Benefits of keeping trucks clean

Benefits of keeping trucks clean

As they travel the North American roads, vehicles are under continuous assault from acids, bird droppings, insect and animal remains, miscellaneous gunk, road salts (especially this time of year) and other contaminants. In the road war against corrosion, grime and muck, the best strategy to combat the assault is keeping a clean fleet.

“Keeping your fleet clean is a very important part of a company’s maintenance program—both for longevity of the equipment and brand image,” says Jim Hill, president of JIM Mfg., Inc., a manufacturer of a mobile brush wash system designed for fleet operation care. “Regular fleet washing reduces overall vehicle maintenance and keeps the fleet in prime condition,” Hill adds.

The road grime, salt and dirt build-up contribute to premature wear on dozens of vehicle parts (dirt can work its way into the mechanical areas of the tractor-trailer, creating extra weight and potential wind resistance), along with wear on the exterior finish, if not addressed. Washing all that away, however, can reduce or minimize repair costs for fleet operators. As well, a dirty surface has more drag than a clean one, so keeping a trailer clean will save money on fuel for the long haul.

While the impact to the bottom line in reduced repair and fuel expenses is quantifiable, the return on investment is somewhat more intangible, but no less impactful, for a fleet operator’s image. “The single most important factor in a first impression is appearance; we often hear this applied to people, but it’s equally true of places and products,” notes Hill. A clean vehicle, of course, makes a more positive impression than a dirty one.

“A clean fleet directly reflects positively on an operator,” says Hill. “The vehicles represent the company to the public and customers. There’s a reasonable assumption that if a company is committed to this level of maintenance, there’s an equal commitment to overall maintenance. By extension, this contributes to an overall positive impression of the company.”

The advantages of having a clean fleet of trucks are:

• A good reflection on the company
• A positive example to the driver
• Better impression for the DOT
• Emphasis on customer satisfaction
• Less road dirt on the truck either weighing it down or causing wind resistance
• Reduced opportunity for winter road treatments to adversely affect the equipment

The ramifications of a dirty truck are many, as noted. The build-up of various road salts such as sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride this time of year especially, can lead to rusting and corrosion. The solution is simple, keep vehicles clean. Make sure truck washing is a part of the regular maintenance schedule.

You May Also Like

Why it’s important to test new engine oils

Last month, I mentioned that the North American Council for Fleet Efficiency (NACFE) recommended that fleets switch to the API FA-4 low viscosity lube oils immediately to save fuel and decrease (GHG) emissions. As stated by the report, viscosity is defined as a measure of a fluid’s internal resistance to flow. In a truck’s engine,

Fuels and lubes column

Last month, I mentioned that the North American Council for Fleet Efficiency (NACFE) recommended that fleets switch to the API FA-4 low viscosity lube oils immediately to save fuel and decrease (GHG) emissions. As stated by the report, viscosity is defined as a measure of a fluid’s internal resistance to flow. In a truck’s engine, mechanical losses from pumping and friction consume approximately 16% of the total energy input to a vehicle. A lower-viscosity aims oil to reduce those engine mechanical losses and save fuel.

Tire costs are down, but not my tire CPM?

In a recent meeting I was a part of, a fleet owner began by saying that the cost of rubber is down, oil is down, and his profits are down; so why aren’t tire costs down? He has a point—some fair non-bidding negotiations brought adjusted tire costs down. So why are tire costs-per-mile not coming down?

Truck Fuel Economy Ideas
Where is our national energy policy?

Our lack of a technically based national energy policy has, and will continue to, cost us billions. You and I have financed such ridiculous schemes as corn-based ethanol and solar-powered home devices, and the cash outflow shows no sign of abating. Related Articles – Beyond standard TPMS: The crucial role of customizable tire health alerts

Fleet Equipment On the Road
Who is controlling the checkbook?

A recent fleet cost reduction meeting, requested by the president, called for our department heads to come up with three cost saving initiatives outside of the normal box. The thinking was to fire up and measure the results from each idea going forward. The real intent, in my opinion, was to see what people have

Heavy-Duty-Truck-Checkbook-Budget
Driving to maximize fuel economy

While working at Shell Oil Co.’s Wood River Research facilities, my engineering team was tasked with determining relationships between gasoline composition and drivability and fuel economy. This would be much easier today due to the impressive electronic devices available, but in 1969, we had to do things the hard way. Related Articles – TBC launches

Fuels and lubes column
Other Posts
The Internet of Things, explained

The “Internet of Things” (IoT), simply explained, is a comprehensive way to manage data for greater productivity. It’s has been called the next mega-trend, and at its core are embedded software sensors placed in vehicles, machine tools, streetlights, and wind turbines—to name just a few devices in an ever-increasing list. Related Articles – Drivewyze, Diesel Tech

Analyzing Data Fleet Truck
Buying pre-owned trucks? No need to kick the tires

Purchasing a pre-owned truck should not be a contest. Buyers should have confidence in the equipment they are purchasing—with no surprises down the road. Related Articles – Class 8 truck preliminary orders fall in June – Scania BEV trucks begin transporting goods for IKEA in Portugal – Accelera, Daimler Truck N.A., PACCAR battery plant breaks

traffic generic
Evolving technology and vehicle insurance

Companies that insure motor carriers, trucks and drivers are not all the same. Some sell through independent agents, others through their own sales staffs. Some specialize in commercial truck insurance, while others sell it as one of a secondary line of coverage. Some insurance companies specialize in specific niches within the motor-carrier industry, such as

Evolving truck technology vehicle insurance Generic
Balancing act: Sleepers keep drivers comfortable while the fleet stays efficient

Driver retention is one of the biggest issues facing fleets today. There simply aren’t enough drivers to go around, and it’s impacting the bottom line. With that being the case, fleets have been going out of their way to provide drivers with all the creature comforts they require, in order to ensure that they stay

Kenworth T680 sleeper