A truck breakdown is every auto transport driver’s worst nightmare. The fear of hundreds of dollars in towing charges (on top of inflated repair prices) is enough to keep any owner-operator up at night. But low profit margins and a slow market make it challenging to put money away into an emergency repair fund.
With truck repair labor rates surpassing $110/hour, some emergency funds may only cover half the costs. In the trucking industry, an owner-operator must not only have a hefty emergency fund but must also have a periodic truck maintenance program in place.
Preventative maintenance is one of the most important things in trucking that many owners often neglect. Whether it be the downtime for maintenance or the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitude, doing periodic maintenance to your truck will save hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run. And when small problems begin to show up, they should be addressed immediately as ignoring them will only lead to a bigger, more expensive problem.
A thorough pre-trip inspection is one of the best and cheapest forms of preventative maintenance in trucking, and especially auto transport. Most problems begin to show slowly in trucking, and then they scale up to bigger problems. Here are some important tips on preventative maintenance that you should consider.
Checking your tires regularly for wear will help you spot issues. If you catch a tire issue early enough, you can usually rotate the tire and save it from total destruction. This will also help to ensure the safety of yourself and others while on the road.
Your oil level in your engine can tell you a lot about its condition. If the oil level keeps getting lower there is either an oil leak, the compressor is taking the oil, or there is excessive wear in your engine. It is usually alright to add half to one gallon in between oil changes but anything more than that and that may be a sign of some component beginning to fail.
When pulling over after driving for an extended period, it is also great to walk around your truck and touch the hubs of each wheel. Any hub that burns your hand should be addressed as this could mean that the bearings are starting to give. This is cheap insurance since a hub catching on fire could lead to your whole load going up in flames.
Preventative maintenance is simply a must in trucking. You can’t expect to run your truck without having to invest in its maintenance. Excessive smoke, poor fuel economy, and rough idle can all be indications of some components starting to fail. Just like a toothache, if you wait too long, this can lead to bigger and more expensive problems down the road. Sometimes it’s hard to give out your hard-earned money to fix things that may seem like they do not need to be fixed, however, in the long run, it will be worth your while and it will be a lot cheaper.
Super Dispatch’s transportation management system benefits auto transport drivers by allowing them to conduct preventative maintenance and track various metrics and data through an easy-to-use online platform. Our platform also allows you to directly communicate with shippers and customers, file reports, allow your location to be tracked through GPS for others to find you in the case of energy, and much more. Our platform is incredibly easy to use and can help you move cars faster. Try it for free today!Published on June 13, 2019
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