Maintenance

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November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Lifting Up Your Shop

There’s no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to shop lifts. This Skylift from Stertil-Koni is a heavy-duty platform lift that provides a clear floor concept for the user.

By Denise Rondini

Whether you have lifts in your shop or not, there are some factors to consider before purchasing a lift or when determining whether the lift you have is right for your needs.

Tags: Vehicle Lifts, Aftermarket, In the Shop

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Fleets Find Benefits in Factory-Installed Inverters

By Truckinginfo Staff

In Joe Egan’s office, a framed picture shows a long-haul tractor, or more precisely, its charred remains. “It’s not one of our trucks, but it illustrates what can happen when an electrical fire is caused by a bad inverter installation,” he says. “It gives a visual reminder to any driver who comes into my office what can happen if an inverter isn’t installed correctly.”

Tags: Drivers, Inverter

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Who Balances Trailer Wheels?

(Photo by Jim Park)

By Jim Park

Nobody balances trailer wheels, but oddly, they are the wheels on a truck most likely in need of balancing. With a few ounces of balancing material, those tires might easily run tens of thousands more miles before final removal.

Tags: Trailers, Tires

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Editorial

Commentary: Is Purchasing Parts Online Right For You?

Not many dealership or parts distributors are selling online. One exception is Allstate Peterbilt Group.

By Denise Rondini

The Internet is opening avenues for parts purchases that never existed before. But does it make sense for you to consider adding online parts purchasing to your parts buying strategy?

Tags: Aftermarket Parts, Aftermarket, Parts River, Information Technology

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Time to Grease, Inspect Fifth Wheels, SAF Holland Advises

Important seasonal PM for a Holland FW35 fifth wheel.

By TruckingInfo staff

Winter temps can freeze all kinds of mechanical apparatus, including tractor fifth wheels. So it’s a good time to clean, inspect and grease these important appliances, but not the only time.

Tags: Maintenance, Fifth Wheels, SAF-Holland

December 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Adopting Tire Inflation Systems

ATIS and TPMS do more than prevent good tires from coming apart. ROI also includes improved fuel economy, longer tread life and higher casing value.

By Jim Park

Why are adoption rates for proven fuel-saving technologies so low? It looks like a classic case of stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime. Maybe “a lack of credible information on payback” means, “we don’t know how much this device will save us so we’re not going to buy it.”

Tags: TPMS, Tires, Meritor, Wheels, PSI, ATIS, NACFE, Advantage PressurePro, Cascade Sierra Solutions, Aperia

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Are We Sacrificing Traction for Fuel Economy?

In most cases the traction losses are practically non-existent between traditional and fuel efficient tires.

By Jim Park

As more fleets embrace their fuel savings potential, a large portion of the driver population remains uneasy about low-rolling-resistance, fuel-efficient tires -- especially in winter. Has the quest for fuel efficiency pushed traction and safety into the back seat?

Tags: Winter Driving, Tires

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Department

Why Balancing is Important

By Jim Park

If you look at balancing from a life-cycle point of view, the value of extending tread life speaks for itself. There’s also casing integrity to consider, retreadability, and to a growing degree, and disposal costs. Yet reliable estimates suggest only about 20% of heavy-duty truck tires are ever balanced.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Tech Tip: Landing Gear Lubrication Procedures

By SAF-Holland

Periodically adding grease to your landing gear should be part of your preventive maintenance program and should be done every six months or more often, if required.

Tags: Trailers, SAF-Holland, Landing Gear

November 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Getting the Lead Out of Tire Weights

True rotation of a several-hundred-pound mass and high speeds requires balancing, not just of the tire, but the entire rotating mass, including the hub, brake drum, wheel and tire.

By Jim Park

Beware the lead tire weight cops. They are out there and working in six states, with several more states looking at banning lead weights. Here's a look at the alternatives to lead in weights -- and alternatives to weights themselves.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Keeping Your Wheels On

A calibrated torque wrench is required to set the recommended torque on wheel fasteners. Over-torqueing with an impact wrench can stretch and weaken the studs.

By Jim Park

There’s no mystery to why wheels come off trucks. The National Transportation Safety Board in 1992, and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation in the late 1990s, both concluded after exhaustive studies that inadequate maintenance was the root cause of a series of fatal wheel separation incidents.

Tags: TMC, NTSB, Tires, Wheels, Accuride, Timken, Spicer, ConMet, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Wheel-offs

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tips for Maintaining Trailer Floors

By Kate Harlow

When it comes to maintaining your dry van hardwood or composite trailer floor, fleet maintenance managers should follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.

Tags: Maintenance, Hyundai, Trailers, Utility, Havco, Great Dane, Stoughton, Flooring, Rockland Flooring

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Commentary: The Changing World of Choosing Parts and Service

By Denise Rondini

The relatively simple aftermarket of the ‘80s has become a rather complicated one. Fleets now have more choices than ever for their parts and service needs. Aftermarket Editor Denise Rondini explores these changes in her new HDT column.

Tags: Aftermarket, Parts and Service

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Beyond the API 'Donut:' Putting a Premium on Oil

Oil experts say there  area a number of factors that fleets need to consider in the oil selection process.

By Denise Rondini

Every fleet knows how important oil is to the proper operation of their vehicles, but how can they determine if upgrading to a premium oil makes sense for them?

Tags: OIl, Exxon Mobil, Shell Lubricants, Chevron Lubricants, Citgo, Grease, API, Maintenance

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The High-Tech Shop

Devices that allow drivers to conduct and record driver vehicle inspection reports electronically, such as those from Zonar, transmit maintenance issues directly to the fleet and maintenance manager for immediate action.

By Jim Beach

In some fleets, shop operations are completely integrated with the computer systems for dispatch, accounting, mobile communications and outside service providers. In other fleets, technology in the shop may be limited to automated systems for tracking work, labor, parts and inventory.

Tags: Technology, Arsenault Associates, Mitchell 1, Zonar, In the Shop, TMW, Omnitracs

October 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why Do Wheels Come Off Trucks?

Drivers should be trained to inspect their wheels. Early detection can prevent a loose wheel from becoming a separation statistic.

By Jim Park

We don't hear many reports of wheel separations anymore, but that doesn't mean we have solved the problem. Reliable estimates suggest unplanned separations still occur at a rate of probably several per day. Exact numbers are hard to determine because many incidents go unreported.

Tags: Wheels, Province of Ontario, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Wheel Fasteners, Wheel Separations

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Retreading Wide-base Tires

Most fleets could get a good trailer tire out of a third-generation retreaded tire.

By Jim Park

Wide-base tires aren’t cheap. Not that duals are cheaper, but in a single wide-base tire you have an investment approaching the cost of a pair of standard tires. Minimizing the life-cycle cost of those big wide tires almost demands that they be retreaded.

Tags: Wheels, In the Shop, Retreads, Wide-Base Tires

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Studies Indicate TPMS and ATIS Are Money Makers

Soft, underinflated tires increase rolling resistance and shorten tire life. TPMS and ATIS systems solve both problems at once.

By Jim Park

There are lots or reasons not to embrace fuel-saving technology (some better than others), but validation exists for tire-pressure mitigation systems. And the payback is significant.

Tags: MPG, TPMS, Tires, ATIS, Inflation

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Beware When Using Remanufactured Common Rail Injectors

By Deborah Lockridge

Diesel fuel injectors these days are incredibly complex, and that means remanufactured fuel injectors need extra scrutiny. Bosch, which supplies new and remanufactured diesel fuel injectors, recently tested remanufactured and rebuilt common rail injectors and found 70% failed the test.

Tags: Fuel Injection, Bosch, Remanufacturing, Engines

September 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

7 Factors to Consider When Installing an Inverter

By Truckinginfo Staff

Power inverters – the devices that convert standard battery (DC) power to AC household power – are becoming more commonplace in the trucking industry. Depending upon whom you ask, that’s to the delight, or chagrin of fleet and maintenance managers, who often have a love/hate relationship with inverters.

Tags: Xantrex, Inverter, Idle Reduction, Batteries, Electrical System

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Five Steps to Successful Outsourcing

When you are looking to outsource your maintenance, make sure to consider all the angles.

By Deborah Lockridge

When you are looking to outsource your maintenance, make sure to consider all the angles. Fleets have long wanted to outsource more maintenance, but have been frustrated by problems with the quality, cost and speed of the work. Today, there are more pressures on fleets to outsource than ever.

Tags: Ryder, CSA, Rush Enterprises, WheelTime, Maintenance outsourcing, NationaLease, Maintenance

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Retreads Shop Can Produce 75% More Retreads Daily

By Bob Ulrich

More than 85% of the estimated 680 domestic retread plants have been in business more than 20 years. It is safe to call retreading a mature market, based on the results of the 2013 Modern Tire Dealer Retreaders Survey.

Tags: Tires, Retreads

August 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

What Happens When Your CNG Tanks Expire?

By Cheryl Knight

While the benefits of CNG vehicles are well documented, one issue looms over the industry that must be addressed: What happens when a dedicated CNG vehicle fuel tank reaches its expiration date? Industry experts continue to explore options for possible CNG tank recertification, as well as safer tank disposal, a federal CNG vehicle registration system, and government grant help.

Tags: Natural Gas Vehicles, Alternative Fuels & Hybrids

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The Magic Number

Correct inflation pressure is dictated by weight, temperature and road speed – and the load and inflation tables.

By Jim Park

How do turtles mate? Why are women’s shirts buttoned on the left while men’s button on the right? How did they build the pyramids? How much air should I put in my tires? Unlike the pyramids, tire inflation needn’t be one of life’s little mysteries. Yet you may be inflating your tires TOO much.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone, Wheels, PSI, Tires

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Brakes: Shorter Stopping Distances, Again

Tractors with gross-weight ratings of over 59,600 pounds, like this heavy haul model, are among those affected by FMVSS 121’s requirements for shorter stopping distances.

By Tom Berg

Coming up: another “non-event” for brakes? That’s what Phase Two of new federal stopping-distance requirements will be for truck operators, according to people we talked with. Stronger, higher-performance brakes on certain vehicles won’t even cost much more in most cases. But like Phase One two years ago, which was hardly noticed by truckers, Phase Two represents a lot of work for brake makers and truck builders.

Tags: Volvo, Freightliner, Western Star, Mack Trucks, Bendix, Meritor, Brakes, Daimler Trucks North America, Air Disc Brake, Drum brakes, NHTSA

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Breakdown Service Provider

By Byron Lay, AmeriQuest Road Rescue

Every fleet experiences breakdowns at some point. These incredibly frustrating events eat up time, money, and good will with clients. So having a reliable service you can call on when the need arises is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. But make sure you ask questions.

Tags: AmeriQuest, Downtime, breakdowns

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

4 Ways to Get More Miles from your Tires

By Jim Park

Irregular tire wear is usually a symptom of some other malfunction such as poor alignment, improper inflation or even poor driving habits. The peril with mechanically induced irregular wear is that it begins the day you install the tire, though it won't produce any visible signs until weeks or perhaps months later. By then, its progress is almost irreversible.

Tags: Maintenance, Tires, Wheel Alignment

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Right To Repair Update

By Denise Rondini

The Massachusetts state legislature passed the nation's first "Right to Repair" law last summer, but it excluded vehicles over 10,000 pounds. However, in November, state voters overwhelmingly approved a different version of the law, which includes all motor vehicles sold in the state.

Tags: Diagnostics, Distributors, Right to Repair, Aftermarket, Aftermarket Parts

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

What Exactly Constitutes an Underinflated Truck Tire?

"Underinflated" isn't always this obvious. Enforcement officials are looking for a usable definition. (Photo by Evan Lockridge)

By Jim Park

Why should we worry about defining underinflation? Because of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) enforcement program.

Tags: CSA, TMC, Tires, CVSA, Enforcement

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Four Ways to Squash Maintenance Expense and Avoid Costly Breakdowns

By Louis McAnally, CTP, VP Operations, PeopleNet

A dilemna, dispatchers and drivers…maddening to customers…a thorn in fleet management’s side. That pretty much describes the impact of an unexpected vehicle breakdown (and aren’t they all unexpected?).

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Deadly Tire Sins

How many tires in your scrap pile arrived there before their time?

By Jim Park

Negligence and apathy consign more tires to early graves than road hazards ever will. Here are the Top 5 reasons you might be straining your tire budget to the breaking point, and how you can stem the financial hemorrhage.

Tags: Maintenance, Tires

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Don't Blow a Gasket When Installing Oil and Fuel Filters

All oil filters feature a gasket at the open end of the filter, which acts like a seal and a lock-washer after installation.

By John Gaither, PE, Luber-finer & Fram Filtration

At first glance, it appears to be pretty simple to install a new oil or fuel filter on your heavy-duty vehicle: Just line up the threads and give it a spin. This mindset, however, can be dangerous to the vehicle’s operation and overall health.

Tags: Maintenance, Fuel and Oil, Filters, Luber-finer, Fram Filtration

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Inland Truck Parts Dedicated to Training Technicians

Inland’s new 15,000-square-foot training facility houses traditional classrooms and two drive-in service bays.

By Deborah Lockridge

Inland Truck Parts is an independent parts and service operation, but it says the quality of its technicians rival that of OE dealers. Its latest commitment to that is a new 15,000-square-foot training facility in Olathe, Kan., a Kansas City suburb.

Tags: Aftermarket, Technician Training, Technicians, Distributors, Inland Truck Parts

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

7 Steps to Safely Lifting Heavy-Duty Work Vehicles

Make certain that all lifts are subject to a regular program of scheduled maintenance.

By Truckinginfo Staff

Stertil-Koni recently announced what its research has shown to be seven key steps that fleets and transit authorities should observe prior to lifting heavy-duty work vehicles in commercial maintenance facilities.

Tags: Maintenance, Safety, In the Shop, Shop Tools, Stertil-Koni

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Inverter Installation: Troubleshooting 101

By Don Wilson, Schneider Electric

So you want to install an inverter, but with all the features and complexity of today’s more sophisticated units, you’re hesitant to take the plunge? Or, perhaps you’ve had some problems with your inverter, and you’re not sure if it’s a faulty unit … or a simple installation problem?

Tags: Maintenance, Xantrex, Inverter, Idle Reduction

June 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Tires are Key Component of CSA Inspections

By Truckinginfo Staff

As one of the two biggest non-labor expenses that trucking fleets have, tires require careful maintenance. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program further underscores the importance of good tire maintenance practices.

Tags: Maintenance, Goodyear, CSA, Tires

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Dealers Intensify Focus On Service

Southland International Trucks, based in the Birmingham, Ala., area, is just one of many dealers who are adding service bays. (Photo by Evan Lockridge)

By Denise Rondini

It is an old trucking industry adage that while the sales department sells the first truck, the service department sells the second, third and fourth trucks. According to David Gerrard, senior vice president of distribution at Navistar, “Without an effective relationship on the service side of the house, it is very difficult to maintain the customer relationship.”

Tags: Dealers

May 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why Should You Retread Your Tires?

You can choose from a wide range of OE and aftermarket tread patters and compounds to optimize tire life or fuel efficiency. EPA now recognizes retreads as fuel efficient tires, so fleets can reuse the same casing for different applications at different wheel positions.

By Jim Park

Retreading tires provides the absolute lowest cost per mile of any tire management strategy. When coupled with other enhanced preventive maintenance measures, a retreaded tire can easily go half a million miles or more, all things being equal.

Tags: Tires, Retreads

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

The High Cost of Tires

By Jim Park

Ten years ago, you could buy a decent steer tire for $300. Not anymore. But, then again, you're not buying the same tire anymore either. Long-term pricing trends show that the cost of raw materials used in tire manufacturing has gone up over the past decade, along with the shelf prices for tires, but consumers haven't seen the price swings for tires that manufacturers have seen for materials over the same period of time.

Tags: Goodyear, Continental Tires, Yokohama Tire Corp., Stemco, Guayule

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Reasons to Outsource your Tire Maintenance

Service providers come to your yard or to remote yards, and do tire checks, pressure audits.

By Jim Park

Tire maintenance is like preparing a fine meal. Unless you really like cooking and are very good at it, it's far easier – and safer sometimes – to visit a nice restaurant. Here are five reasons you might want to consider outsourcing your tire work.

Tags: Maintenance, Goodyear, Michelin, Outsourcing, Tires

April 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Air Dryer

By Deborah Lockridge

It's more important than ever to protect a truck's air system from contamination, because there are more and more on-vehicle technologies making use of that air. That's why having and taking proper care of an air dryer is vital.

Tags: Maintenance, Bendix, Brakes, Air Dryers

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Preventing Flat Tires

Once the tread comes off, a blowout won't be far behind. You're down, with a $1,000 repair bill to show for it.

By Jim Park

A driver picks up a trailer from a drop yard. Before departing, the driver does a walk-around inspection, kicks the tires, checks the lights and then sticks it into the wind. He or she has no idea how much air pressure is in those tires, except to be fairly sure none of them is flat — visibly flat, that is. Any one or several of those tires could be underinflated, or even technically flat.

Tags: Goodyear, Continental Tires, Tires

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Going Green With Re-Refined Oil

Universal Lubricants picks up drain oil at automotive dealers, repair shops and truck terminals.

By Tom Berg

What are you doing with the spent oil from your engines? Most fleets are reusing it somehow, perhaps by burning it in special furnaces to heat the shops or selling it to a recycler who'll put it to other uses. Drain oil was once dumped or given away, but since the rise of petroleum prices on world markets, it now brings as much as 95 cents a gallon.

Tags: Valvoline, Universal Lubricants, Re-refined oil, Safety-Kleen, Clean Harbors, API, OIl

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Not Your Father's Air Filter

Aerodynamic truck styling is one factor that has moved the air-intake system and filter under the hood instead of hung alongside it.

By Tom Berg

There was a time when fleet managers and owner-operators specified many components on their new trucks and tractors, but that's been seriously curtailed by vertical integration — the practice of manufacturers controlling the design and spec'ing process using parts they build themselves or get from a few suppliers.

Tags: Air Filter, Maintenance

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

Tires for multiple applications

By Evan Lockridge

The economic recession had profound effects on trucking, but one of the most surprising is a greater need for tires on trucks that need to be used in more than one application. That's the opposite of another trend, which is more single-application-specific tires.

Tags: Goodyear, Michelin, Continental Tires, Bridgestone, Tires, Retreads

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

5 Must-Have Tools for Your Tire Shop

By Jim Park

Changing truck tires isn't rocket science. Since tire service isn't cheap, it's not uncommon to find smaller fleets and even some bigger ones doing their own tire maintenance. But safety needs to be the priority in any shop.

Tags: Safety, Tires, Shop Tools

March 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Why You Should Consider Wheel Balancing

Tire wear associated with balance problems often appears as cupped channels along the tread face of the tire. (Photo: TMC)

By Jim Park

People will tell you that wheel balancing isn't necessary these days. Going back 10 or 20 years, new tires often needed a small amount of weight to balance out the irregularities in the old production process. With today's more exacting manufacturing standards, irregularities are the exception. But that doesn't mean you can't benefit from wheel balancing.

Tags: Tires, Wheels

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

7 Trends in axles and suspensions

When it come to trends in axles and suspensions, it's all about efficiency.

By Deborah Lockridge

When it come to trends in axles and suspensions, it's all about efficiency. Fleets are constantly looking for ways to become more operationally efficient, whether it's fuel economy, increased payload, lower maintenance costs, longer equipment life, or driver productivity.

Tags: Firestone, Reyco Granning, Meritor, Suspensions, Hendrickson, Axles, Dana Spicer

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

Slow Economy, Government Regs Will Help Drive Aftermarket Brake Business

By Deborah Lockridge

The slow economic recovery and the federal government's new Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement program will help drive demand for aftermarket pads and shoes for Class 4-8 trucks, according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, while increasing demand for disk brakes could prove a challenge to independent service providers.

Tags: Frost & Sullivan, Disc Brakes, Aftermarket, Brakes

February 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

How to Set up a Maintenance Program that Will Keep FMCSA Happy

By Thomas Bray, Editor, J.J. Keller & Associates

Whether you have one truck or 20,000, the FMCSA's maintenance regulations apply to you. The safety and compliance experts at J.J. Keller have tips for owner-operators and small fleets on how to develop a maintenance program that will meet federal standards.

Tags: Maintenance, FMCSA, Owner-Operators

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