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November 2015, - Feature

4 Suspension Maintenance Items You Might Overlook

All bolts must be properly tightened and periodically checked for proper torque. Telltale signs of loose fasteners include shiny areas and weeping rust around them. Photo: Reyco Granning

By Tom Berg

These complex mechanisms cushion the truck, load and driver, but too often are victims of neglect.

Tags: Fleet Maintenance, Suspensions, Axles

November 2015, - WebXclusive

Why Do Wheels Come Loose?

Impact wrenches are fine for running wheel nuts up onto the studs, but a torque wrenches must be used to set the nuts. Retorqueing is highly recommended, but few, apparently, get around to it.

By Jim Park

Investigations into hundreds of wheel separation incidents reveals that whether it was loosened wheel fasteners or failed bearings due to improper installation or loss of lubricant, better maintenance could have prevented all but a few of the incidents.

Tags: Wheels

November 2015, - WebXclusive

Preparing Your Winter Tire Program

HDT File Photo

By Pressure Systems International

For commercial tires, fall is the best time to insure winter tire programs are completely up to speed.

Tags: Tires, Winter Equipment, Winter, Tire Pressure

October 2015, - Department

How Important are Balance and Alignment?

Alignment is best used as a repair tool, not a diagnostic tool. The tires themselves will tell you when an alignment is needed.  Photos: Jim Park

By Jim Park

Fleets seem to run hot and cold on alignment and balance. Some swear by them, while others see them as unnecessary expenses.

Tags: Wheel Alignment, Tires and Wheels, Wheel Balancers

October 2015, - Editorial

Commentary: Leveling the Service Playing Field

Denise Rondini

By Denise Rondini

Fleets and independent repair garages will soon have access to service information for model year 2010 and later trucks and buses over 10,000 pounds sold in the United States and Canada.

Tags: Vehicle Diagnostics, Engines, Right to Repair, Parts and Service

October 2015, - Feature

Getting Your Cooling System Ready for Winter

Photos: Jim Park

By Jim Park

As temperatures dip and the leaves change from green to yellow and red, it’s time to think about winterizing your trucks for the siege ahead.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Winter, Coolant

September 2015, - Feature

Why Proper Fifth Wheel Maintenance is Important

Proper fifth wheel maintenance is important to ensure the tractor and trailer stay together.

By Denise Rondini

Proper fifth wheel maintenance is important to ensure the tractor and trailer stay together.

Tags: Maintenance, Trailers, Fifth Wheels

September 2015, - Department

Tracking Lifetime Tire Costs

Is the lowest tire cost per mile the ultimate fleet objective? Not necessarily. Strive to keep the rubber costs down, but don’t scrimp on the maintenance. Photo: Jim Park

By Jim Park

We offer two opposing views on tracking tire costs. One holds that life-cycle costing is a waste of money and effort, and that close enough is good enough most of the time. The other suggests that nearly all costs associated with tires should be accounted for and built into the cost structure.

Tags: Operating Costs, Maintenance Costs, Tires and Wheels

September 2015, - WebXclusive

Q&A: New Committee Head Talks PC-11 Oil Category

Shawn Whitacre, senior staff engineer at Chevron. Photo courtesy Chevron.

By Deborah Lockridge

There's a new head of the committee developing the new heavy-duty engine oil classification, known as PC-11. HDT talked to Shawn Whitacre to find out what fleets need to know about the new oils.

Tags: PC-11, Chevron Lubricants, Chevron Delo, Engine Oil, GHG, Fuel Economy, Low-Viscosity Oil

August 2015, - WebXclusive

Tips for Checking Greased Wheel Ends

This wheel is weeping but is essentially OK. Photo courtesy SKF

By Scott Simmonds, SKF

Maintenance tips to help achieve maximum service life for greased wheel ends, as well as several symptoms that may indicate potential problems down the road.

Tags: Grease, Wheels, Lubrication

August 2015, - WebXclusive

SmartWay List Swells with Cheap Chinese Tires

Will an increasing number of cheap imported tires cause a rise in the amount of roadside tire debris? Photo by Jim Park.

By Jim Park

A massive influx of Chinese tires, some costing $100 or less, has flooded the U.S. EPA's list of SmartWay verified tire in the past year. What does this mean for tire retailers and retreaders, fleets and even the enforcement community?

Tags: China, EPA SmartWay, Tires

July 2015, - Department

Preventing Irregular Wear on Wide-Base Tires

Wide base tires are thought to suffer premature wear. That’s sometimes the case but it’s not universally true.

By Jim Park

Do wide-base single tires wear differently than standard tires in dual assemblies? We address that question and give tips on how proper care of your wide-base single tires can improve their life and ROI.

Tags: Wide-Base Tires, Tires and Wheels, Tires

July 2015, - WebXclusive

A Step-by-Step Approach to Brake Maintenance

Photo via Haldex

By Haldex

Taking shortcuts when doing a brake job can lead to problems such as uneven wear and substandard braking performance.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Brakes, Haldex

July 2015, - WebXclusive

Maintaining S-Cam Foundation Brakes

Photo courtesy of Bendix

By Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

S-cam drum brakes are a familiar sight to every wheel-end technician in the North American trucking industry. These preventive maintenance guidelines can elevate the effectiveness of regular brake jobs.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Brakes, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Automatic Slack Adjusters, Drum brakes

June 2015, - WebXclusive

When the Road Meets the Rubber

The very pavement you drive upon is chewing away at your tires, mile after mile. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Irregular or accelerated tire wear is annoying and expensive, but there's something else eating away at your expensive assets: the pavement itself.

Tags: Tires, Highways, Pavement Research

June 2015, - Feature

Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean

The presence of water or other fluid mixed with diesel fuel is clearly apparent from the stratification shown here.

By Deborah Lockridge

If you don’t take steps to keep diesel fuel clean, it can degrade your fuel economy, damage expensive fuel system components and cause downtime. That’s never been more important than today.

Tags: Filtration, Filters, Engine Protection, Diesel

June 2015, - Editorial

Commentary: Tracking Truck Health

Denise Rondini, Aftermarket Editor.

By Denise Rondini

Several truck makers have been promoting uptime through remote diagnostics for a while now. But at this year’s MATS, nearly every OEM talked about their efforts to provide fleets with insight into their vehicle’s health in an effort to increase vehicle uptime.

Tags: Vehicle Safety, Vehicle Diagnostics, Downtime, MATS

May 2015, - Department

Maintenance is Key To Retread Longevity

Retreading gives a second or even third life to a casing, increasing the payback on the initial investment.

By Jim Park

TMC’s latest fleet tire survey shows retreaded tires are going longer and further than some may expect – but maintenance is the key.

Tags: TMC, Survey, Retreads, Tires and Wheels

May 2015, - WebXclusive

It's National Tire Safety Week

Photo courtesy of Goodyear.

By Jim Park

Tire maintenance plays a big role in fleet safety and efficiency. Now is a good time to remind drivers and technicians about the importance of proper tire care.

Tags: TPMS, ATIS, Tire Inflation

May 2015, - Feature

9 Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Technicians

A well formulated mentor program assigns new technicians to more skilled technicians who can answer their questions and serve as an industry expert. Photo: Ryder

By Denise Rondini

For many fleets the diesel technician shortage is already a reality. Here are nine things that will help you in your technician recruiting and retention efforts.

Tags: Recruiting, Technician Training, Technicians, Retention

May 2015, - WebXclusive

Is Your Coolant/Antifreeze Ready for Summer?

By Colin Dilley, VP of Technology, Prestone

Truck fleets that traverse the North American continent this summer, spanning regions from the North to the South and both coasts, know that one of the few constants among those thousands of miles of pavement will be stifling heat and oppressive humidity.

Tags: Prestone, Cooling Systems

May 2015, - WebXclusive

Tire Maintenance with Ryder's Scott Perry

Check and record tire pressure and tread depth every time you see a tire. Photo courtesy of Goodyear

By Jim Park

Ryder Systems has one of the most diverse fleets in the country, and one of the largest. Management of that fleet's tire assets falls to Scott Perry, vice president of supply management. You may not find him out in the yard gauging tires, but he certainly responsible for getting every last penny in value from his tires.

Tags: Ryder System, Tire Inflation, Tire Alignment, Tires

April 2015, Work Truck - WebXclusive

Finding Replacement Tires for Medium-Duty Trucks

(Clockwise from top l.) Goodyear's G661, G731, G949, and G933

By Paul Clinton

Fleet managers opting for new replacement tires instead of retreads for their medium-duty trucks must tailor the tire to not only the specific gross vehicle weight, but also to the application and specific conditions in which the vehicle will operate.

Tags: Medium-Duty Trucks, Tires, Retreads, Toyo Tires, Goodyear, Michelin

April 2015, - Feature

How Corrosion Causes Electrical Problems

Corrosion wreaks havoc on big robust connectors like this. What do you think happens in systems that need to detect changes of mere millivolts?

By Jim Park

Almost every electrical or electronic problem with trucks today can be traced back to one single source: corrosion-induced voltage irregularities.

Tags: Corrosion, Electrical System, Wiring

April 2015, - WebXclusive

5 Ways to Extend Tire Life and Improve Fuel Economy

Speed is a tire and fuel-economy killer. Photo by Jim Park

By Jim Park

Fuel efficiency and tread mileage go hand in hand. Here's one of those rare opportunities to whack two birds with one stone. By following these five easy steps, you can improve your tread life as well as your fuel economy.

Tags: TPMS, TMC, Alignment, ATIS, Tire Inflation, Tires, Fuel Economy

March 2015, - Department

Spec'ing Electrical Parts for A 12-Year Life

Sealed LED lamps will resist intrusion of salt spray and other contaminants while the structure surrounding the lamps will protect them from impacts and resulting damage. Photo: Tom Berg

By Tom Berg

Thee Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations has a recommended practice to help trailer buyers spec electrical systems.

Tags: ATA, Trailers, TMC

March 2015, - Department

Working With Your Tire Provider

Larger dealers are often associated with a retreader. Keeping all the services under one roof makes for easier tracking, billing and record keeping.

By Jim Park

Anybody can change a tire, but does your dealer make yard calls and bring some inventory along so the necessary tires can be changed on site without delay?

Tags: Maintenance Costs, Tires, Retreads, Parts and Service

March 2015, - WebXclusive

TMC Survey Reveals Misinformed View of Fuel-Efficient Tires

By Jim Park

Do the fuel savings of low-rolling-resistance tires outweigh the assumed shorter miles-to-removal? A TMC survey found a disturbing lack of knowledge among members about their own fleet operations.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Tires, Wide-Base Tires, Technology & Maintenance Council, Low Rolling Resistance Tires

February 2015, - Feature

5 Ways to Improve Shop Productivity

Reorganizing the shop and optimizing workflow reduces the number of steps technicians have to take when inspecting vehicles.

By Denise Rondini

Every minute a truck is in the shop is a minute it’s not on the road making money. And while there is no way to eliminate all visits to the shop, improving shop efficiency will get trucks in and out faster.

Tags: Productivity, Vehicle Maintenance, Shop Equipment, Aftermarket

February 2015, - Editorial

Commentary: Fuel Economy is Two-Dimensional

Rolf Lockwood, Executive Contributing Editor

By Rolf Lockwood

Fuel economy is really a two-sided matter and we should be striving to avoid zero mpg just as much as we aim for 10 mpg.

Tags: Productivity, Fuel Economy, Downtime

February 2015, - Department

Combating Corrosion at Wheel-Ends

MBH Trucking’s Peterbilt has a blacked-out look because its aluminum parts have been coated with Linex bed-liner material to protect the metal from oxidation.

By Tom Berg

Careful cleaning extends lives of components, while proper spec’ing heads off rust in the first place.

Tags: Corrosion, Tires and Wheels, Wheel Ends

January 2015, - WebXclusive

Coming Soon: Inflation Systems for Drive Axles

A schematic of Dana's Central Tire Inflation System, which is similar to the system the company is developing for the on-highway market.

By Jim Park

Drive axle inflation systems might not be the Holy Grail of truck maintenance, but they are in a position to cure a vexing problem. Tire pressure maintenance is time-consuming and costly, but there's no debating the savings from properly inflated tires. At least four manufacturers have systems in development. At least one is already available.

Tags: Dana Holding Corp., Automatic Tire Inflation Systems, Airgo, Tires

January 2015, - Department

9 Tips for Better Trailer Maintenance

Check tire pressure and tread depth to help avoid on-road breakdowns.

By Denise Rondini

Don’t treat your trailers as an afterthought. Give them the attention they deserve by inspecting and maintaining them on a regular basis.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Trailers, Corrosion, Lubricants, Tire Pressure

January 2015, - Department

Navigating A Natural Gas Shop Conversion

Monarch Beverage in Indianapolis retrofitted its large shop with gas-safe light fixtures, methane detectors and ventilation fans as part of a conversion to CNG-powered tractors. Photo: Tom Berg

By Jim Park

If you’re planning to add natural gas trucks to your fleet, you will likely have to make some modifications to your shop. That exercise could go smoothly or not, depending on how much homework you do in advance.

Tags: CNG Conversions, Managing the Shop, Safety & Compliance, CNG

January 2015, - Feature

Diesel Particulate Filters: Blessing and Curse

Diesel particulate filters help cleanse exhaust and give us cleaner air to breathe, but they cause frequent grief and expense.

By Tom Berg

Diesel particulate filters help cleanse exhaust and give us cleaner air to breathe, but they cause frequent grief and expense.

Tags: Diesel Emissions, DPF, Diesel Particulate Filter, Fuel and Oil

January 2015, - Department

What You Can Learn From Tires When You're Ready to Scrap Them

By the time a tire gets to the retreader, its unit number and wheel position information may be lost forever. It’s best to inspect the tire as it comes off the truck.

By Jim Park

Scrap piles call tell a lot about how fleets are using their tires and help reduce tire costs and improve miles to removal.

Tags: Tires, Retreads, Tires and Wheels

December 2014, - WebXclusive

Winter Truck Maintenance Tips

Photo via Ryder System.

By Mel Kirk, Ryder System

Make sure your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained before the winter season begins to keep your fleet up and running.

Tags: Preventive Maintenance, Ryder System, Winter, Weather

December 2014, - WebXclusive

Inspecting Your Tires

By Pressure Systems International

Inspecting tires on a routine and regular basis is the key to succeeding in maximizing your tire removal miles. The goal of every tire program is to ensure that the tires are running smoothly and evenly without irregular wear.

Tags: Fuel Economy, Meritor, PSI, Tire Inflation, Tires

December 2014, - WebXclusive

The Aftermarket 2014: A Year in Review

While remanufactured brakes have long been used by fleets, many are now including other remanufactured parts in their overall parts strategy. Photo courtesy of Bendix

By Denise Rondini

It’s been a busy year for the heavy-duty aftermarket. With the age of the nation’s fleet still high, fleets are spending a lot of money to keep trucks on the road. Given the importance of maintenance and repair, we'll recap some of the key issues that affected fleets in this area in 2014.

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Brakes, Remanufacturing, Capacity

December 2014, - WebXclusive

Air System Maintenance: Focusing on the Compressor

The accompanying video notes that you should take a close look at piston O-rings in the compressor.

By Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems

At the heart of a commercial vehicle’s air brake system is its air compressor. Bendix shares troubleshooting tips and how to replace an ESS piston.

Tags: Vehicle Maintenance, Bendix, Air Compressors, Brakes

December 2014, - 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, - 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, - 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, - 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

November 2014, - 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, - 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, - 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, - 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, - 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, Work Truck - 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: Cranes, Bucket Trucks, Vehicle Inspection, Utility Fleets, Preventive Maintenance, Medium-Duty Trucks, Vocational



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