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Truck Maintenance Essentials

Like any other vehicle, your tow truck requires regular maintenance and care to make sure it stays running at peak performance. Maintaining your tow truck is similar to maintaining a personal vehicle, but there are important differences. The main difference being that tow trucks require a more frequent and diligent maintenance routine because they are constantly pulling heavy loads and being put through other stresses.

You should always have a preventative maintenance schedule established and follow it religiously. Preventative maintenance could be the difference between spending a few dollars here and now or spending a lot of money for expensive repairs that could cost your towing business significantly down the road. A good preventative maintenance schedule will be based on the number of miles you drive and other factors around the general wear and tear on the truck.

Preventative maintenance ranges from checking the oil to doing more advanced checks for engine issues and more. Many towing businesses will be able to perform many of these maintenance operations in-house if desired, but consulting with an auto repair technician or expert at least once a year for a check-up and tune-up is advisable.

It's best to make sure your trucks get a tune-up at least once a year..

It’s best to make sure your trucks get a tune-up at least once a year..

Thankfully, modern tow trucks are very well-built and don’t require a lot more than an annual tune-up, checking tire pressure and tire rotation, oil changes and other fluid replacements. These last few operations can likely be handled by someone at your towing business and won’t take much time or money.

Synthetic oils are probably the best bet for the heavy-duty operation that your tow trucks see as they minimize the deposits and gunk left behind during engine operation. For heavy-duty work, it is recommended to change oil a bit more frequently: probably around every 7,500 miles or so, but consulting the manuals and documentation for the truck that you use will give you the definitive recommended number of miles. Transmission and brake fluid should also be checked about as frequently and axle-lubricants as well.

Beyond fluids, it is smart to keep an eye on any strange noises, vibrations or indications of issues coming from your engine, but that is common sense. Brakes should also be checked and periodically adjusted to ensure optimum breaking distance and performance.

Regular maintenance ensures that your fleet is operating at peak performance and that you minimize the chance of expensive repair costs down the road. If you have any specific questions it is best to refer to the documentation for the vehicle in question or defer to the expertise of a qualified automotive technician who is certified to work on commercial trucks and vehicles.

(photo by JSmith Photo via Flickr)

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