Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

November 7th, 2014

As winter approaches, it’s key to have your truck ready for the upcoming colder temperatures. Here is a quick checklist and some tips to make sure you’ll be prepared and safe when the snow starts to fly.

1) Check the batteries — One weak battery can drain them all. Old or weak batteries should be replaced.

2) Empty the air tanks — The air compressor produces residual water, as will sudden drops in temperature. Some of this may get past your air dryer. When cold air hits it, it can cause the air valves to freeze up, affecting brakes and air suspension. Remove all drain plugs, drain all air tanks in the air system completely and allow time for them to dry. It’s not a bad idea to add some airline antifreeze as well.

3) Fuel filters and additives — Condensation occurs in fuel tanks when the weather changes, allowing water to collect in the fuel filters. Replace old filters and keep a few in the truck with you while on the road. Adding a fuel additive will also help prevent jelling when the really cold weather hits.

4) Check tires frequently — The importance of tire wear cannot be overstated. Be sure all tires are inflated to the correct pressure and keep track of tread wear.

5) Keep an emergency kit handy —  Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  • Keep a supply of non-perishable food items.
  • Pack a well-stocked medical kit.
  • Always have extra cold weather gear like blankets, gloves, hats, boots and sweaters.
  • Road flares are essential for flagging down help.
  • An extra radio with extra batteries is a good idea.
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Carry extra coolant, washer fluid and engine oil.

6) Inspect hoses and belts — Anything that is worn or cracked should be replaced.

7) Electrical wiring — Inspect wiring for frays or other damage. Keep extra fuses on hand. Check periodically for loose or hanging wires that may collect ice and snow.

A little time spent now may save you a lot of time (and hassle) later. Be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at you and prepare your truck and yourself for the road ahead.

 

September 12th, 2014

When was the last time you had your breaks inspected? This week, inspectors will be checking the brakes on trucks throughout the country as part of the Operation Airbrake program — the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sponsored Break Safety Week (September 7 through 13).

We’re sure that you know how to keep your brakes in top condition for your safety and the safety of others on the road, but here are the items that will be checked during your inspection:

• Drivers license
• Registration
• Low air warning device
• Pushrod travel
• Brake linings
• Air loss rate
• Tractor protection system

Some examples of brake issues to be aware of include:

B  Cracked Brake Bracket Photo B
This is an example of a cracked brake pod mounting bracket and supports that are cracked on the braking system. These can be serious issues, so be sure to look closely. Note: Sometimes it could just be paint coming off but it never hurts to get a second opinion.

C Missing snap Ring Photo C
This shows a missing snap ring that holds the slack adjuster to the S-Cam. If this should happen on your equipment, the brake on that wheel end is no longer working.

For more information, visit http://www.cvsa.org/programs/air_procedure.php. To start a conversation about brake safety with fellow drivers or ask questions, visit www.facebook.com/conwaytruckload.

Stay safe out there!

August 26th, 2014

One of the most important aspects of safety and efficiency is keeping an eye on tire wear and upkeep. Poor tire maintenance can lead to significant decreases in fuel efficiency, as well as safety hazards such as flats, blow outs and sidewall damage from curbing.

New steering tires can last 90,000 to 150,000 miles, depending on brand and how well they are managed; drive tires can go 300,000 to 400,000 miles and trail tires typically last three years. To make sure your tires are in top condition and to help prolong the life of your tires, check out the information and things to note during pre-trip inspections below:

• It’s normal for tires to lose some air pressure, especially when temperatures change. Keeping the appropriate air pressure levels is one of the most important keys to tire health. In fact, the number one tire killer is incorrect air pressure! Over-inflated tires can result in poor handling, deteriorating ride comfort and premature wear. Under-inflation may lead to the same problems as well as increased fuel consumption and overheating. The effects of overheating are particularly damaging, and can result in tread separation and blowout. The recommended pressure range is 85 to 100 psi, depending on the tire position.

• Check and adjust air pressure at least once a week and report any new wear conditions that appear. For example, a tire that is worn on either the inside edge or the outside edge can be an indication of an alignment problem. Advanced wear on both sides at once is often an indication of low tire pressure, and wear in the center of the tread usually points to over-inflation.

• If the tire wear seems even, use a depth gauge to check tread depth at three separate points around the tire. Forgot or lost your tread gauge? Use a penny. Insert the penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head pointing down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tire is worn. The Department of Transportation’s minimum tread requirement is 4/32 tread for the steer tires, 2/32 for the drive and trail tires. Also always check for foreign objects in the tire.

Check out this in-depth look at tire troubleshooting. (PDF)

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