What are they afraid of?
Nobody likes this kind of thing. It’s a long, boring, aggravating wait for some pencil pusher who probably doesn’t know the first thing about our industry, the pressures we work under and the crazy regulations that the government puts on us… does that sound familiar to you?
There is some value to these checks. Let’s face it – we all know truckers who take no pride in their ride. Their trucks are about two miles away from falling apart, and we’re hoping not to be stuck behind them when they do. There are some trucks that need to be pulled off the road permanently. Forcing those drivers to face facts may feel hard, but when people’s lives are at stake, it’s better they hear it from an inspector than a state highway patrol officer at the scene of a horrible accident.
Pride in the Ride
Did you go to MATS this year? See those great, shiny trucks? Not a speck of dust on them. Even their engines would look pretty if you opened them up. It’s not just pride, it’s not just safety. It’s personal.
Those owners know the value of their trucks down to the penny. They don’t begrudge a cent they spend because it’s worth it to them.
That’s how I feel about taking care of my trucks’ maintenance. I wanted to know when I should have the mechanics take a look at my brakes or change the oil because that’s how I do things. I want things organized and regular. I want things done the right way the first time.
I don’t want things to go wrong because I didn’t do it right.
Having a regular maintenance schedule isn’t hard to do if you’ve got good monitoring tools. I know some owner operators are using reminders on their calendars. That works – if you’re working on a monthly schedule. But when you have to track things not on time but on usage – like oil changes – a calendar isn’t the best choice.
Maintenance Over the Year
I don’t want to have to worry in June about the Roadcheck Blitz. I don’t want to have to take days off the road because I’m afraid of an inspection.
I don’t want you to, either.
That’s the beauty of a regular, scheduled maintenance program. By keeping track of miles and dates together, a trucker can keep his rig in the best possible shape for the cheapest amount of money. Checking my brakes and getting them serviced before I have a wreck is a better investment than waiting for the last possible moment and getting stuck with a high bill from a company or shop I don’t know. When I keep up on my rig, even on things that most of us ignore until there’s a sign of a problem, I’m better prepared. So I plan out my mechanical maintenance schedule on a yearly or quarterly cycle. Other things will be tracked based on mileage and how I’ve been running the rig – lots of city driving or lots of backroads may mean I need to change my schedule. But I’m thinking about it ahead of time, not in the nick of time.
I know, some of you are saying that’s easy for me to say, but they’re scraping to get by. I understand. It’s scary to think of paying for all those repairs at once. That’s why the long view – handling each system and checking all the Department of Transportation’s checklist items over a year – is better. If you plan to get new blades in the fall, you won’t have to panic and buy something expensive on a credit card in December. Check your hoses in July and your strapping system on the first of every month, regardless of where you are. Then you won’t be caught by surprise.
In my book, “surprise” equals “expensive.” More expensive than doing it on a schedule.
Roadcheck Blitz 2016
Want to not be afraid? Want to pull out when they’re done with a smile on your face that you beat them at their own game?
Odds are, you know what you need to do on your rig right now.
So do it now.
This year’s focus is going to be on our tires, so make sure you’re ready.
- Get the debris out from between the wheels.
- Check for deep slices
- Check for deep slices in the tires.
- Make sure your sidewalls are in good shape.
- Inspect your tread depth (Remember the old penny trick – if you can see Abe’s head, you should be checking into new tires soon.)
- Get your tires up to the proper air pressure. That will make your ride smoother and save you money on fuel.
If you want to be worry-free on June 7-9, 2016, you could use a good tool to help you not have to worry. TruckingOffice has a maintenance module that’s so good, we have a client who is a mechanic who uses it to track his fleet’s maintenance and repair records. You can use it too, along with the other features, like invoicing and driver settlements. We’ll let you try it out for 30 days, free of charge. Use it for a year and next year, the CVSA Roadcheck Blitz won’t worry you at all.