More technical training courses and constructive support for avoiding potential FMCSA’s Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) violations are two specific parts and service examples being brought forward to fleet management members by Truck-Lite.
In response to fleet managers and truck technicians, the company developed online training modules on lighting and harness, basics in electricity, lighting fundamentals, harness fundamentals, LED lighting performance, regulations and questions. The entire series is presented under the moniker of Truck-Lite Training Institute (TTI).
“We heard the end-user truck operators loud and clear, and their requests were for more online training, to supplement our users guide,” said Sherry White, marketing manager, national accounts for Truck-Lite. “Sure, the customers still request face-to-face training, but they feel that the online training properly augments the in-person methods.”
To date, White reports that participants have been about half counter staff and parts personnel at warehouse distributors and the other half were fleet technicians.
Truck operators also requested more support to eliminate or minimize lighting-related violations in the CSA vehicle maintenance procedures. “Fleets know that lighting is a major sore spot for inspections, and they’ve become very cognizant of lighting and the impact it has on their CSA scores,” stated White.
An informational flyer called “For CSA, Choose Wisely” includes images of the incandescent and LED kits and quickly reviews the changes, the requirements and the violations, plus exactly what’s needed to make a quick and easy roadside repair to keep the vehicle legal until it can reach a repair center.
The company has long supported technicians’ education on lights and proper service maintenance procedures. It’s a participant in TMC’s annual SuperTech competition by sending key people, free components and systems boards.
“First, this competition—and other regional contests—beefs up the technicians’ skills particularly in lighting and electrical systems,” said Brad Van Riper, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Truck-Lite. “Second, technicians can improve service techniques and gain confidence. Finally, we learn from our customers about best practices and hear what they think of our entire offering.”
Recently, Truck-Lite determined weak links in a vehicle lighting system included physical damage caused by tree limbs. ”We recommend fleets protect the lights by buying or creating extrusions on the trailer’s top rails,” Van Riper noted. “Another weak link is corrosion particularly when some customers request older, unsealed connectors.Take every effort to get a sealed, water-tight system upfront. The few pennies investment will pay off big-time in reliability with fewer headaches.”
Fleets have made progress in purchasing and maintaining lighting systems, Van Riper said. He feels that three opportunities to further improve lighting-electrical issues are in front of astute fleet managers:
1) Wiring harnesses—“to feed the power, the harness must be reliable. There can be no excess wire plus fleets should use drip loops and install properly dressed wires, with no weight on the harnesses,” he explained.
2) New vehicle pilot reviews—the fleets, the suppliers and the OEMs have learned about many improvements and the vehicle’s being built the way it’s supposed to be. “The smart fleet manager monitors his own specs and creates a customized, comprehensive check list,” Van Riper said. “It’s such a healthy, effective process to follow.”
3) Consider the new LED custom headlamps with longer life, improved driver satisfaction and superior lighting performance above the traditional halogen systems, adding increased visibility and safety. He noted lamps feature a significant reduction in amperage draw on the vehicle’s electrical system, freeing up power for other uses: “The reduced draw results in a life cycle that is rated at more than 30,000 hours, lasting the life of the truck. Its unique lens coating provides multiple layers of protection against crazing and