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Tips on Vehicle Maintenance

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The importance of vehicle maintenance cannot be overstated. Proper maintenance keeps engines operational, drivers safe, and the business as a whole running smoothly. It can be difficult to keep track of vehicle maintenance from an office chair – that’s where GPS tracking software comes in. While drivers perform daily vehicle checks, administrators can monitor the overall maintenance of their fleet, ensuring all services are up to date and current with federal regulations.

Brakes

Without properly calibrated brakes, a driver is in serious trouble. A commercial truck’s air brake system involves several complex mechanisms – drivers should ensure that their brakes’ air pressure takes no more than two minutes to go from 85 psi to 100 psi when the engine is between 600 and 900 RPM. Before starting a job, drivers should make sure their brake lines are free of fluid and leaks. This is especially important in cold climates, where water in the brakes can freeze. Fleet managers should make sure drivers perform pre- and post-trip inspections, recording all observations so that brake servicing needs can be accurately tracked.

Tires

As part of pre- and post-trip inspection, drivers should inspect their tires for punctures and irregular wear. FMCSA regulations state that tires on the front of a truck should have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 1/8th of an inch. Drivers should also ensure their tires are correctly inflated for the job – heavier loads require increased tire pressure and vice versa. Many GPS tracking platforms offer a vehicle maintenance feature that can easily track these statistics.

Grease

One of the most frequently overlooked parts of vehicle maintenance, grease is a vital element in the life of a truck.  Grease is a compound of oil, soap, and additives that ensures the parts it is applied to remain properly lubricated. Fleet managers should ensure that the grease their business uses has the proper consistency and chemical properties for the environment through which their vehicles will be traveling. Improperly applied grease can result in severe damage – in this event, administrators can configure their GPS tracking system to issue alerts signaling the necessary action.

Air Filter

The air filter plays an important role in a truck’s health, keeping foreign particles out of the engine.  Air filters are typically located under the hood.  Drivers should keep an eye on their dashboard indicator and clean the filter when necessary. Going too long between cleanings can result in engine damage. GPS tracking systems can provide engine diagnostic reporting, ensuring that a dirty air filter will not go unnoticed and these harmful effects can be averted.

Drivers who are on the road day-in and day-out develop their own sense of when a component in theie vehicle needs to be replaced. Fleet managers can schedule and record all vehicle services using fleet management software.  The right software will allow administrators to save specific services for different vehicles and receive alerts when those services are due.  Electronic driver vehicle inspection records (DVIR) help drivers record and address potential maintenance issues before they develop into hazards. With this capability, fleet managers can ensure the many moving parts of their vehicles remain operational and their drivers stay safe. 


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