1. Have a sound-documented preventative maintenance (PM) program combining annual inspections with schedule “B” PM intervals.
- A. Check batteries, load test and clean each time.
- B. Pressurize radiators to 18 lbs.
- C. Properly grease the truck or trailer.
- D. Maximize oil drains.
- E. Check alignment of front and rear axles.
- F. Air pressure, air pressure, air pressure.
- G. Check wheel torqueing each PM at a minimum of 550 ft.-lbs.
- H. Maximize air filter life through air filter restriction.
- I. Check Coolant additives compliance.
- J. Driver comfort items.
2. Have a sound maintenance documentation program that captures all labor, parts, repair information and additional managerial data that provides internal cost for warranty recovery. Do not seek information that has no real value. Understand that time cost you $1.00 “per minute.”
3. Parts storage should be clean, neat and organized like a supermarket with the inventory balance between immediate needs and future operational boundaries, using sound business purchasing thought processes. Partner up.
4. Shop should be clean, neat, organized, painted floors, a place for everything and everything in its place. Shop floors cleaned during and at the end of each day. Shop office should be a business environment and not a collection place for personal activities and social gatherings. Keep it neat and professional. Think Greenish.
5. Technician stand up desk, repair order racks, required form storage to provide a productive organized place for documentation activities with a time clock.
6. Shop repairs should be limited to “business” only activities and no personal activities should take place. No personal vehicles or equipment repairs to take place.
7. Tires: Round, black, plenty of rubber, at the right price, with a strong service provider with no emotional attachments to any specific brand. Tire maintenance cost should be determined by cost per 32nd’s, miles per 32nd’s, vocation, and most of all aired at a consistent acceptable pressure with perfect alignment in the front, between the rears and total vehicle alignment. This does not have to be done in an outside shop.
8. Warranty: Have documentation with complaint, cause and correction, documented actual time, a predetermined understand from the purchasing dealer, internal simplified process, failed tagged part storage and above all backed with credible fair expectation using professional negotiating skills backed with a receiving running balance totals. Use dealers when it financial makes sense. Let them pay for their own sins of manufacturing, you already paid for it once in the purchase of the new vehicle.
9. Products: Use the best quality basic products, the best oil, the best grease, and the best lubes, get the maximum life out of each products. Do not use any snake oil-type products; keep it simple. All brand name products are good and it is up to the user to find the maximum life of each using some of the manufacturer’s guideline as guidelines.
10. Last but not least, do not over maintain your equipment. Operate lean, but not mean. Be firm and fair. Operate every day as if chapter 11 was on the horizon. Find the balance and seek limited time involvement advice, through magazines, or outside services that make sense.