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Opinion: Truck Maintenance Tips: The Top 11 for 2011

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1/27/2011 8:00:00 AM

By Steve Rober
Executive Sales Director
Schaeffer Manufacturing

This Opinion piece appears in the Jan. 24 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

As we head into 2011, it’s important to look back at the lessons of previous years. Let’s face it; nobody likes to make the same mistake twice. Maintenance professionals in particular always should be looking for procedures that have prevented downtime and failures in the past. Establishing those procedures as the basis for preventive maintenance allows us to concentrate on the daily problems and needs of our business.

The following list offers 11 tried-and-true measures that can help you keep your equipment on track for this year, particularly during these cold-weather months. I hope you’ll find that some will assist in making your fleet operate more smoothly this year. You may even save yourself a few headaches in the process.

1. Maintain a quarterly testing routine for bacteria proliferation and contamination in both the fuel and the storage tanks, especially for vehicles put in storage for extended periods of time. Sulfur serves as a natural biocide in diesel fuel, killing off the bacteria present. However, the reduced sulfur level in the now-standard ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel allows bacteria to survive and grow in your tanks. Measuring bacteria levels quarterly ensures that they don’t get out of control in your tanks and storage units. Add the quarterly tests to your calendar today.

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2. Use a moisture-control treatment before or during the winter months to disperse and encapsulate water in the fuel to protect engine components and prevent water from becoming a habitat for those bacteria mentioned in tip number one. Without water, bacteria can’t survive, so cutting off the water will save your engines from all kinds of problems.

3. Keep an emergency supply of fuel anti-gel in each truck to keep fuel and diesel oils flowing despite cold weather and to help reduce downtime and towing costs. Prepare for frigid temperatures by having one gallon of anti-gel per expected fill-up. Deicer is an inexpensive way to prevent hundreds of dollars in towing fees, downtime and lost production. As with any additives, however, remember to check the relevant original equipment manufacturer warranties, making sure the treatment doesn’t void them.

© 2010, Transport Topics Publishing Group. All rights reserved.


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