Small business owners commonly find themselves managing big projects. Growing companies that perform product deliveries may purchase or lease pickup trucks to perform those duties. Just as employees must be reliable to ensure the success of a business, so do the fleet trucks. Procuring the best makes and models helps the cause, but even the best vehicles break down without warning. And they also suffer problems after displaying many mechanical red flags.
Mechanical Woes Don't Always Hide
Be on the alert for operational "little things" that could represent a big problem. Here are some issues drivers should report right away:
- Slow Ignition Turnover
Turning the key in the ignition should lead to the engine starting up right away. If there's a slight delay, a problem could be present. Now and then, something could slightly slow down the ignition turnover. For example, previously not turning off the air conditioner could require the battery to direct more power elsewhere on the startup. However, consistent slow ignition turnover could mean the battery is dying or worse.
- Hitting a Pothole or a Bump
No driver can avoid every hazard on the road. Hitting a pothole or bump at even a relatively slow speed could cause that loud bumping and banging sound under the vehicle. Amazingly, the truck could continue to run smoothly. Don't assume this means damage didn't occur to the suspension or something else. A mechanic should check out any vehicle that hit something hard on the road.
- Rough Idling
Rough idling could represent nothing at all. Perhaps the engine needs a good warming up. Or, maybe, the rough idle comes from a severe problem in the engine and its related components. Scores of different underlying problems might lead to rough idling which, in turn, could lead to stalling on the road. Stalls mean delayed deliveries, and customers won't care about the reasons why a delivery is late. Make sure any reports of rough idling is taken seriously.
Log and Service All Troubles
All fleet drivers should be under instructions to report all issues no matter how minor the minute they notice them. A quick email to the company's boss and chief mechanic may be a sufficient heads up. Don't rely solely on a driver's report though. Even astute drivers might not pick up on a problem. Establish a routine inspection system with the fleet truck mechanics. This way, the chances of missing a performance issue end up reduced.
Contact a company, like Folsom Diesel Works, for further assistance.