5 COMMON MAINTENANCE MISTAKES THAT COST YOUR FLEET MONEY

  1. BUYING THE WRONG COOLANT FILTER (SCA-charged or blank)
    Using the wrong filter in your trucks can cost you anywhere between $16,000 - $40,000 (in-frame overhaul or replacement). Additionally, approximately 35% of fleet trucks’ engine failures are coolant related. In a recent survey, Power Systems Research found that nearly 80% of medium and large fleets are using Extended Life Coolants (ELCs), which eliminates the need for a Supplemental Coolant Additive (SCA)-charged filter. However, many fleets that are running ELCs are still using SCA-charged filters on those trucks, which will nullify the ELC corrosion inhibitors’ technology. This will cause many complications in your engine, ultimately leading to failure (blown head gasket or frozen block due to overheating/freezing). Using the correct filter, in conjunction with ELC, can save your fleet money by possibly avoiding engine related costs.
  2. NOT KNOWING YOUR TRANSMISSIONS
    Using the wrong fluid could cost you anywhere between $3,000 -$7,000 for a rebuild or replacement of a damaged transmission, and you could risk voiding your warranty. It will cause increased wear of the internal metal components due to the lack of the desired lubricant technology and wear protection additives leading to premature failure of the transmission. For example, the clutch plate could prematurely wear and not engage properly when shifting gears resulting in grinding, wearing and fracturing of gear teeth. Transmission Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) require specific fluids. Most OEMs recommend synthetic fluids for new transmissions, which can help provide proper protection for the duration of the truck’s life. Shell recommends that you check with the OEM to verify you are using the correct fluid. Additionally, Shell’s personnel can validate you are using the right product when performing maintenance or having to top off for any reason.
  3. IMPROPER MAINTENANCE OF THE FIFTH WHEEL
    Under or over greasing the fifth wheel can lead to increased wear, reduced life, increased risk of trailer becoming unhitched on the road, excess grease consumption, environmental/CSA violations and much more. Under-greasing prematurely wears out the fifth wheel and tires, costing you around $450.00 per tire to replace. Additionally, the jaw that locks into the trailer will prematurely wear and not lock properly-causing many safety concerns for your truck. Over-greasing can happen when the full tube of grease is spread around the entire fifth wheel surface leading to grease build up on the truck and droppings on the road. Excess grease can spill onto the locking mechanism and attract dust and other air borne particulates to collect on it. This can lead to improper functioning of the locking mechanism. Per the American Trucker’s Association Technology & Maintenance Council recommended practice 650 (TMC RP650) the fifth wheel should be re-lubricated every 3 months or 30,000 miles based on OEM guidelines. At 60,000 miles, the fifth wheel plate should be thoroughly cleaned/checked for cracks in the plate and locking mechanism cleaned and verified it is properly functioning. This should be repeated for the life of the fifth wheel. Knowing the right grease based on the OEM’s recommendation, can save you from on-road liability and catastrophic maintenance repairs.
  4. IDENTIFYING ISSUES TOO LATE
    If you don’t have a proactive maintenance program in place, such as an oil analysis program, you may incur unscheduled maintenance costs. These costs could come from trucks out of service, additional man power for repairs, loss in pay load profits or fees for late deliveries. Potential issues that could arise and cause unplanned downtime are cracks, coolant leaks, unusual liner wear and/or excessive carbon/soot build up. One way to identify these issues early is to tear down the engine at a certain mileage to look for signs of premature wear and other problems, which is quite costly and time consuming. Alternatively, Shell has a borescope video service called LubeVideoCheck, which allows us to quickly identify potential problems without tearing down engines. Additionally, oil analysis is a proven method to identify abnormal patterns in wear metals, contaminants and other important factors. Shell can assist you in setting up an oil analysis program to compliment good maintenance practices. You need your trucks and drivers on the road earning money, not sitting in the shop. Identifying issues as early as possible paves the way for cost effective scheduled maintenance to reduce total cost of operations.
  5. FOCUSING ONLY ON THE DIRECT COST OF LUBRICANTS
    If you focus solely on the cost of the lubricants, you could be wasting thousands of dollars on unplanned downtime, maintenance costs, and fuel costs. We know lubricants can be costly, especially if you opt for synthetic lubricants. However, synthetic lubricants not only offset added procurement costs, but they can provide both long service intervals and improved fuel economy. For example, FA-4 engine oils have an extended oil drain intervals up to 80,000 miles in some OEM engines, which reduces asset downtime and maintenance costs. Significant fuel economy gains can be achieved when synthetics are specified throughout the truck (engine: 1.6% with Shell Rotella® T5 Synthetic blend 10W-30, transmission: 1.5% with Spirax S6 GME 40 and differentials/wheel hubs: 1.0% with Spirax S6 AXRME 75W-90).

Source: Shell Oil

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