Pickup trucks - fleet maintenance

 

Pickup trucks - fleet maintenance

Source: 51st State Autos Pickup trucks have always been popular in America, with their three top selling vehicles being pickups, and the Ford F150 being the most popular US car over the last 35 years. Now pickups are spreading beyond the US, and becoming popular globally. In part this is because of the utility of the cabs and comfort for fleet drivers.

With heated seats, DVD players, Bluetooth and all the mod cons, newer models of pickup trucks provide added comfort for fleet drivers who spend long hours on the road. The flat bed makes it a great choice for a commercial business. They also stand out from the regular ‘white van’ and are increasingly becoming a vehicle that is utilized by fleets globally.

One of the important things for a fleet vehicle is how easy it is to maintain. The high wheel base of most pickups actually make them easier to access and maintain than most other fleet vehicles, but pickups do have things that you need to consider for maintenance:

  • Engine checks

Engine checks in pickups are similar to engine checkups on other vehicles. Belts, hoses, alternators, batteries, drive belts and timing belts need to be checked and replaced as needed. Engine oil and fluids like coolant, brake, transmission, power steering and windshield washer fluid also need to be maintained - and may need to have additives added depending on whether the vehicles are operating in a hot or cold climate.

Given the advances of comfort and technology inside a pickup cab - you need to make sure that there are no blown fuses, as they may cause malfunctions in your windows, dash lights, radios and other electrical components. Air filters and spark plugs should also be checked to make sure the engine runs at peak efficiency.

  • Tire checks

Checking tires is something obvious for all fleet maintenance, but pickup types also need to be checked for purpose as well as wear. Traditionally, pickups were used in the country and needed to have tires fitted that was available for all terrains. Due to advances in electric steering, pickups are now being used more in an urban and suburban setting. If your pickups are being used on roads, then you need to have tires fitted to suit that terrain.

Using a flat bed also means that there may often have more weight on one side of the truck than the other. To combat this, you need to make sure that the tires are kept at the recommended inflation levels, as well as rotating the tires to make sure that they are not work more on one side of the vehicle than another.

  • Check under the pickup

Pickups have a high sitting can, which does mean that the shock absorbers, struts, linkages, springs and axels are more exposed than they are in a regular fleet vehicle. This doesn’t mean that they are more vulnerable - they can survive the Baja run - but it does mean that they are more prone to pick up mud, snow and other things that can attack the protective coatings under the vehicle.

If your fleet is not based on roads - then you need to check that there is no buildup of mud, that could interfere with the drive chain. If there is bad weather, you also need to check for snow or salt. Ask your drivers to inform you if there’s loud road noise or vibration – usually an indication of damage in some part of the suspension system.

  • Check in the vehicle

Pickups are a rugged vehicle that can have a very long working life if they are maintained properly. They also tend to hold their resale value well, especially if they are well maintained inside and out. Keeping your pickup clean will help protect the paint and protective coatings - and will also make it easier to identify any damage.

Keep an eye on the aesthetics of the vehicle. First check outside for superficial scratches and damage to taillights, rear brake lights, turn signals, front brake lights, hazard lights, headlights at high and low beam – as well as reverse lights.

Author Bio This article was written by Eric White. Eric is part of the team at 51st State Autos, the UK’s largest importer of American Pickup Trucks in the UK

Image courtesy of Khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net