Let’s face it, trailers can be exposed to some harsh environments. Warehouses and terminal yards are busy places with much activity. Everything from forklifts to metal debris, screws, and nails pose risks to them every day. But that’s not all! Trailers are also kept in all sorts of geographic climates, in all seasons, and sit through all types of weather.
So today we’re sharing some simple tips and tricks that can help protect your fleet from some of those pesky maintenance issues.
Tip #1: Yard dog magnets
Ever had a flat tire due to screws or nails in the yard or around the loading dock? Yard dog magnets can be a game changer! Yard dog magnets are magnets installed to hang on the front chassis of a yard truck or any rolling vehicle to pick up debris. From steel strapping, banding, and pieces of metal to stray nails and screws, these magnets pick up any metallic item, saving your fleet from punctures and flat tires in a very simple, affordable way.
Tip #2: Pallet stops.
While pallet stops are usually installed in many warehouses, docks, yards, or other place where pallet loads are transported by forklift, they can also be used in trailers. Because… pallet stops help – well – stop pallets. They are used as stops when maneuvering pallets into place or to prevent pallets moving off a rack by being pushed too far. They also help the pallet sit more squarely on the rack for better stowage. On refrigerated trailers, pallet stops can help protect the nose of the trailer in the same way. If your reefers are not equipped with pallet stops already – consider adding them to protect your fleet.
Tip #3: Track guards
Track guards bolted into decking, facility floors, or in the front of overhead doors act as protection from forklifts and pallet jacks that could bump into, run into, or otherwise hit an overhead door. We even use them as part of our reefer design! Because track guards are often quite visible, they alert operators to steer clear of them. Not having them could mean that a door track gets damaged and affects operation plus cause a costly repair. So, if you want to reduce your maintenance cost, make sure you scan your facilities for track guard opportunities!
Tip 4: Tire pressure monitoring and management system
Tires may seem trivial and incidental to tractors and trailers; however, good tire health has a significant impact on trailer maintenance (and its cost). A tire pressure monitoring, and management system serves many purposes. While tractors may be well-wired with a tire management system that informs drivers and others at the home office about tire pressure and other indications of tire health, trailer tires may not be part of that same system.
Adding a tire pressure management system to your trailers can provide alerts to slow leaks, nails in tires, faulty valves, and other problems. It can also provide a regular notification of pressure and warn maintenance technicians and truck drivers if any tire requires air for any reason. This basic modification can prevent major problems like blowouts, hence pay for itself in dividends. Read more about tires here.
Tip 5: Galvanized wheels
Galvanized steel has a coating (much like a galvanized trough or bucket) that inhibits corrosion. This is quite important for a trailer that travels through the elements, in all seasons, in many different climates, and in many different geographical settings. Corrosion of wheel caps can easily set in, wearing out the steel material resulting in the need to replace them. If you can opt for galvanized wheels – especially on trailers you own - corrosion problems may be avoided. Plus, from our experience, rusty wheels are often a trigger for DOT to inspect traveling trailers so opting for galvanized wheels might prevent some unneeded DOT inspections as well.
To sum it up, there are lots of ways high maintenance costs can be avoided with a little bit of foresight and preparation. While your leasing partner should cover normal wear and tear of your trailers, protecting all your trailers from damage proactively will go a long way.
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