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No haulier likes to experience breakdowns. Besides the setback that can leave them high and dry, repairs mean a financial cost. Preventive maintenance can forestall many problems.
Basic maintenance of trucks used for pallet transport
Hauliers and trucks are the cornerstones of goods transport. Keeping trucks in the best possible condition goes beyond passing the regular maintenance tests required by law. With some advice on basic preventive maintenance, you will not have cause to regret costly break-downs that would put a dint in your savings and, in some cases, even threaten your safety.
Check the transmission system
Difficulties in engaging gears, strange sounds when changing gear or periodically “slipping out of gear” suggest problems with the transmission system. Such problems can be avoided by ensuring that the oil used to lubricate the transmission is sufficiently viscous. Oil thins over time and driving with thin oil can cause dangerous overheating and eventual breakdown. You should check the oil level regularly to ensure that there are no leaks. The oil should be checked when it is cold, with the engine turned off and the handbrake on, and with the truck parked on a level surface.
Inspect the suspension
The suspension not only supports the weight of both truck and cargo, it also ensures stability, distributes motive and braking force, connects the wheels to the frame and reduces the shocks and vibrations caused by road travel. If the suspension is in poor condition, your truck could lean to one side or the other, directly contributing to the wear of tyres and other vehicle systems and components. Have a look at the shock absorbents to detect cracks or damage of any kind and ensure there are no oil leaks.
Every three months, you should check the lubrication of the chassis, replace bolts that are old or in poor condition and inspect the bushing in each torque arm. Once a year, you should check whether any components need tightening and whether the joints are rusty or dirty. These precautions are compatible with other long-term maintenance such as lubricating and readjusting the suspension every 5,000 km, or realigning and balancing the wheels every 10,000 km.
Other essential precautions
The state of the tyres is extremely important for the safety, fuel consumption and pollution of any vehicle, but even more so for a truck used for pallet transport. Check that tyres still have the proper shape and that tyre pressure is right. Also pay attention to lights. Firstly, check their condition and replace them if necessary. Secondly, ensure that they are neither too dim nor too bright. You should also pay attention to the truck’s fluid levels and the condition of the windscreen and windscreen wipers, which should be replaced at least once a year.
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