Maintenance

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December 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Saving Amps & Money

By Stephane Babcock

Proper maintenance procedures for charging and storage will help extend the service life of heavy-duty batteries.

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Q&A: Al Cohn on Fuel-Efficient Tires, Footprints and Inflation

Buying fuel-efficient tires? Better make sure they're at the optimum inflation. (File photo: Goodyear)

By Jim Park

We sat down with tire-industry expert Al Cohn to gain some insight into fuel-efficient tires. We asked about inflation pressure and how it relates to tire wear and fuel efficiency, and about the wisdom of paying more for a tire that doesn't last as long.

Tags: Fuel Efficiency, Tires, Tire Inflation

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Avoiding Damage From Aggressive Cargoes

A corrosive fluid pitted this stainless steel tanker’s interior and started serious rusting. It might or might not be repairable. Once pitting occurs, the material is weakened and it’s likely to happen again. Knowing exactly what a commodity is enables a carrier to use the correct type of tanker and avoid such expensive damage.

By Tom Berg

The Liquid Products Database lists 5,000-plus substances and how they affect the interior walls of tank trailers.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Corrosion, Tankers

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

Better Maintenance Scheduling Leads to Better Service

Denise Rondini, Aftermarket Editor.

By Denise Rondini

Staying on top of maintenance not only improves the condition of vehicles, it can lead to improved business.

Tags: Vehicle Maintenance, Vehicle Repairs, Fleets

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Is There A Set Time to Change Air Springs?

This 14-year-old Heil pneumatic tanker owned by South Shore Transportation in Ohio runs only about 150 miles a day, and its air springs finally needed replacement last month. All four bags were changed out.

By Tom Berg

Type of service and wear, along with road damage, tend to establish any schedule, if that’s possible.

Tags: Suspensions, Replacement Cycles, Trailer Suspensions

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Getting the Most Out of Your Tire Program

Comprehensive tire management can turn a pile of beat-up rubber into a pile of gold.

By Jim Park

What to track in a tire program to make sure you’re getting the most out of every day they spend on the road.

Tags: Fleet Management, Tires, Tires and Wheels

October 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The Private Label Parts Equation

Fleets need to do a risk-cost-benefit analysis when considering switching from branded to private label parts.

By Denise Rondini

With the growth of all-makes (often referred to as private label or value line) parts programs, fleets have more choices than ever for fulfilling their parts needs. But do these programs offer real choices or just muddy the parts purchasing landscape?

Tags: Vehicle Maintenance, Aftermarket Parts, OEM Parts

October 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Top Tools for the Tire Shop

The one tool every tire shop needs is a tire inflation cage. It's designed to absorb the blast from a tire exploding during inflation.

By Jim Park

Moving tire care in-house can save time and money - if you have the right tools.

Tags: Maintenance Costs, Tires, Tires and Wheels, Tire Inflation

October 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Get the Most from Your Tire Pressure Sensors

Nearly all roadside tire failures can be traced back to underinflation. A TPMS system can reduce such incidents and pay for itself in less than 8 months. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Fleets are increasingly looking to tire pressure and temperature monitoring systems to optimize tire life and performance -- but if the system is not installed right, you won't get the full benefit of your investment.

Tags: TPMS, Bendix, Advantage PressurePro, Tires, Inflation

October 2014, Government Fleet - Feature

Acing Your Bucket Truck Inspection

Photo courtesy of Clark Public Utilities.

By Shelley Mika

Bucket and crane trucks pose greater safety risks than some other fleet equipment. Because employees’ lives may be at risk, careful inspection and maintenance of these vehicles are essential.

Tags: Crane Truck, Bucket Trucks, Vehicle Inspection, Utility Fleets, Preventive Maintenance, Medium-Duty Trucks, Vocational

September 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

Commentary: Managing the Shop

Aftermarket Editor, Denise L. Rondini

By Denise Rondini

Does the system come before the leadership? Or do you need the leadership and then the system?

Tags: Fleet Maintenance, Fleets, Aftermarket, In the Shop

September 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

What’s Going on with my Brakes?

Front-axle brakes designed to meet reduced stopping distance rules may not run hot enough under normal driving conditions.

By Jim Park

When we started looking at wheel-end issues for this month's Tires & Wheels story, we discovered that reduced stopping distance rules have had some unintended consequences.

Tags: Brakes, Regulations, Maintenance

September 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Would Your Brakes Pass Inspection?

Photo: J.J. Keller

By Betty Weiland, J.J. Keller

From September 7-13 – Brake Safety Week – more than 30,000 brake inspections are expected to be conducted. Roadside inspectors will be inspecting brake-system components to identify loose and missing parts; air and hydraulic fluid leaks; worn linings, pads, drums and rotors; and other faulty brake-system components.

Tags: Vehicle Inspection, Brake Safety Week, Brakes, CVSA

August 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

How Tires Affect Fuel Economy Testing

Apples to oranges. Accurate fuel economy test results can only be obtained using idendical trucks, including the tires.

By Jim Park

When setting out to evaluate a fuel-saving product, you don't want your numbers skewed by differences in rolling resistance from the tires. With some fuel-saving devices promising only marginal gains, the tires' contribution to the fuel consumption can adversely affect the apparent performance of the product. Here's what to watch for when setting up an evaluation or testing program.

Tags: Fuel Economy, SAE, Low Rolling Resistance Tires, Tires

August 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

Inside the Numbers Driving the Heavy-Duty Trucking Industry

By Staff

There are many ways to tell a story – through words in books and magazines, pictures, videos, song, and more. With the inaugural issue of the HDT Fact Book, we are telling trucking’s story through facts, numbers, statistics, charts, and graphs.

Tags: Emissions, Drivers, Safety, Equipment, Statistics, Parts, industry statistics, Fuel and Oil

August 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

On-And-Off Engine Patterns Can Be Hard on Oil

The engine off/engine on pattern of city deliveries can be hard on the oil. Photo: Deborah Lockridge

By Deborah Lockridge

Fleets that do city deliveries are increasingly turning vehicles off during deliveries rather than letting them idle. While this saves fuel and cuts emissions, and in many cases conforms with local regulations, Chevron warns that it could be affecting your engine oil.

Tags: Chevron, Engine Oil

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

The Benefits of Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires Explained

By Jim Park

There's little doubt left that tires formulated for lower rolling resistance work as advertised, but it's still tough to give up at few thousandths of an inch of tread. After all, tire miles are important, too. How much of a difference does the reduction in rolling resistance make?

Tags: Goodyear, Fuel Economy, Bridgestone, Tires, Low Rolling Resistance Tires

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Tips to Keep Your Battery Running in the Summer Heat

Photo: Jim Park

By By Phil Shumard and Maria Orlando-Krick, EnerSys

While warmer temperatures help to increase battery capacity, making it easier to turn over the engine, they also cause an increase in the rate at which the battery deteriorates. When the temperature is warmer, the current conducting grids corrode faster, reducing the life of your battery.

Tags: Batteries, EnerSys, Electrical System

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

5 Keys to Best Parts-Buying Practices

By Denise Rondini

Trucks are on the road much longer than they used to be, and that translates into a greater demand and investment in parts, service, and ongoing maintenance. Which means parts purchasing decisions more important than ever.

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Parts Inventory, Parts, Parts Management

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Oil Viscosity: How Low Can You Go?

Chevron conducted a live teardown of a Detroit DD15 engine, with more than 400,000 miles of service using Delo 400 XLE 10W-30, during the Mid-America Trucking Show. Photo: Evan Lockridge

By Deborah Lockridge

To meet expected greenhouse gas/fuel efficiency standards, oil companies and engine makers have been busy developing a new standard for engine oils that will provide a new type of lower-viscosity oil to improve engine efficiency.

Tags: OIl, Low-Viscosity Oil, Shell, Detroit Diesel, CITGO Lubricants, Chevron, Duron, API, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Daimler, Fuel Economy

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Has the U.S. SmartWay Program Helped Retreading?

By Jim Park

With regulations affecting how fleets fit their wheels, the retreading industry is still deciding whether or not the inclusion of verified low-rolling-resistance tires on the EPA's SmartWay list has helped the industry.

Tags: Retreads, Tires, EPA SmartWay, California Air Resources Board, California

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Nitrogen Tire Inflation: Still in the Game?

Nitrogen inflation is used in many specialty applications, but its ROI in heavy trucks is less clear. Photo by Dmirty A. Mottl, via Creative Commons.

By Jim Park

We don't hear much these days about nitrogen tire inflation systems for heavy trucks. They are still out there, and some users are reporting good results from their installations. Still, the ROI is hard to quantify. Using nitrogen won't hurt your tires, but there might be better ways to spend your tire maintenance dollars.

Tags: Nitrogen Tire Inflation, Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Continental Tires, Tires, Tire Inflation

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Retread Your Way to Prosperity

By Jim Park

Despite success stories reported by successful fleets, some misconceptions about retreads still exist. These myths are often based on bad, and sometimes severely outdated, information.

Tags: Tires, Retreads, Ryder, Goodyear, TRIB, Bridgestone

July 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

How Superior Bulk Logistics Saved Hundreds of Thousands on Warranty Costs

Superior now can track which makes of truck and which specs cost the most in maintenance.

By Deborah Lockridge

When Superior Bulk Logistics implemented the warranty management function of its fleet maintenance software, it was expecting to save $500,000 in the first year. By May, it was already more than halfway there.

Tags: Warranty, Information Technology, In the Shop, Superior Carriers

June 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Wheel-end Maintenance Saves Tires, Brakes

Proper bearing adjustment is precice work requiring specialised tools.

By Jim Park

A little extra diligence in the shop, or a bit of mechanical assistance, can help fleets avoid the irritants associated with loose wheel bearings, like irregular tire wear, premature brake relining and even wheel-offs.

Tags: Accuride, Alcoa, Timken, Dana Spicer, ConMet, SKF, Tires and Wheels, Wheel Ends

June 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Turn to Technology to Keep Tires at Proper Inflation

By Jim Park

We know from experience that many fleets don't do a great job at tire inflation management. And we know there's little point in looking to drivers for help in the matter, so what's left to do? Enter technology.

Tags: Tires, Tire Inflation, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, Automatic Tire Inflation Systems

June 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Inflate your Tires, Not Your Fuel Bill

The harm from overinflating tires, especially those that run a high percentage of unloaded miles, could outweigh the perceived gains in fuel efficiency.

By Jim Park

For as hard as fleets work for a 1% gain in fuel efficiency, it's hard to imagine giving up something like 2-4% in fuel efficiency to something as simple as maintaining correct inflation pressure, especially today when almost every inflation or monitoring system on the market offers payback in less than a year.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Tires, Tire Inflation

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Don't Scrub Away Tire Savings

By Jim Park

You've heard the expression, 'It's like herding cats"? It's like that with tires when your alignment is out of whack. With all those wheels heading in different directions, it's unlikely you're getting the best fuel economy -- or tire life.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Tires, Alignment

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

ATA asks FMCSA to Eliminate Tire Underinflation Violation

Inspectors wrote more than 30,000 violations for under-inflated tires over a two-year period. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

There is no official definition of underinflated against which to write citations, so the cops have historically been sort of making it up as they go along -- more than 30,000 tickets written on a regulation that has been proven impossible to determine.

Tags: ATA, TMC, CVSA, Tire Inflation, Tires

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Trailer Maintenance Tips

It’s difficult to find a damaged rear impact guard because owners and drivers know they must be fixed before going on the road. Surface rust and dirt shouldn’t result in a citation, but deeper corrosion and bends might. Every trailer builder’s guard is different, so parts from individual manufacturers must be used in repairs.

By Tom Berg and Jim Park

It’s been 14 years since repairing any trailer’s “ICC bumper” was a simple matter of cutting off the damaged section and welding on a straight piece of angle iron. Most trailers built since Jan. 26, 1998, have been equipped with more complex required rear impact guards that are not only stronger but are designed to absorb shock from a collision.

Tags: Trailers, TMC, Fifth Wheels, Stoughton Trailers, ICC Bumpers, Rear Impact Guards

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

How to Find a Service Provider

Select a service provider who has certified technicians and who has invested in the latest tools and diagnostic equipment.

By Denise Rondini

Finding and training technicians, purchasing tools and equipment, maintaining a parts inventory, dealing with OSHA and the EPA. These are just a few of the headaches fleets that maintain their own trucks face.

Tags: OSHA, EPA, Aftermarket, Dealers, Service Providers, Wensel’s Service Centers, JX Enterprises

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Providing ‘Comforts of Home’ for Heartland’s Drivers

Key to Bruce Hudson’s change to Heartland Express’s tractors is a larger alternator and mounting batteries on frame rails so they’ll stay cool.

By Tom Berg

Bruce Hudson, director of corporate maintenance at Heartland Express, has a heart when it comes to the Iowa-based truckload and logistics company’s drivers, who must spend nights on the road. So he’s come up with changes to a tractor’s electrical system that will benefit them during off-duty hours.

Tags: Heartland Express, Once Around the Yard

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Benchmarking Tire Programs: How Does Your Company Stack Up?

By Jim Park

Fleets spend tons of money on tires – so much, in fact, that bad tire management can become a competitive handicap. Find out how four well-run fleets run their tire programs to give their operations a competitive advantage.

Tags: Benchmarking, TMC, Tires, ATIS, Tires and Wheels, FedEx Ground, Crete Carrier, South Shore Carriers, Batesville Logistics

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Tending Liftgate Batteries

By Tom Berg

Bruce Purkey knows where the electrons go. And, as president of Purkey’s Fleet Electric and his many activities in the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations, he’s well aware that some of them flow to batteries that support the electric-over-hydraulic systems for liftgates on trucks and trailers. Usually there are two and as many as four Group 31 batteries, like the ones on a truck or tractor.

Tags: Trailers, TMC, Waltco, Maxon, Idle Reduction, Batteries, Con-Way, Purkey's Fleet Electric, Trail Charger, Sure Power Industries

May 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Inside Meritor’s Parts Distribution Center

Meritor offers a wide variety of undercarriage and drivetrain components. The company says it is seeing an increase in private label requests from both OEMs and heavy-duty marketing groups.

By Denise Rondini

Ever wonder exactly how the parts you order get to you when you need them where you need them? Meritor recently invited Heavy Duty Trucking to its Florence, Ky., Parts Distribution Center.

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Meritor

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Ounces of Prevention Means Miles of Cure For Your Tires

Alignment and balancing can keep your tires and your truck running straight and true.

By Jim Park

Unlike their human counterparts, dead tires do tell tales. And aside from underinflation and road strikes, the tales most commonly told of tires robbing their owners of full value revolve around alignment. Scrubbing and scuffing and driving tires off in different directions, poor alignment kills tires faster than almost any other mechanical malady.

Tags: TMC, Tires, Alignment, Bee Line Company, Hunter Engineering, IMI, Tires and Wheels, E-Z Line, Counteract Balancing Beads

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

A Systems Approach to Start/Charge System Maintenance

All that empty space between the winding is unused space. Square-wire windings make total use of the space and produce higher output.

By Jim Park

We have to stop thinking of our start/charge systems as simply a handful of separate components, and start viewing them as a system. From alternators to batteries and starters, cables and regulators, and even add-on components like low-voltage cut-off switches and DC/AV inverters, each can impact the component next to it.

Tags: Batteries, Electrical System, Purkey's Fleet Electric, Start/charge system, Delco Remy

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Frequent Inspections Save Tires

Frequent and thorough yard checks will catch problems your drivers miss.

By Jim Park

It seems the best you can expect from many drivers is a quick visual check that the tire is where it should be. Whether or not it's capable of holding air is another matter.

Tags: Tire Costs, Tires, Tire Inflation

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Improving Your Trailer Appearance

Fontaine Renew can completely refurbish a standard flatbed trailer in about two and a half days on average.

By Kate Harlow

Tips for vinyl signage and images, plus refurbishing trailers.

Tags: Trailers, East Manufacturing, Mac Trailer, Vinyl Graphics, Refurbished trailers, VSP, Schneider Graphics, Fontaine Renew, Conway Manufacturing

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Once Around the Yard: Tracking Helps Close the Doors

A sensor-switch in the door header can be tricked with a magnet, telling a reefer’s electronic controls the doors are closed and allowing the unit to run. So K&J managers use tracking to determine what the rig’s really doing.

By Tom Berg

Common sense suggests that if a trailer’s doors are open, its refrigeration unit ought to be shut down. But many customers disagree, thinking the products will be better protected if cooled air continues to circulate as freight is being unloaded.

Tags: Trailers, Reefers, Carrier Transicold, Blue Tree Systems, Once Around the Yard, K&J Trucking

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

LEDs Light the Way

Freightliner’s Cascadia is standard with custom-fit LED lamps.  Truck-Lite is also making LEDs for International’s ProStar and Volvo’s VNL.

By Tom Berg

If you were in trucking about 30 years ago, you might remember the switch from incandescent sealed-beam headlamps to halogens, which were so much better that some truck operators stopped using auxiliary fog and driving lights. A more recent step up was projector-beam lamps, whose optics better aim the lumens from halogen bulbs and even more effectively light the way for drivers.

Tags: Volvo, Navistar, Freightliner, Optronics, Trucklite, LEDs, J.W. Speaker

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

Commentary: How Much do Your Technicians Know About Wheel Integrity?

By Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor

Executive Contributing Editor Rolf Lockwood discusses wheel integrity and the importance of technicians being well-versed in the rules of fastening wheels properly.

Tags: FMCSA, CSA, Wheels, Wheel-offs, Technicians

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Do We Worry Too Much About Inflation Pressure?

Tires exposed to direct sunlight will hear up, causing pressure differentials between shaded tires, like inside duals. Illustration courtesy of Aperia Technologies

By Jim Park

Tire pressure monitoring systems have allowed us a peek into the secret life of tires, and revealed some astonishing details.

Tags: TPMS, TMC, ATIS, Tire Pressure, Tires

April 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Bendix: Strong Friction, Protective Coating Help Combat Rust Jacking in Brakes

Choosing high-quality friction materials can help combat rust jacking, according to Bendix.

By Truckinginfo Staff

As winter winds down across North America, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake reminds fleets and drivers readying for springtime brake maintenance to fight rust jacking on two fronts.

Tags: Corrosion, Brakes, Winter, Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Mobilizing Best Practices in Fleet Maintenance

By Greg Wilson, GE Capital Fleet Services

Maintaining a mobile maintenance program adds another layer of complexity into the traditional maintenance program mix. It's hard for many fleets to scale their internal processes to ensure remote assets are being repaired and maintained via the same best practices that are afforded to their on-site vehicles.

Tags: Maintenance, GE Capital Fleet Services

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Avoiding Common Maintenance Mistakes

Drivers need to be trained to distinguish when a fault code means the truck needs to be brought in immediately and when it is okay to wait for the next scheduled maintenance appointment.

By Denise Rondini

Fleets try to do a good job of keeping their trucks in top operating condition, and most recognize that maintenance plays an important role in achieving that goal. Still there are some things that get overlooked by even the most seasoned fleet manager.

Tags: Maintenance, CSA, Aftermarket, Ryder Systems, Decisiv, Preventative Maintenance, VMRS, W.W. Williams

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Are Your Aftermarket Truck Parts the Real Deal?

Image source: psndealer.com<br />

By Jane Clark, NationaLease

Phony designer handbags…fake Rolex watches…buy these without realizing it and you’ll undoubtedly overpay for inferior products. Your wallet and your ego will both take a hit, but you’ll survive. But if you purchase fake aftermarket truck parts, the results can be disastrous.

Tags: Maintenance, ATA, Aftermarket Parts, TMC, Aftermarket, NationaLease

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

The Lowdown on the New Low-Viscosity Oils

Kinematic viscosity is what you might envision when thinking of viscosity &amp;ndash; gravitational flow. But the new oils will meet viscosity standards measured at high temperatures/high shear conditions.

By Deborah Lockridge

Exactly what is this "high-temp, high-shear" viscosity engine oil standard in the works for the next round of EPA emissions standards, and what are engine makers doing to make sure engines will still be well protected?

Tags: Fuel and Oil, Engines, Fuel Economy, GHG Emissions, Engine Oil, TMC, API

March 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Top 3 Ways to Preserve Tire Life (And Value)

Even the best tires money can buy will profit from a little help. Basic maintenance can prolong tire life, sometimes dramatically.

By Jim Park

Still waiting for the million-mile tire? Don’t hold your breath, but we’ll probably see such a tire in our lifetime. For now, you’ll have to settle for half a million miles.

Tags: Michelin, Tires, NFI, Retreads, Tires and Wheels, Air Products & Chemicals Inc., Tire Inflation, Load & Inflation Tables, Tire Pressure, Equal, Magnum, Centramatic, International Marketing Inc.

February 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Making the Case for Low-Rolling-Resistance Tires

Premium all-position tires offer reduced rolling resistance through ribbed tread patterns and shallow grooves.

By Jim Park

How do you explain to the boss that the tires you want to buy are going to cost more up front but run fewer miles? You can explain they will save money on fuel, but then she's going to want numbers.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Tires

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