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Help Customers Prevent Downtime With Preventative Maintenance

Medium-duty trucks are the backbone of American businesses, covering applications from pickup and delivery vehicles to dump trucks. Whether your customers are delivering a furniture set to new homeowners, distributing tacos from a food truck at lunch hour or repaving roads in your community, medium-duty trucks are essential to our economy.

Your customers rely on their vehicles to get the job done with maximum uptime, so they can meet customer needs and keep costs under control. Spec’ing a proven workhorse with long maintenance intervals like the Cummins B6.7™ is a great starting point. But as with any piece of mechanical equipment, you still need to follow the recommended schedule of visual checks and performing preventative maintenance.

Preventative maintenance can be a huge money saver. For instance, your customers can avoid 30 percent of the cost of replacing batteries. Here’s how: When a truck is in for service, have your maintenance team take the entire set (two or four batteries) out, and put them on a trickle charger for 24 hours. Then have them checked with a voltmeter (preferred) or run a test load check. If they take a full charge, your customer will know that they are good for the long run. If the batteries still seem to discharge, one possibility could be infiltration of chemical de-icing agents over the winter, which leaves a thin film inside the battery box. Have your technicians wipe the box clean, and at the same time, clean the terminals and apply a dielectric grease to prevent corrosion.

Just because your customer’s medium-duty truck isn’t running cross-country day in and day out doesn’t mean that a visual inspection should be skipped. Long-haul truckers have a routine daily practice of performing a visual check on equipment from tires and hoses to belts and fluids. Medium-duty trucks should have the same kind of visual inspection on a weekly or biweekly basis, depending on mileage and weather conditions.

The inspection should include a close examination of tire tread for cupping or uneven wear, which can indicate an alignment issue. Rapid changes in ambient temperature can also cause tires to lose air, resulting in poor fuel economy and leading to excessive wear. All of those factors could result in multiplying the cost for tire replacement and increasing fuel use. A great tip to minimizing downtime and inflation issues is to use a flow-through valve cap, which lets drivers add air to their tires without ever removing the cap. Tire inflation should be checked whenever a fill-up takes place, and drivers should also check the fuel cap and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) filler cap to make sure they are seated and sealing properly.

From an engine standpoint, performing oil and oil filter changes at the recommended intervals is the most important maintenance practice to maximize uptime. Some engine manufacturers, such as Cummins, have recommended oil brands that ensure proper lubrication with extended change intervals. Cost-conscious businesses could consider running a lower-viscosity engine oil (switching from 15W-40 to 10W-30) to increase fuel economy while reducing operating costs.

Following the recommended replacement intervals for air and fuel filters, checking the fuel/water separator and performing an annual flush and fill of the radiator with a high-quality antifreeze/coolant are all essential to keeping today’s diesel engines operating at peak performance.

The continual improvement in both engine design and the materials used under the hood has led to longer maintenance intervals and reduced costs. In fact, Cummins has recently announced that it has increased the base warranty on its B6.7™ engine from two years to three years due to confidence in the ultra-reliable product.

Mario Sanchez, Director ¬– On-Highway Marketing Communications at Cummins, went on to say, “More and more, we are surprised to find out that many customers don’t even realize they have a Cummins B6.7 under the hood, due to the fact that they have so few problems with the engine.” That is proof that Cummins customers can expect outstanding engine reliability when they follow good maintenance procedures.

When it comes to maintenance, one of the newest trends in the medium-duty truck market is the use of telematics devices to monitor vehicle location and performance. The devices can be used in conjunction with diagnostic applications to help determine optimal service intervals and proactively schedule needed maintenance in order to avoid unplanned downtime. Cummins Connected Diagnostics™ is one of the foremost examples of an advanced diagnostic solution that can help minimize downtime for vehicles, enabling your customers to run smarter versus harder when it comes to their delivery trucks.

The bottom line? As long as your customers perform regularly scheduled maintenance and keep good records, they can ensure uptime, maximize fuel economy, lower repair costs and keep their businesses running in the black for the foreseeable future. To learn more about Cummins B6.7 and Connected Diagnostics, visit cumminsengines.com.

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