2 Service Regimens with 1 Goal: Maximum Safety
A well-maintained truck is a safe one, and safety is the number one priority at Wadhams. We carry out preventative maintenance to ensure that our entire fleet is running in optimum condition when the trucks head out on the road to deliver to our customers.
Wadhams auto technicians go above and beyond industry standards by performing two kinds of services on the trucks to keep them running in mint condition:
- “A” service, to check all safety components in the vehicle.
- “B” service, for oil and fuel filters.
‘A’ Service Regimen
During this two-and-a-half hour safety and maintenance inspection, auto technicians assess key truck components such as brakes, lights, tires and fluids. This preventative maintenance is carried out every 60 to 90 days, or when a tractor’s mileage is between 9,000 and 18,000 miles.
All drivers fill out a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) pre- and post-trip after they visually inspect the brakes, steering, lighting and horn. Any noticeable problems are noted on DVIR, which is handed to the technicians so they can begin repairs.
In the shop, the first item on the agenda is a physical walk around the truck to look for any damage. The next step is to ensure that New York State regulations and inspections are current.
Mechanics check for any warning lights: for example, whether the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) lights are on and need to be fixed. They scan the pressure gauges, check the ignition, wipers, horns, cruise control, air conditioning and heaters, and whether there is enough play in the steering column. If there is a problem there, the steering wheel will bind, preventing the operator from steering properly.
Tires, of course, are high on the maintenance list. They are checked for puncture holes or air leaks as well as air pressure – each tire must be pumped with 95 lbs of pressure to operate well. Tread depth is next. New tires have a tread depth of 20-30 32nds of an inch. If they get too low, it is time to recap the tires or put new treads on them. Tires must be changed before they blow or wear out.
The fifth wheel on a big rig is a round plate that hooks the trailer to the truck. Using a jaw tool, the mechanic measures the wear and tear on this crucial part. The bushings and adjustments must also be inspected to ensure that they do not come loose.
Air brakes are tested for pressure leaks by releasing and then stepping on to the brake pedal. If you can hear it, chances are there is an air leak. Air gauges are checked visually. Dual service tanks are also called primary and secondary air tanks and are important checkpoints. That’s because this safety feature is essential. If the primary system fails, the other must have sufficient brake function to halt the rig.
A visual inspection of all lights is done around the vehicle to make sure there is no chafing or damage to the light wiring.
All mirrors must be tightly screwed on and mounting brackets secure against the vehicle. The fuel tank mounting must be solid and not loose – if the tank has shifted, it must be adjusted.
Licence plate brackets, fenders and mud flap brackets are examined, and the exhaust system is scrutinized for leaks, breaks or cracks or any defect and nothing is loose.
Technicians give the truck a test drive to evaluate the gearshift, transition, service brakes and auto or manual clutch.
Driver comforts are also on the list. Is the interior lighting functioning? The window cranks, the radio? Is the fire extinguisher working and are the safety triangles stowed in the truck? These must be available in case of a breakdown on the road so they can be placed behind the stranded vehicle so they are noticeable to oncoming traffic.
‘B’ Service Regimen
During the two-hour “B” service, auto technicians look for anything that could possibly put a truck out of service by order of the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The first step is a safety measure. The key is attached to the mirror bracket and a “Do not operate vehicle – locked out” sign is put up so the truck cannot be used.
Technicians then arm themselves with the tools of the trade such as tread-depth gauge, hammer, flashlight and grease guns for lubrication. The initial check is done by walking around the truck and visually inspecting it for any noticeable problems.
Some questions technicians raise and checks they make as they proceed with the inspection are:
- Are there any oil or exhaust leaks? Moisture and oil is drained from the air-tank regularly.
- Is there sufficient antifreeze in the tank?
- Is the turbocharger operating efficiently?
- Are there air leaks? You can tell air or pressure leaks because they make a whistling sound.
- Is the windshield washer fluid topped up?
- Check the belts, air-conditioning and heating.
- Are pulleys snug – not loose or coming apart?
- Check the fuel pump. Is it time to change the filter?
- Check the oil in the tractor’s front hub and spare axle.
- Is the steering shaft moving from side to side or up and down? If it is, check the tie-rods that hook to steering mechanism so that they pivot correctly.
- Is there corrosion under the truck?
Routine maintenance can extend a truck’s life and performance and save time, expense and potential problems for the carrier and for the customer.