Your work truck(s) are a valuable part of your lawn care business and keeping them running efficiently helps protect the bottom line of your business. When the truck(s) are running, your business is making money and when they aren’t on the road it’s costing you money and that is why they need to be kept in good order. Take a moment and see if these tips are already part of your maintenance protocols.
Proper engine coolant– take time to make sure your truck has the appropriate amount of coolant/antifreeze in the radiator & coolant reservoir before you start your work week and send the truck out on a Monday morning. There are many manufacturers of engine coolant and you should be familiar with the coolant required for your truck. There is the common “green” coolant that is acceptable for many vehicles on the road. If you have a newer truck, there may be a special certified coolant required; for example “dex-cool” used in GM vehicles that is a long-life coolant designed to work with the types of metals and o-ring seals used in GM vehicles. If you have a foreign made truck, there are special formulations required by those manufacturers too. Please be aware that using the proper coolant will ensure you will keep corrosion of your cooling system to a minimum and prevent unwanted cooling system damage. It’s always a good idea to keep a gallon of coolant on the truck as preventative measure.Please refer to your owner’s manual for coolant specifications.
Brake Fluid– This is a fluid that seems to fly under the radar with most truck owners when doing regular maintenance inspections. Glycol-ether brake fluids such as DOT 3, DOT 4 DOT 5.1 are “hygroscopic” which means they absorb moisture from the atmosphere under normal humidity levels. This moisture affects the fluid condition and should be checked periodically to make sure the brake system isn’t being compromised from corrosion due to moisture in the system. Your work truck hauls loads of equipment and it’s imperative that the braking system is in working order for passenger safety as well as others on the road. Having the brake fluid flushed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations should be part of your maintenance program.
Air filter– The engine air filter is an item that should be checked regularly to ensure that fresh air is getting to the engine for efficient operation. If the air filter is clogged with dirt, grass, or other debris this may result in poor engine performance and decreased fuel mileage. A paper air filter that has not been changed in a long time could develop a tear in the filter media allowing debris a straight shot into the engine; this debris can cause accelerated internal engine wear and damage if left unchecked. There are also re-useable/cleanable filters in the marketplace that tout longer service intervals and greater filtering ability than a cheaper paper media filter offers; this may be an appropriate product for you if operating in extremely dirty conditions on a regular basis. Some manufacturers such as K&N, AEM, Airaid, Volant, AFE, provide these types of filters just to name a few. If you keep the air entering your engine clean, you should be able to keep the truck engine performing efficiently and keep fuel mileage at an acceptable level.
Making sure those inexpensive items such as engine coolant, brake fluid, and air filters are in good condition will go a long way towards minimizing downtime for your truck(s). This preventative maintenance will also provide you with peace of mind that your truck investment will have a long and useful service life for your business. It should also be noted that trucks with a documented maintenance history tend to bring more money upon resale because the next owner can verify how the truck was maintained throughout its work history.
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