Help Your Truck Help You
First and foremost: CHANGE THE OIL. I Know, no one wants their truck out of service. It doesn't make you any money in the shop, right?
Please take my word for it; the cheapest thing you can do to increase longevity and reduce down time is regular, scheduled oil changes.
Follow your vehicle manufacturer's recommendations for oil grade and time between oil changes. Changing oil too often only helps the oil company, but do it regularly.
This includes servicing the automatic or manual transmission. They too need regular service.
This is a good place to mention that when a manufacturer refers to "severe service" he's talking about CITY driving! Trucks that are used primarily in the city need a once a year transmission service.
Trust me on this, in a fleet we changed transmission oil yearly, engine oil every 90 days, drain and refill the brake and hydraulic clutch fluid yearly. We drain and refill the engine coolant, power steering fluid and rear end oil every two years.
This is from 10 years at Ryder Truck and 14 years at FedEx. Neither outfit was inclined to do anything that couldn't be proven cost effective. They also routinely averaged 200,000 miles plus on city-delivery vehicles. So try these simple tips and watch your running costs go down.
Brake fluid loves moisture and absorbs it right through the rubber hoses and seals. It changes from clear to murky brown or black as it absorbs water and metals being corroding and seals deteriorate. Take a look and flush the system if you have any doubts. It's cheaper than buying wheel cylinders and master cylinders.
With time, the engine coolant looses its ability to prevent corrosion, too. Also, it becomes acidic and corrosive, not unlike the antifreeze in hydronic systems. In addition, as the pH changes, the rubber hoses are damaged by electrolysis. They get soft and spongy.
If you break a fan belt or blow a radiator hose every couple of years, you might find it cheaper to replace them every two years as a preventative measure.
I once worked for a construction company and went out to a job site where there were four men standing around. It seems the fan hub on the backhoe had failed. It ruined the hub, the fan, belts and the radiator core. About $2,000 in parts, a couple of days down time, and four men on the clock, but not producing, not to mention the backhoe's hourly rate lost. I dispatched a tractor and trailer to bring the machine to the shop
When I got back, I ordered the parts and started to tear this mess down. The owner came by and mentioned that every three or four years this happened. As long as I worked there, I removed the fan hub and replaced the bearings every year. It took two hours and about thirty dollars in parts. Needless to say the hub never broke again. Simple stuff can save big money. I bet you've mentioned this to YOUR customers.
If anyone has any specific issues you want discussed, please drop me a line via the Wall