Tips on truck up­keep

Business World - - SPECIAL FEATURE - Erika For­tuno-Mioten

THERE ARE many fac­tors that en­trepreneurs should con­sider to keep their busi­nesses run­ning. One of them is choos­ing the most suit­able ve­hi­cle that can eas­ily trans­port their goods any­time and any­where. Al­though new trucks and vans in the mar­ket are all road­ready, it is still im­por­tant to have the ba­sic knowl­edge of how to main­tain them for a bet­ter drive and longer life.

Since com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles spend a lot of time in traf­fic, they are also more prone to idling than a nor­mal ve­hi­cle. This has also been pointed out by Ken­neth Cal­houn, cus­tomer re­la­tions vice-pres­i­dent of Truck Cen­ters of Arkansas. In an ar­ti­cle by Kevin Jones ti­tled “Pro tips: Truck main­te­nance for the ownerop” pub­lished in Amer­i­can Trucker, an online re­source provider for truck­ing op­er­a­tions, Mr. Cal­houn said that the most com­mon is­sue he en­coun­tered in his shops came from idling. “Idling’s never re­ally been good. [It is] cook­ing some very ex­pen­sive equip­ment,” he added.

In an­other ar­ti­cle is­sued by RoadandTrack. com, an in­for­ma­tion provider about cars and driv­ing, writer Hans Aschim tapped Ford’s global chief en­gi­neer John Nor­ton to come up with tips on how to main­tain the good run­ning con­di­tion of trucks.

Top­ping the list is one of the most im­por­tant and ba­sic thing to do — change oil. Though there are va­ri­eties of oil in the mar­ket, make sure to choose the best oil ac­cord­ing to ve­hi­cle’s need.

Mr. Cal­houn of Truck Cen­ters of Arkansas, for his part, sug­gested the need to mon­i­tor fuel qual­ity on a daily ba­sis.

Ford’s Mr. Nor­ton also shared the im­por­tance of tire ro­ta­tion. “We rec­om­mend that you ro­tate your tires ev­ery time you have your oil changed so that your tires are wear­ing evenly,” he said. As the front tires typ­i­cally wear the most, it is es­sen­tial to ro­tate them not only to ex­tend the tires’ life but also to have a smoother drive.

A bal­anced tire is an­other vi­tal point tack­led by Mr. Aschim. Ev­ery bump the trucks en­counter could make the tires out of bal­ance, which could re­sult in sus­pen­sion and tire wear caused by vi­bra­tions on the road. Wheel align­ment should also be done es­pe­cially when the ve­hi­cles are used in off-road driv­ing, he added.

Mr. Jones, for his part, em­pha­sized in his ar­ti­cle the proper tire in­fla­tion. “Proper in­fla­tion fig­ure should be de­ter­mined by tak­ing into ac­count ac­tual weight by axle and us­ing a load/in­fla­tion ta­ble,” he ex­plained. “Check in­fla­tion pres­sure on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.”

An­other fac­tor on Mr. Aschim’s list are the lights. Make sure that in­te­rior and ex­te­rior lights are prop­erly work­ing. It is also sig­nif­i­cant to ex­am­ine the fluid lev­els such as the en­gine coolant as this is what keeps the truck from over­heat­ing. En­gines can also be more ef­fi­cient by hav­ing a clean air fil­ter.

Of course, truck brakes should be in­spected. One should ex­am­ine the calipers, guide pins and brake pad wear.

As with all the ve­hi­cle parts, avoid buying less ex­pen­sive, low-qual­ity re­place­ments parts. Re­mem­ber that road and travel safety should al­ways be at the top of one’s mind. —


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