Commercial trailer maintenance tips are essential for the smooth operation of any trucking business. Proper maintenance not only helps to keep your trailers in good working order, but it can also save you money by preventing costly breakdowns and repairs. In this article, we will cover some key tips and best practices for maintaining your commercial trailers.
First and foremost, it is important to have a regular maintenance schedule in place. This should include regular inspections of key components, such as the brakes, tires, and lights. These inspections should be performed by a trained mechanic, who can identify any potential problems and take the necessary steps to fix them.
Important Parts of the Commercial Trailer to Maintain
One of the most important parts of your commercial trailer to maintain is the brakes. Properly functioning brakes are essential for the safety of your drivers, as well as other motorists on the road. It is important to regularly inspect the brake drums and shoes or pads and discs, as well as the brake lines and hoses. If any of these components are showing signs of wear, they should be replaced immediately to prevent a potential failure.
Another important component to maintain is the tires. Properly inflated tires can help to improve fuel efficiency, as well as extend the life of the tires. It is also important to regularly inspect the tread on the tires to ensure that they have enough grip on the road. If the tread is worn down too much, the tires should be replaced to prevent a potential blowout.
In addition to these maintenance tips and regular inspections, it is also important to regularly perform more comprehensive maintenance on your commercial trailers. This should include checking and, if necessary, replacing the bearings, seals, and hubs on the wheels. It is also a good idea to lubricate the suspension components, such as the shocks and springs, to keep them working properly.
Another important aspect of commercial trailer maintenance is keeping the trailer clean. Not only does a clean trailer look better, but it can also help to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime, which can cause components to wear out faster. It is a good idea to regularly wash the exterior of the trailer, as well as the underside, to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated.
Top 15 Maintenance Tips for Commercial Trailers:
- Have a regular maintenance schedule in place.
- Perform regular inspections of key components, such as brakes, tires, and lights.
- Replace any worn brake pads, discs, lines, or hoses.
- Keep tires properly inflated and inspect the tread regularly.
- Check and, if necessary, replace the bearings, seals, and hubs on the wheels.
- Lubricate the suspension components, such as shocks and springs.
- Keep the trailer clean, both inside and out.
- Check the electrical system, including wiring and connectors.
- Inspect the hitch and coupler to ensure they are securely attached.
- Check the condition of the floor and any internal supports.
- Test the air brakes to ensure they are functioning properly.
- Inspect the doors and seals to ensure they are secure and not leaking.
- Check the condition of the paint and apply touch-ups as needed.
- Test the trailer’s lights, including brake lights, turn signals, and hazard lights.
- Perform a general overall inspection, looking for any signs of wear, damage, or other potential problems.
Using Data and Analytics to Improve Efficiency and Reduce Costs
In addition to the traditional maintenance tips we’ve already covered, the use of data and analytics have become increasingly important in the trucking industry, and it has the potential to greatly improve efficiency and reduce costs in trucking operations. One area where data and analytics can be particularly beneficial is in commercial trailer maintenance.
By using data and analytics, trucking companies can better track and monitor the maintenance and repair history of their trailers. This allows them to identify any recurring problems or issues and take steps to prevent them from happening again in the future. For example, if a particular trailer consistently has issues with its brakes, the company can take steps to address the underlying cause and prevent future brake problems.
While maintenance tips are generally meant to help prevent unscheduled repairs, data and analytics can also help trucking companies to better predict when maintenance and repairs will be needed.
This allows them to plan and schedule maintenance and repairs more efficiently, reducing downtime and maximizing the availability of their trailers. By anticipating maintenance and repair needs, companies can also reduce the risk of unexpected breakdowns, which can be costly and cause delays in deliveries.
Furthermore, data and analytics can help trucking companies to optimize their maintenance and repair processes. By analyzing data on past maintenance and repair activities, companies can identify areas where they can streamline their processes, reduce costs, and improve efficiency. For example, they may be able to identify opportunities to consolidate multiple maintenance and repair tasks into a single visit or to use more cost-effective repair methods.
Overall, the use of data and analytics can be a powerful tool for improving efficiency and reducing the costs of commercial trailer maintenance. By tracking and analyzing maintenance and repair data, trucking companies can identify and address recurring problems, predict, and plan for future maintenance needs, and optimize their maintenance and repair processes.
This can help to keep their trailers in good working order and maximize their availability, ultimately leading to better overall performance and profitability for the trucking business.
The Top 5 Missed Maintenance Items
While maintenance tips like the ones we’ve included in this article have been available to repair technicians for many years items still get regularly missed.
- Brake maintenance: The brakes are a critical component of any commercial trailer, and they need to be properly maintained to ensure they are always in good working order. This includes regular inspections of the brake drums and shoes or pads and discs, as well as the brake lines and hoses.
- Tire maintenance: The tires on a commercial trailer are another important component that needs to be properly maintained. This includes keeping the tires properly inflated and inspecting the tread regularly. Worn tires can be dangerous and can cause accidents, so it is important to replace them before they become a problem.
- Lubrication: Regular lubrication is essential for the smooth operation of the moving parts on a commercial trailer. This includes the suspension components, as well as the wheels and axles. Neglecting to lubricate these parts can cause them to wear out prematurely and can lead to costly repairs.
- Electrical system: The electrical system on a commercial trailer is often overlooked during maintenance, but it is essential for the proper functioning of the trailer. This includes inspecting the wiring and connectors, as well as testing the lights and other electrical components to ensure they are working properly.
- Fifth Wheel, Upper Coupler, and Kingpin: The fifth wheel, upper coupler, and kingpin are the parts of the trailer that connect it to the truck, and they need to be properly maintained to ensure a secure connection. This includes regularly inspecting the fifth wheel, upper coupler, and kingpin to ensure they are securely attached, as well as testing the latch and locking mechanisms to make sure they are functioning properly and inspecting the upper coupler and kingpin for damage and wear beyond OEM specifications.
Kingpin Refurbishment Reduces Costs for Fleets
The kingpin on a commercial trailer is the vertical pin that connects the trailer to the truck’s fifth wheel. It is typically located at the front of the trailer, and it allows the trailer to pivot and turn when the truck is making a turn. The kingpin is an essential component of the trailer’s connection system, and it must be properly maintained to ensure that the trailer is securely attached to the truck and can turn smoothly.
Generally speaking, the commercial trucking industry has taken this stance on repairing kingpins:
“It is generally not recommended to repair a commercial kingpin on a trailer. The kingpin is a critical component of the trailer’s connection system, and any damage or wear to the kingpin can compromise the safety and performance of the trailer. If the kingpin is damaged or worn, it should be replaced with a new one rather than repaired. This is typically a job for a trained mechanic, who has the knowledge and tools to properly remove the old kingpin and install a new one.”
But is that accurate?
The answer is it depends on who is doing the kingpin repair and what method they’re using.
At Kingpin Specialists, we have developed an engineered process with certified welders that allows us to refurbish kingpins to the OEM specifications at a fraction of the cost of replacing them. We provide free fleet evaluations and regularly publish connection management maintenance tips to fleets nationwide.
How Does Kingpin Refurbishment Work?
Kingpin Specialists provides repair and maintenance services for commercial trailers which include:
- A free fleet evaluation to measure the wear on kingpins and check the structural integrity of the trailers.
- Based on the evaluation, we provide a customized maintenance and repair schedule.
- During repairs, trailers are staged in a designated area and raised to a height to facilitate the work.
- Before starting work, the team performs an inspection process to ensure the structural integrity of the trailers.
- We use specialized equipment, including a welding machine and a lathe, to repair and refurbish the kingpins.
If you would like to schedule your free fleet evaluation or a kingpin repair call 1-888-221-7774 or contact us today.
In conclusion, commercial trailer maintenance is essential for the smooth operation of any trucking business. Following maintenance tips like the ones in this article, regular inspections, comprehensive maintenance, and proper cleaning can help to keep your trailers in good working order, prevent costly breakdowns and repairs, and keep your drivers and other motorists safe on the road.
By implementing these maintenance tips and best practices, you can ensure that your commercial trailers are always ready to hit the road and deliver your cargo safely and efficiently.