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June 26, 2023

10 Tips for Maintaining Work Trucks

Purchasing the right size and right vehicle for the job can reduce maintenance needs (and costs) over the life of the vehicle. Match the maintenance schedule to the application, too. - Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Want to be sure your work trucks perform their best? Follow these 10 tips:

1. Follow Recommendations 
OEM recommendations are the best place to start when it comes to maintenance. But, recommendations can change year-to-year, so keep up with those changes. 

OEM take: “Follow the maintenance schedule to help ensure a truck will work day-in and day-out for the job it was purchased,” said Brian Tabel, executive director of marketing for Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.

2. Talk to Your Dealer
Your dealer has the latest diagnostic and repair information, so get in touch and make sure your technicians have the latest and greatest. 

OEM take: “Knowing how our customers use their vehicles is extremely important. We ask customers to provide an in-depth overview of their operations, along with any information that would affect their vehicles,” said Brian Daniels, manager, Detroit powertrain and component product marketing for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). 

3. Stay in Touch 
If a third-party performs your preventive maintenance (PM), meet regularly to discuss the practices they are following. 

OEM take: “If your provider isn’t staying current with the OEM’s recommendations, that could cost the fleet money or lead to unplanned repair events,” said John Crichton, director, field support for Navistar Inc.

4. Find the Right Vehicle
Purchasing the right size and right vehicle for the job can reduce maintenance needs (and costs) over the life of the vehicle. Match the maintenance schedule to the application, too.

OEM take: “Research and purchase the right size and right vehicle for your business,” said Dave Sowers, head of commercial brand marketing for Ram. “There are as many solutions as there are small businesses.”

5. Involve Drivers
Drivers undoubtedly make their mark on a vehicle, and that means they can influence the amount of maintenance required, too. 

OEM take: “When drivers have a clear understanding of how the entire powertrain operates, it will help enhance safety, efficiency and overall performance,” said Daniels of DTNA.

6. Look at Hours
Odometer readings may be the most traditional indicator of when maintenance is due, but many fleets should consider looking at engine hours. 

OEM take: “Generally, our guidance is once you drop below 25 miles per engine-hour, you should switch from just using the odometer to an hours-based maintenance schedule,” said Kris McCall, modified vehicle manager for Ford Fleet Service Operations. “This is especially important for engine maintenance.”

7. Review Your Forms
Inspection forms provide technicians the road map they need to do their jobs – so making sure they’re right is key. 

OEM take: “Regularly review the inspection forms used during a PM to ensure they are current and are being followed by the technicians,” recommended Crichton of Navistar. 

8. Remember the Electrics 
Parts and fluids are part and parcel to good maintenance. But don’t forget a check of electrical components, too. 

OEM take: “With the number of electrical components on a truck today, the maintenance of the batteries and electrical system is critical,” Crichton said.

9. Keep up on Advancements
Technology changes quickly, and those changes can benefit your maintenance program. 

OEM take: “Fleet managers can now see when trucks have fault codes that set off if a problem occurs when a truck is on a route and make better decisions on what actions are needed,” Crichton said. “This could prevent unnecessary downtime and tow charges.”

10. Get the App
If the OEM offers an app, encourage drivers and technicians to download it, that way they’ll have vehicle information right in their pockets.
OEM take: “Our app will also help the driver if they ever have any questions on the truck or the location of the closest Isuzu dealer,” said Tabel of Isuzu.

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