windshield wipers: Spring and summer often deliver heavy rainfall, which makes functional windshield wipers a must. Rather than waiting for a wiper to fail mid-storm, proactively replace all wipers on a fleet before the busy season.
- Filter replacements: From air filters to fuel filters, take the time to check over all of these critical parts and take note of dirty or clogged filters.
Visit Boyer Trucks for Spring and Summer Maintenance
Whatever the summer and spring hold for your business, Boyer Trucks is here to help you prepare. We work with fleet managers and business owners in all of the following industries, just to name a few:
- Landscaping, Lawn & Garden
- Pool Companies
- Concrete & Blacktop Services
- Delivery Services
- Energy Production
- Junk & Waste Management
- Agriculture & Farming
We invite you to schedule routine spring and summer maintenance at one of our locations today. Feel free to also stop by to check out our vast parts selection, or to talk to our experienced staff about upfitting your fleet prior to the long workdays ahead. We look forward to being your trusted partner.