The Importance of Regular Preventative Maintenance for Fleets
By Darin Rickard
One of the challenges to running a safe, compliant, and reliable fleet can be the busyness of the daily work schedule. It’s important for fleet operators and drivers not to let a heavy workload lead to complacency about the important aspects of our job, especially when it comes to safety. If we do, the end results can be catastrophic. The extra 15 minutes it takes to perform a pre or post-trip inspection can save a company down time, costly repairs, or even damage to others on the road.
The pictures below are an example of an avoidable repair. This axle had a hub seal leaking that was not addressed immediately. The end result was an expensive axle end repair including bearings, hub, and brakes. This is why it is so important to perform regular preventative maintenance on your commercial equipment. Key preventative maintenance items include include BIT and DOT inspections, oil changes, and smoke opacity tests. The hub seal leak may have been caught during a regular inspection and repaired before it got to this point.
The second line of defense is the driver’s pre-trip inspection and occasional walk around. In this case the issue wasn’t noticed until flames were fanning out of the rear of the trailer. Fortunately, the driver was able to extinguish the flames and keep them contained at the axle before it spread to the cargo portion of the trailer. This incident is an important reminder that taking a few extra minutes in your day to perform a pre-trip inspection, combined with an overall preventative maintenance program, will go a long way to preventing unnecessary cost, fleet downtime, and jeopardy to the public safety.