A Guide to Trucking Predictive Maintenance (Part 2)

predictive maintenance

If you’ve ever dealt with an unexpected truck breakdown, you know just how frustrating it can be. In the best case scenario, you’ll be able to identify and fix the problem yourself. In the worst case scenario, you’ll need to call in additional help to get back on the road. Either way, you’ll likely lose hours of road time, putting you seriously behind schedule. Wouldn’t it be great if you could be proactive and prevent the need for surprise mechanical maintenance incidents? You can. Predictive maintenance is a method that allows truckers to leverage data and analytics to generate a customized, scheduled maintenance plan for every truck in a fleet. These plans predict mechanical issues before they emerge, allowing you to fix them before heading back on the road.

What Are the Three Predictive Maintenances?

Predictive maintenance is emerging as one of the most exciting innovations in trucking technology, but you might wonder, what kind of maintenance does it entail? A predictive maintenance program monitors each part of a truck and prescribes specific maintenance actions based on data and historical information. These actions fall into three main categories.

Engine Maintenance

Engine issues are one of the most common causes of unexpected truck breakdowns, so of course, engine care is at the top of the list for any predictive maintenance program. Common engine issues include the following:

  • Overheating
  • Failed starter
  • Leaking coolant
  • Broken oil pump

A predictive maintenance program can anticipate when these and other problems are likely to occur, giving truckers the opportunity to conduct maintenance proactively. This saves time and money while making operations dramatically safer, too.

Brake Maintenance

Though the engine is one of the most common culprits for truck breakdowns, brakes are arguably even more important. This has been made apparent by recent news stories of a tragic accident resulting from a semi-truck’s brake failure. Accidents like this can be avoided by performing routine brake care as prescribed by a predictive maintenance program. This helps trucking companies minimize brake-related liabilities that can impact truck insurance premiums.

Tire Maintenance

Semi-trucks are particularly susceptible to tire deflation and flats due to the heavy loads of cargo they often carry. Tire upkeep is thus another important part of every predictive maintenance program. Based on historical data, the program can schedule proactive tire care actions such as refilling or replacing tires. It can also alert truckers to the presence of a puncture or other urgent issue. This may prevent tire blowouts, which can be a major contributing factor in crashes.

How Do You Collect Data for Predictive Maintenance?

Predictive maintenance is unique in many ways, but its revolutionary use of data sets it apart from other methods of truck upkeep. How exactly is this data collected, though, and how can users ensure that it is accurate?

Data Reported by Users

One of the primary sources of data used in predictive maintenance is information that is self-reported by truck drivers. This information includes data entered into a driver’s logging system as well as any additional notes that may be made. Though user-reported data sometimes lacks a streamlined system, predictive maintenance may be poised to change this, improving the overall quality of safety and maintenance data that’s available to truckers.

Data Retrieved from Sensors

In addition to data that’s directly reported by drivers, predictive maintenance programs rely heavily on data that’s collected from sensors contained within the truck itself. Sensors in a truck’s engine help to monitor the status and performance of various essential functions, including the flow of oxygen to the engine, the pressure within the manifold, and the temperature of the engine. Predictive maintenance monitors these sensors and collects their data to anticipate when repairs may be necessary.

Data from Historical Predictions

Information from drivers and sensors can be useful to the predictive maintenance algorithm, but historical predictions are just as important. This data includes general information about the average lifespan of certain parts, timeframes for routine maintenance, and other standard care procedures. A predictive maintenance program will take these principles into account when prescribing maintenance actions.

How Does Predictive Maintenance Save Trucking Companies Money?

Predictive maintenance isn’t just good for maximizing your truck’s uptime. It’s also a great tool for reducing repair costs and saving substantial sums on operating expenses.  See how a predictive maintenance program can help your fleet stay on top while avoiding unnecessary expenditures.

Minimize Downtime and Repairs

The most obvious savings offered by predictive maintenance come from minimized downtime. In addition to being a major inconvenience, unexpected downtime is a serious drain on any trucking company’s funds, too. Emergency repair is typically much costlier than scheduled maintenance, and predictive maintenance programs can help you reap those savings. Rather than wait for something to go wrong — and pay the price when it does — you can maintain control of your fleet’s maintenance costs.

Avoid Liabilities from Maintenance Issues

Maintenance issues have implications beyond the expense. In many cases, an issue with a truck can translate into a safety issue, too. Any kind of performance issue that happens while a trucker is on the road can pose an immediate safety risk to the driver and surrounding motorists. If this results in an accident, people may be injured and your truck insurance rates are likely to go up substantially. Predictive maintenance helps to identify potential issues before they escalate into a safety hazard, and this helps minimize the liabilities associated with driving.

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Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!