Reduce fuel costs and downtime with a complete fleet maintenance program.


Manufacturers are constantly upgrading and fine-tuning truck designs. Due to today’s market and changing emissions regulations, design changes have resulted in articulated and rigid haul trucks that run cleaner, operate more efficiently and offer a longer service life than the most recent generation.

Image of worker performing maintenance on a truckTruck maintenance now requires an attention to efficient operation. Technicians must stay current on changing designs and required maintenance intervals. The following maintenance tips can give owners the advantage they need to get the most out of any articulated or rigid truck service program.

Be a Bookworm
The most overlooked resource is the reference material that comes with every truck. “Technicians can really boost their knowledge by reading the operating and service manuals that come with the truck,” says Ken Emmett, truck product manager for Terex Construction.
This suggestion also applies to seasoned technicians. The maintenance needs of each truck differ across models and often within the same model. Studying each truck’s manual can keep technicians informed of potential issues that their field experience may not cover.

Tier Up
Tier 4i regulations aim to reduce exhaust emissions, producing changes in articulated truck design that conserve fuel and contribute to long-term fuel economy. This increased efficiency does mean more system components for technicians to identify, understand and maintain—making the manual an even more crucial maintenance tool. The new engine designs also add truck operators as the first line of defense against engine issues because they will be the first to notice changes in truck performance.

Staying in the dark about these reduced emissions—or trying to “trick” the emissions system—will result in major engine issues. Ignoring emissions alerts will only lead to the engine derating to the idle position, paralyzing the truck and hurting its performance.

Oil and Ash
All oils are not created equal—especially in today’s trucks. Tier 4i engines and trucks with EGR systems require low-ash oil, since ash from the oil can plug the diesel particulate filter. Therefore, if the right oil is not used, fleets will see increased truck downtime to accommodate more frequent regeneration cycles—reducing truck productivity and increasing fuel consumption.

Size Matters
On the surface, properly sizing trucks for the job may not seem like a maintenance issue. However, attempting to haul more material than the truck’s design can handle will definitely cause maintenance issues. In fact, overloading a truck in an effort to meet production goals may have the opposite effect on productivity.

There are many factors that go into properly sizing a truck in order to increase profitability for a company—capacity, productivity, transport, purchase price and owning, operating and maintenance costs. Reach out to truck experts, like manufacturers and distributors, to help with proper truck selection for a job.

Is It Covered?
New articulated and rigid haul trucks are often covered with a comprehensive warranty. However, service technicians should ensure that the truck is properly maintained to cover any warranty claim.

The manual outlines all required maintenance items and intervals to keep the truck under warranty. Product Service Manager for Terex, Stu Thompson, cites an example in which an engine was severely neglected and a warranty claim had to be denied. The company experienced an engine failure and submitted a warranty claim. Upon inspection, the oil in the pan was so thick that it held a ruler in an upright standing position. “Unfortunately, because it was obvious that the oil was not changed according to the required schedule, the engine manufacturer had no choice but to void the warranty,” Thompson says.

Keep on Rolling
Technicians everywhere should already know that a properly inflated tire will increase fuel economy. If the air pressure is low, the roll will experience increased drag, which reduces fuel economy.

Looking beyond the tires, maintenance of jobsite roads also helps to extend the intervals between refueling. Fill potholes, keep them as level as possible and remove any obstacle that causes excessive stopping and starting. Steady speeds and grades below 10 percent will also result in lower fuel consumption. 

Lube Job
A critical, but often overlooked, item is properly greasing joints and fittings at timed intervals. Trucks not properly lubricated create wear points that will eventually worsen until a replacement part is needed.

Automatic lube systems lubricate all required points at correct intervals—the technician needs only to pack the lube tube with grease and let the system do its work.

Local Connections
Equipment distributors are a vital resource. Often, distributors will offer maintenance and service packages to keep trucks running in peak condition and will stock all the required parts to keep their trucks running properly. Also, equipment distributors will have product specialists who are familiar with your fleet’s particular maintenance needs.