When working with a fleet of commercial trucks, vehicle downtime can come at a heavy cost to you or the company you work with. Downtime is often estimated to cost businesses anywhere from $450 to $750 per day – give or take. With that said, reducing your overall vehicle downtime should be a priority for all truck drivers and trucking companies. One way truck drivers and companies are able to cut down their vehicle downtime is by introducing and requiring a short and simple preventive truck maintenance checklist program. Implementing a relatively simple semi truck maintenance checklist has been reported to reduce your truck/fleet downtime by up to 20%, as well as decrease overall commercial truck maintenance/repair costs. It also helps to increase your vehicle lifespan so you don’t have to invest in new vehicles and parts as frequently. Now that we have your attention, let’s go over what a truck maintenance checklist is and what should be on it.
What Exactly Is a Commercial Truck Maintenance Checklist?
In short, a truck maintenance checklist is a paper or electronic-based form that consists of review items that truck drivers, mechanics, and any other relevant parties involved should/must inspect to ensure that the given commercial vehicle is functioning properly and doesn’t need any immediate maintenance. It is also important to note that commercial truck maintenance checklists can differ depending on the given vehicle and its usage. These truck maintenance checklists also help drivers and fleet managers stay on top of scheduling maintenance and repairs before the vehicle leaves the lot to further avoid complications and breakdowns while on the road – saving all parties involved time and money.
What Should Be On Your Truck Maintenance Checklist?
When developing your own truck maintenance schedule and checklist, there are several fundamental elements to consider – which will determine how successful your vehicle maintenance efforts will be.
- Preventative Maintenance Checklist –
Above all, a strong and detailed preventive maintenance schedule can help you or the company you work for get the most life out of the vehicle. Instead of being reactive and waiting to fix a problem when it’s already too late. Preventative maintenance efforts try to anticipate potential upcoming issues before they happen and develop a plan to fix the given issue before it becomes more serious. That said, a preventive maintenance schedule should include the manufacturer’s recommended vehicle maintenance, as well as the approximate time the maintenance requirements should be completed.
Although your semi-truck maintenance checklist will differ depending on the type of vehicle and its specs, here are some of the common items you may want to include on your preventative commercial truck maintenance checklist.
- Does the oil need to be changed?
- Do filters need to be changed?
- Do any components need to be tightened?
- Does the engine need to be tuned?
- Do the brakes need to be fixed or adjusted?
- Do the tires need to be rotated?
- Does anything need to be lubricated?
- Does the radiator need to be maintained?
- Demand Maintenance Checklist –
Demand maintenance is the type of maintenance that is performed on a vehicle only when it is needed. This entails replacing or fixing a given truck part only when they break down and stop working properly. Items commonly found on a demand maintenance checklist are:
- Light bulbs
- Window glass
- Seat cushions
- Corroded structures
- Crisis Maintenance Checklist –
As the name may imply, crisis maintenance occurs when preventive and demand maintenance efforts aren’t fulfilled as scheduled. This means that your truck has broken down while out on the road due to an unexpected failure of a given vehicle component or components. Unfortunately, this usually means you will have to complete your trip with a temporary replacement vehicle while a mechanic either tries to repair the vehicle on the spot or has to tow it back to a repair shop to perform the necessary repairs. Given the cost of these situations, drivers and trucking companies should try to avoid this at all costs. However, if crisis maintenance is necessary, here are a few things to keep track of.
- Time needed to organize necessary repairs
- Time to reroute deliveries
- Driver’s downtime
- Hire a mechanic
- Purchase new parts to replace the damaged ones
- Maintenance Form Records –
In order for the various truck maintenance checklists we just reviewed to be successful in decreasing downtime and maintenance costs, it is imperative to keep up-to-date records of the vehicle and all that has been done to it over time. When trying to keep proper vehicle records, remember the following:
- Always stay current and up-to-date
- Record meaningful data that you can understand at a later date
- Identify the vehicle or vehicles clearly
- Schedule and maintain period reviews
Benefits of Implementing a Truck Maintenance Schedule and Checklist
Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of checklists you should consider implementing as a truck driver or a trucking company, don’t wait too long before actually putting the above into action. Not only will it help keep your commercial vehicle or fleet of vehicles in great condition, it will also keep them reliable so it is safe for the drivers to successfully transport goods to the customers. However, if that isn’t enough reason, below are a few other reasons reviewed throughout the article.
- Helps reduces overall operational, insurance and maintenance costs
- Extends the vehicle’s life
- Decreases the chances of breakdowns from happening
- Increases client satisfaction
- Increases driver safety
- Improves the driver’s working environment
- Helps prevent accidents
- Meets standards required by the law