The industry’s top fleet maintenance managers and the North American Council for Freight Efficiency share their top tips on how preventive truck maintenance can help improve your fleet’s fuel economy and increase truck mileage.
1. Turn To Data To Identify Problems
If you suspect a truck is having problems achieving optimal MPG, schedule it in for a fuel economy check. This includes a thorough look at whether or not your truck needs a valve and overhead adjustment, air filter replacement, tire re-alignment, and more.
2. Tire Maintenance
Maintaining correct tire air pressure equates to fuel savings. According to the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, for every 10 psi of underinflation, a 10 percent reduction in fuel economy can result. Wheel misalignment can also reduce fuel efficiency by creating rolling resistance and premature tire wear.
3. Regular Oil Changes
Too little or too much engine oil can create more friction and reduce power. Clean oil also lubricates the fuel system better than dirty oil, making it extremely important to monitor your oil change intervals. Many fleet owners are also exploring the use of lower-viscosity oils to improve fuel economy.
4. Air Intake Systems
A restricted air intake or exhaust system can severely decrease your truck engine’s power output. Always check components at regularly and fix any leaks. These leaks can be especially hard to locate, since leaking air is not as noticeable as fuel or oil, Just know that their repair will improve engine operation and fuel efficiency.
5. Air Conditioning System
A truck’s air conditioning system requires horsepower to operate, which essentially lessens the amount available to create and maintain forward momentum. An air conditioning system operating sub-optimally requires even more power to function properly. When conducting an inspection, make sure the condenser and evaporator coils are free and clear of obstructions, the drive belt is in good working order, and the refrigerant level is at the proper marker.
6. Engine Cooling Fan
The main engine cooling fan requires a lot of power to operate, especially with today’s hotter-running, lower-emissions engines. Make sure the fan clutch is operating properly and that the fan runs only when needed. An engine fan that runs constantly causes a significant reduction in fuel economy.