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The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a story of two extremes—some fleets have been running harder than ever delivering essential goods and other fleets have had to park their trucks. As states across the country reopen and business starts picking up, the maintenance needs of your furloughed trucks should be taken into consideration. Though they’ve been spared wear and tear over the past two to three months, the effects of time still have a role to play.
“Fuel, whether it be gasoline fuel or diesel fuel, has a shelf life,” noted Jay Anderson, the primary field product trainer for Wix Filters. “It will start to deteriorate, especially fuels that have a bio ingredient in them—ethanol for gasoline, and then the biodiesel that we’re utilizing across most of our country.”
Fleets whose equipment has been idle need to be cognizant of the fact that their fuel may not be of a quality that they are anticipating, Anderson pointed out. “A lot of companies, Wix included, offer swab test kits that go right into the fuel tanks, onboard machinery equipment or over-the-road vehicles, and we can actually indicate what the quality of the fuel is on an immediate basis,” he said.
You also have to consider your engine oil quality, depending on how long your trucks have been idle and your typical oil drain interval and duty cycles.
“Oil does have some seasonal aspects as well, especially in the North,” Anderson said. “I think that there are going to be some indicators that we’re going to be have to be mindful of such as the oil qualities and fuel qualities, and whether that air filter has been tended to in terms of the maintenance cycle.”
Not to mention the little critters that may have taken up residence.
“If that vehicle has been parked in an equipment yard, do we have a mouse nest someplace in the air intake system that we have to be aware of?” he asked. “Do we need to do an inspection prior to turning that piece of equipment machinery or vehicle back into service?”
These are all things to be mindful of as the pandemic continues. While you’re gearing up to get back on the road, educating yourself on the proper startup procedures is key. Anderson noted that Wix has a new eLearning program that the company is happy to showcase, which may provide some education to combat boredom.
“I don’t think there’s probably a better time than for us to release a new learning curriculum right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of people that are looking for opportunities to improve their knowledge base, and they’re doing their work at home in their home offices or at their dining room tables. So, we’ve had a very high demand for digital training, and this really fits that need.”
This new program includes information on, oil filtration, air filtration, fuel filtration, hydraulic filtration, cooling filtration, and then specialty filtration and support products as well.