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March 2018, - Feature

Keeping Truck Bodies Repaired is Good for the Bottom Line

As truck OEMs use more advanced materials for body surfaces, education and training has become vital for body and paint technicians. Photo: 3M

By Jack Roberts

Keeping truck cabs in good repair has always been good for a fleet’s image. And today, it’s good for the bottom line as well.

Tags: Fuel Efficiency, Vehicle Repairs, Managing the Shop, Downtime, Return On Investment

March 2018, - Feature

The Battle for Diesel Technicians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the trucking industry will need an estimated 67,000 new technicians and 75,000 diesel engine specialists by 2022. Photo: Ryder

By Ronnie Garrett

As fleets face off against the growing technician shortage, the need grows for partnerships with educational institutions and enhanced recruiting and retention efforts.

Tags: Technician Shortage, Recruiting, Technician Training, Technicians, Mechanics

March 2018, - Feature

What Do Final Mile Trends Mean for Equipment and Maintenance Managers?

Mercedes Benz vans has developed potential logistics concepts involving electric vans, robots, drones, and smart autonomous loading systems. Photo: Mercedes-Benz

By Deborah Lockridge

As urban centers increasingly battle problems with pollution and congestion while e-commerce grows by leaps and bounds, we’ll see changing technologies in last-mile logistics – and changing maintenance challenges.

Tags: Technician Training, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Electric Trucks, Last Mile Delivery, TMC, UPS, Maintenance Management, Alternative Fuels

February 2018, - Department

How Drivers Can Make or Break Truck Aftertreatment System Maintenance

A truck driver may not know when to address a DPF regen warning, which can costs fleets days of downtime if it requires advanced service. Photo: Jim Park

By Jim Park

Parked forced regenerations of diesel particulate filters continue to frustrate and confuse drivers. Drivers under time constraints often tempt fate and continue their journeys, ignoring regen requests.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Truck Drivers, DPF, Diesel Particulate Filter, Diesel Exhaust Aftertreatment

February 2018, - Department

Tire Telematics: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

A new generation of wheel sensors may soon be transmitting surprising new types of operational information via tire telematics to fleet managers. Photo: Maxion

By Jack Roberts

Sensors in tires and other wheel-end components are ready to move beyond optimizing tire management programs in some very surprising ways.

Tags: Telematics, Tires, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

February 2018, - Editorial

Truck Parts Coming to a 3D Printer Near You

Denise Rondini, HDT Contributing Aftermarket Editor, says 3D printing could affect how you buy parts and even freight patterns.

By Denise Rondini

3D-printed parts could be one of the biggest trends in 2018 and beyond. We could see a future where every supplier in some capacity will have an additive manufacturing program, says Aftermarket Contributing Editor Denise Rondini.

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Daimler Trucks North America, Parts and Service, Suppliers, 3D Printing

February 2018, - Cover Story

What You Should Know About Aftertreatment System Maintenance

Aftertreatment system maintenance is easier when you stay ahead of the demand.

By Jim Park

We appear to be learning from our mistakes in aftertreatment system maintenance, but we still have a way to go before we’re at peace with the things.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, DPF, Emissions Reduction, Maintenance Management

January 2018, - Feature

How Fleets Are Looking to Outsource Maintenance and Repairs

Gerry Mead, center, former senior VP of maintenance for U.S. Xpress and now with Phillips Industries, and Ernie Sibbick, right, maintenance supervisor at Keith Hall & Sons Transport, discuss the parts and service needs of today's fleets. Photo courtesy Today's Trucking

By Denise Rondini

Fleets say they want to outsource more of their maintenance and repair, but continue to do much of it in-house as they try to find service providers that can meet their needs.

Tags: Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Technician Shortage, Outsourcing, Vehicle Repairs, Technician Training, Technicians, HDAW, HDAD

January 2018, - Feature

Q&A: Phillips Industries, From Signal Arms to Autonomous Trucks

The original name of the company was H.W. Phillips Co. Photo: Phillips Industries

By Deborah Lockridge

Phillips Industries is celebrating 90 years in business. We talk to its third- and fourth-generation leadership to learn more about the history of the company and how it's looking ahead to wireless technology, autonomous trucks and more.

Tags: Phillips Industries, History, Q&A, Trucking History, Anniversaries, HDAW

January 2018, - Department

How Fleets Can Get the Most From a National Tire Account

National tire management programs initially began as roadside assistance services, but now include complete tire life cycle management and data analysis options as well. Photo: Goodyear

By Jack Roberts

New options and greatly expanded services mean more choices for trucking fleets. Here’s how to fine-tune your fleet's tire management services.

Tags: Replacement Tires, Tire Costs, Fleet Manager, Tires

January 2018, - Feature

6 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Parts Inventory

A well-managed parts inventory helps can help a heavy-duty truck fleet prevent downtime and save money. Photo: Paul Hartley

By Denise Rondini

A well-managed parts inventory helps can help a heavy-duty truck fleet prevent downtime and save money.

Tags: Parts Inventory, Parts Management, Managing the Shop, Downtime, Parts and Service

January 2018, - Feature

Preparation the Key to Handling Winter Weather

A key way that fleets can ensure that trucks are prepared for winter and drivers are able to get help if they need it, is to have a comprehensive maintenance partner. Photo: Ryder System

By Steven Martinez

While most of the impact of a winter storm will directly affect drivers, many of the disruptions can be prevented by a well-maintained and prepared fleet.

Tags: Driver Safety, Preventive Maintenance, Winter Driving, Driver Safety Tips, Ryder System, Snow

December 2017, - Feature

What Tire Dealers Can Tell us About Truck Tire Trends

Beasley Tire offers mobile services that perform on-site alignment and tire balancing on large trucks and mounting and balancing tires on small vehicles.

By Ann Neal

Low-cost imported tires, retread demand, and the increasing presence of truckstop chains into the tire market are among the trends seen in the truck tire market in Modern Tire Dealer’s annual survey of commercial tire dealers.

Tags: Tires, Maintenance Management, Retreads

December 2017, - Department

Taking Tire Pressure Management to the Next Level

More and more information management options are becoming available today as tire pressure management systems begin to integrate with telematics and connected vehicle systems. Photo: PressurePro

By Jack Roberts

Tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems are a proven way for fleets to manage one of their biggest consumable items and ensure safe operation. New technologies will take the capabilities of these systems to the next level.

Tags: Tires, Tire Inflation, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems

December 2017, - Feature

7 Mistakes to Avoid for Smooth Roadside Repairs

Having the right information helps determine if a technician with tools should be sent to the site of the repair or if a tow truck is needed. Photo: Ryder

By Denise Rondini

Even with the greatest preventive maintenance programs, you still are going to have some failures.Yet not all fleets do a good job of managing the breakdown process. Here’s a look at common mistakes fleets make when it comes to emergency roadside service.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Repairs, Downtime

December 2017, - Feature

Year in Review: The Truck Aftermarket in 2017

Photo: Steven Martinez<br /><br />

By Denise Rondini

Because of the importance of parts and service to fleet efficiency, fleet owners and managers pay close attention to developments and trends in the truck parts and service aftermarket. Aftermarket Editor Denise Rondini recaps some of the key aftermarket issues from 2017.

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Managing the Shop, Technicians, Right to Repair, Parts and Service

December 2017, - Editorial

Commentary: An Update on Right to Repair

Denise Rondini

By Denise Rondini

The independent aftermarket — and by extension fleets — are better off today because of Right to Repair efforts, says Aftermarket Contributing Editor Denise Rondini in her December column.

Tags: Maintenance, Aftermarket Parts, Right to Repair, Parts and Service

December 2017, - Feature

5 Tips for Servicing Cummins ISX15 Engines

Photos courtesy of Industrial Parts Depot

By Egan Hernandez

Keeping abreast of the latest part updates and installation techniques can prevent costly errors and even catastrophic failures. Here are five tips for avoiding serious issues when servicing Cummins ISX15 engines.

Tags: Cummins, Diesel Engines, Cummins ISX, Fleet Maintenance

December 2017, - Feature

Cautiously Optimistic, Rusty Rush Looks Ahead

Rusty Rush predicts &amp;ldquo;headwinds&amp;rdquo; with electric trucks, but thinks they will start to become commonplace in a couple years&amp;rsquo; time. Photo: Jack Roberts

By Jack Roberts

The Rush Truck Centers CEO says he sees an industry today with a lot of new technology and not nearly enough technicians.

Tags: Rush Truck Centers, Technician Training, Technicians, Rush Tech Skills Rodeo

November 2017, - Department

Swift Celebrates Tech Excellence With SwiftTech Competition

At the SwiftTech competition, technicians were given simulated problems to troubleshoot and solve within a set time limit. Photos: Steven Martinez<br />

By Steven Martinez

Swift’s annual SwiftTech competition goes beyond pitting techs against each other in a series of trials. Learn more in the November HDT Fleet Talk.

Tags: Technician Shortage, Competition, Technician Training, Technicians, Swift Transportation

November 2017, - Department

What You Don't Know About Your Wheels Can Hurt You

If you don&amp;rsquo;t use the proper tools, you&amp;rsquo;ll never know how much &amp;ndash; or how little &amp;ndash; clamping force you have on the wheels. Photo: Jim Park<br />

By Jim Park

There’s much more to wheel installation — and many more pitfalls to taking shortcuts — than you may think. If you haven’t reviewed your wheel installation procedures lately, here’s something to think about.

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

November 2017, Business Fleet - Feature

Tire Maintenance: It’s Not Just Checking Tire Pressure

This truck demonstrates uneven treads on dual tires. Photo by Les Smart.

By Les Smart

For proper tire care, it’s also important to make sure that each tire has adequate tire tread left and to check that the sidewalls have no cuts or damage.

Tags: Maintenance, Tires, Tire Inflation, Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems, Safety

November 2017, - Editorial

Commentary: 3 Ways to Improve Technician Recruiting

Denise Rondini

By Denise Rondini

Fleets have been struggling with the technician shortage for years, and it doesn’t look like there will be a silver bullet to solve the problem anytime soon. However, there are some things you can do to improve your odds of getting the technicians you need.

Tags: Technician Shortage, Recruiting, Employee Retention, Technicians

November 2017, - Feature

A New Frontier in Diagnostics

Diagnostic tools are vital for fleet maintenance procedures today. But the systems can be expensive and difficult to use across different makes and models of trucks. Photo: Rush Truck Centers

By Jack Roberts

Diagnostic devices on the shop floor are powerful maintenance tools. But as with any new technology, fleets are still learning how to uses them in a cost-effective manner.

Tags: Telematics, Vehicle Diagnostics, Diagnostics, Remote Diagnostics, Big Data

November 2017, Work Truck - Cover Story

Tire Prices Experience Upward Pressure

Image courtesy of Pirelli Tires

By Mike Antich

For many vocational truck fleets, price is the key factor when selecting the type of replacement tire. As shown in the past, when replacement tire prices increase, the retread industry benefits since retreads are significantly cheaper.

October 2017, - Feature

The New Oils: An Update on CK-4 and FA-4

Extensive engine testing of the new oils involved engine teardowns. Photo: Chevron

By Deborah Lockridge

Last December, for the first time, the American Petroleum Institute started licensing two different approved heavy-duty diesel engine oils. CK-4 adoption is going largely as expected, but very few fleets are using FA-4 yet – because very few engine makers so far are recommending it.

Tags: Maintenance, Fuel Economy, API, PC-11, Oils, Engine Oils

October 2017, - Feature

Big Data is Generating Big Returns

Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

By John G. Smith

Data ranging from maintenance costs to video images is increasingly helping fleets to drive down the cost of everything from on-road repairs to collisions. And those who dig a little deeper can realize some of the biggest savings of all.

Tags: Big Data, Analytics, Information Technology, ATA MC&E

October 2017, - Department

Are Your Tires up to the Job?

To determine if your tires are up to the job you&amp;rsquo;re asking them to do, you&amp;rsquo;ll next to establish a consistent program to track their performance &amp;ndash; and then follow through with it. Photo: Michelin

By Jack Roberts

Tires look alike, but the wrong tire doing the wrong job can be a productivity killer for fleets. Tracking tires and matching them for the task at hand takes constant patience and vigilance.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Tires, Tires and Wheels

October 2017, - Feature

Is the Right Oil Getting Into Your Engines?

When you switch to new oils and don&amp;rsquo;t drain enough out of your bulk tank first, you may lose benefits such as longer oil drains. Photo: Shell

By Deborah Lockridge

You can spend a lot of time choosing the right oil, only to lose out on the benefits by not policing what actually goes into your tanks and trucks.

Tags: Diesel Engines, Oil, Engine Oils, CK-4

October 2017, Government Fleet - Editors Corner

Can Fleets Subscribe to a Vehicle?

By Chris Brown

For fleets, technology is enabling a more efficient way to use vehicles, increase utilization, and more precisely match the type of vehicle to usage.

Tags: Carsharing, Shared-Use Mobility, Cox Automotive, Fleet Forward Conference, Flexdrive

October 2017, - Feature

Q&A: Bruce Stockton Talks Maintenance Challenges

Bruce Stockton

By Deborah Lockridge

What are fleets' biggest maintenance headaches today and some ways to address them? We talk to Bruce Stockton, who has headed up equipment and maintenance for fleets ranging from CFI to Kenan Advantage and is now consulting on total cost of ownership and uptime.

Tags: Maintenance, Emissions, Engine Oil, Oil Analysis, Q&A, Uptime, Data Analysis, Coolants

September 2017, - Feature

TMC Panel Educates Fleets on Real-World Electric Truck Operation

 A policy of &amp;ldquo;opportunity charging&amp;rdquo; that has drivers putting trucks on charging devices during lunch, breaks and other downtimes is a key component in keeping the trucks&amp;rsquo; state of charge high for longer periods of time. Photo: Orange EV

By Jack Roberts

Calculating recharging times, driver training and overcoming “range anxiety” were just a few of the topics covered at an electric truck panel discussion at TMC’s Fall Meeting.

Tags: TMC, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids, Battery-Electric Vehicles, Technology & Maintenance Council

September 2017, - Feature

Fleets Share Best Practices on Implementing New Technologies

TMC panelists Bill Brown, Colin Crowley, Peter Savage and Deryk Powell outlined what they&amp;rsquo;ve learned as more and more fleets struggled to adopt new technologies and make them work effectively. Photo: Jack Roberts

By Jack Roberts

Looking at technology as a problem-solver first can go a long way toward its successful deployment in real-world fleet operations. A panel discussion at TMC's Fall Meeting offered real-world advice.

Tags: TMC

September 2017, - Editorial

Commentary: Fast-Tracking Technicians

Denise Rondini

By Denise Rondini

The TechSpedite program teaches technicians how to do the job not just from a technical perspective but from a personal and professional perspective too, explains Aftermarket Contributing Editor Denise Rondini in her September column.

Tags: Maintenance, Training, Technician Training, Hiring, Technicians

September 2017, - Editorial

Commentary: The Other Shortage - Heavy-Duty Technicians

Rolf Lockwood

By Rolf Lockwood

The shortage of able technicians is going to bite us if we don’t find a fix. In fact, it already is, says Executive Contributing Editor Rolf Lockwood.

Tags: Maintenance, Technician Shortage, Employee Retention, Technicians

September 2017, Work Truck - Feature

A Closer Look at Diesel Cabover Warranties

File photo

By Paul Clinton

Isuzu, Chevrolet, Hino, and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America offer similar standard warranties for their diesel cabovers, and provide additional component warranties to increase a fleet manager's piece of mind.

Tags: Warranty, Diesel Engines, Cabovers, Truck Warranty, Chevrolet, Hino, Isuzu, Mitsubishi Fuso

August 2017, - How-To

Why You Should Pay Attention to Trailer Alignment

Trailer alignment is more important than ever when you run wide-base tires. HDT file photo

By Ted Armstrong, SAF-Holland

Proper trailer axle/wheel alignment is critical to maximizing tire life, and it's only become more important with the use of wide-base single tires on trailers for fuel economy and weight savings.

Tags: Maintenance, Preventive Maintenance, Trailers, Tires, Alignment, SAF-Holland, Wide-Base Tires, Axles, Suspensions

July 2017, - Department

Taking Tires for a Test Drive

Tread depth measurements and tire condition checks should take place at regular intervals, and all relevant data noted on the evaluation. Photo: Michelin

By Jim Park

If you want to test drive some new tires before you buy — and who wouldn’t — be prepared to invest significant time and energy in the project.

Tags: Vehicle Testing, Fuel Economy, Tires

July 2017, - Cover Story

Evaluating Options for Outside Service

By Denise Rondini

Turnaround time, competency of technicians, and cost are just a few of the factors that go into a fleet’s decision to outsource maintenance and repair.

Tags: Outsourcing, Aftermarket, Parts and Service

June 2017, - Feature

The Rolling Resistance Paradox

Photo: Jim Park

By Jim Park

Looking for a tire with the lowest possible rolling resistance? If that’s your only consideration, you might not be happy with the tire you get.

Tags: Fuel Efficiency, Tires, Low Rolling Resistance Tires

June 2017, - Editorial

Commentary: Complacency Is a Killer

Rolf Lockwood

By Rolf Lockwood

Downtime, unhappy drivers, bitching customers... they all contribute to an ugly bottom line, writes Executive Contributing Editor Rolf Lockwood.

Tags: Training, Technicians, Safety

June 2017, - Feature

FA-4: Oil Worth Waiting For

The new API FA-4 oil-service category was developed specifically to work in concert with the new generation of more fuel-efficient heavy-duty diesels starting to come on the market. Photo: Shell Oil

By David Cullen

The newest API oil-service category promises to boost mpg, but its use is limited to new engines.

Tags: Diesel Engines, Oil, Engine Oil, CK-4

June 2017, - Feature

Reports: The Final Piece of the Outsourcing Equation

One key to effective outsourcing isn&#39;t the technician -- it&#39;s the data. Photo: PacLease

By Denise Rondini

One concern fleets have when considering outsourcing their maintenance and repair is that they will lose control over that portion of their operation. Paying attention to reporting can help address that fear.

Tags: Maintenance, Outsourcing, VMRS

June 2017, - Feature

Retreading to Maximize Casing Value

Tread patterns are available for any type of operation from low rolling resistance drive tires to vocational tires. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Retreading extends the life of the most expensive part of the tire, which lowers cost per mile significantly. This is part five in a five-part series for National Tire Safety Week.

Tags: Tires, Tires and Wheels, Retread

June 2017, - Feature

What You Should Know About Tire and Wheel Balancing

Balancing compounds such as Equal Flexx from IMI Products keep the tire balanced even as conditions change. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Balanced tires and wheels have been shown to save fuel, but balancing can also save tires -- and money. Part four in Jim Park's five-part series for National Tire Safety Week.

Tags: Tires, Tires and Wheels, Wheel Balancers

May 2017, - Feature

Align the Truck Before the Need Arises

Misaligned tires increase vehicle rolling resistance and waste fuel -- that&#39;s on top of chewing up tires. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Your tires will tell you if your vehicle is running straight and true. Don't wait 'till it's too late.

Tags: Tires, Wheel Alignment, Tires and Wheels

May 2017, - Feature

Keep up the Pressure

Inflation pressure should be checked with a reliable gauge at least weekly, and every time a trailer comes out of a drop yard. Photo from Michelin.

By Jim Park

Under-inflation is the leading cause of blowouts while contributing to poor fuel economy and premature wear. This is the second in a special five-part series for National Tire Safety Week.

Tags: TPMS, Tire Inflation, Tires

May 2017, - Feature

Regular Tire Inspections Save Time in the Long Run

Stay on top of tire inflation and most of your roadside failures will disappear. Photo from Goodyear.

By Jim Park

National Tire Safety Week is more for consumers and passenger car drivers, but given tires' third-place ranking in trucking fleets' operating costs, we figured a few timely reminders wouldn't hurt. This is part one in a five-part series for National Tire Safety Week.

Tags: Tires and Wheels, CVSA RoadCheck, Tires

May 2017, - Department

What's Ahead for Wide-Base Single Tires?

Wide-base single tires could start showing up on vocational trucks such as refuse haulers under GHG Phase 2. EPA likes the fuel efficiency, while operators like the weight savings. Photos: Jim Park

By Jim Park

Could the next round of greenhouse gas reduction rules push more fleets over to wide-base single tires? It seems likely, given not only their relatively low rolling resistance but weight savings as well.

Tags: Fuel Efficiency, Tires, Wide-Base Tires, GHG Phase 2

May 2017, - Feature

Are Your Brakes up to Snuff?

Stability control and collision mitigation systems depend on a fully functioning brake system set to OEM specs. Photo: Meritor Wabco

By Jim Park

With all the advantages provided by today’s advanced safety systems, what a shame it would be if they couldn’t live up to their potential because of poorly maintained foundation brakes or inadequate friction material.

Tags: Electronic Stability Control, Collision Avoidance Technology, Brakes, Air Brakes


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