Preventative maintenance of your trailers can minimise the likelihood of unexpected trailer breakdowns, and the extra costs and inconvenience associated with these. It can also prevent a niggling voice in the back of your mind pointing out that “If only I had maintained that trailer more regularly, I wouldn’t be in this mess!”
What is preventative maintenance?
Preventative maintenance prevents trailers from breaking down, thereby maximising their availability for delivering goods to customers. Most issues with trailers are maintenance related and can be prevented. It is also costlier to repair unexpected trailer defects than it is to prevent them. Moreover, any undetected mechanical problems with trailers are potential road safety hazards. And once a trailer goes off-road due to a technical defect, the costs will follow straight away.
Preventative maintenance involves several stages of scheduled maintenance, predictive maintenance, regular inspections and a system for reporting and resolving issues.
If you are not doing so already, why not consider regular, scheduled preventative maintenance visits? These are based on the trailer manufacturers’ specifications, including time intervals and/or mileage. Scheduled maintenance is an excellent solution. Not only can it be delivered for a pre-determined cost but it also reduces unplanned repairs and interventions.
Nowadays, more and more fleets combine “scheduled maintenance” with “predictive maintenance” programmes, based on real-time data generated by their truck and trailer telematics systems. It involves merging the trailer’s data on functions including tyre pressure, fuel consumption or reefer temperatures with information about its mileage, age and regularly scheduled maintenance. From this data, expert trailer maintenance providers can diagnose what specific maintenance is required to avoid future issues. For example, predictive maintenance tells us when to replace a worn-out tyre or service a reefer unit.
What the driver saw
Drivers can contribute to effective maintenance by conducting daily and weekly visual inspections of their trailer and truck. They can then report any mechanical and safety problems and not drive away until they have been resolved.
Manager responsibilities and reports
Fleet managers are responsible for maintenance planning. This includes scheduling trailer servicing, ensuring that regular safety checks are carried out on vehicles and removing trucks and trailers from service for repair. Fleet managers should keep a record of all servicing, safety inspections and repairs. They also need to train their drivers on what to inspect and how to report their findings.
Preventative trailer maintenance; in-house or outsource?
There are many factors to consider when deciding if outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance is right for your fleet.
Benefits of outsourcing:
Cost is a major factor. In most cases outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance is more cost-effective than keeping it in-house. You do not have to carry the fixed overheads of technicians or the latest diagnostics and repair equipment.
- Keeping up with technology
Another advantage behind outsourcing preventative maintenance is the increasing complexity of trailer and truck technology such as telematics and ABS brakes. By outsourcing, you can access a pool of highly experienced technicians with up-to-date skills and knowledge of the latest technologies.
Outsourcing preventative trailer maintenance provides significant flexibility for many fleet managers. This flexibility includes a 24/7 availability of maintenance and repair support through a pan-European network of workshops. Trailer downtime is minimised.
- Focus on areas that add most value to your business
A well-designed and established outsourced trailer maintenance partnership with a market leader like TIP, will free up more time for the fleet manager to spend on more business-critical activities like customer service or business development.
To discuss outsourcing your preventative trailer maintenance, please contact TIP here to find out the services it can provide.