Preventative Maintenance Schedule – Why having One is Important

preventative maintenance schedule

Preventative Maintenance Schedule


Trucks, manufacturing equipment and heavy machinery often come with a hefty price tag. These engines need optimal protection against wear in order to promote reliability and minimize the cost of unscheduled downtime. By establishing preventative maintenance goals and following a preventative maintenance schedule you can ensure the safety of your equipment as well as maintaining proper care while under warranty. A preventative maintenance schedule is a planned calendar of regularly performed maintenance on a vehicle or piece of equipment as suggested by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). Preventative maintenance should be performed from the time of purchase throughout the lifespan of your equipment to prevent unnecessary breakdowns or catastrophic failures. Maintaining a preventative maintenance schedule on a piece of equipment while it is fully operational is essential in order to reduce the likeliness of mechanical problems from occurring. Stay ahead of the curve with carefully planned maintenance goals and a preventive maintenance schedule that will extend the life of your engines and keep your fleet in compliance with warranty recommendations and requirements.

By establishing preventative maintenance goals and following a preventative maintenance schedule you can ensure the safety of your equipment as well as maintaining proper care while under warranty. 

The most important thing fleet managers can focus on now

Having a preventative maintenance plan is the most essential element when it comes to protecting and optimizing the lifespan of your equipment. Owners looking to maintain compliance with regards to warranties of their equipment are encouraged to properly document  any and all performed maintenance intervals or schedules. A steady and consistent paper trail of your equipments service intervals provides an additional level of security should an issue occur while under warranty. Also, staying current with warranty requirements and OEM recommendations provides a record of accountability and is helpful if and when you decide to sell your equipment. Studies have shown that buyers are more inclined to purchase equipment having detailed maintenance records over those without. Following a preventative maintenance schedule in alignment with warranty and OEM recommendations will also ensure that you are utilizing the correct products specifically approved by the OEM.

Establishing maintenance goals

Heavy duty equipment and trucks can cost thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars and are valuable assets to your business. Avoid sacrificing the integrity of your equipment with regularly scheduled, ongoing preventative maintenance because unscheduled downtime can be devastating to productivity and your bottom line. By establishing maintenance goals you set your fleet up to win. Some good questions to consider are:

  • What are my operational cost saving goals this year?
  • How can I reduce my total cost of ownership?
  • How can I maximize operational productivity?
  • How can I minimize lost production due to unnecessary downtime?
  • How can I increase uptime?
  • How can I decrease labor and repair costs?
  • How can I reduce unscheduled interruptions?

Whatever your personal or organizational goals are this year regarding preventative maintenance you should always consider the mantra “less is more.” Too much change too fast has a tendency to overwhelm us and can add to unnecessary confusion and most importantly unnecessary headaches. When creating your goals, define your best case scenario and work backwards from there. Sometimes it’s easier to understand the endgame first, then develop a strategic implementation plan with mini milestones scheduled along the way. Everyone loves putting wins on the board which is why we suggest starting with smaller implementation changes and eventually expanding into larger opportunities in order to meet your overall goal. By maximizing the lifespan of your equipment through effective and efficient maintenance practices you can help preserve OEM compliance standards while adding tremendous cost saving value to your bottom line.

Get maximum productivity from your engines

As a fleet owner, maintenance manager or independent operator you’re most likely interested in reducing the total cost of ownership for your fleet or equipment. The total cost of ownership includes the fuel you burn, the lubricants necessary to keep your engine running smoothly, tires, engine components, cost of repairs, labor, insurance, permits, etc. For fleets of leased trucks and equipment, owners seek to maximize the productivity and longevity of their engines in order to reduce any unscheduled maintenance which can significantly impact the total operating costs for such vehicles.

Oil analysis as part of your preventative maintenance schedule

There are condemning limits on all engine components that indicate when your oil should be checked and/or replaced. When viscosity increases or decreases by a certain percentage or your oil shows signs of corrosive or abrasive wear from the presence of metals or soot, it needs to be changed. You generate soot when your engine has incomplete combustion or your fuel is not burning as clean as it should. Soot can find its way into the crankcase as well as other engine components and begins to accumulate and agglomerate, wearing out your engine over time. Your oil’s total base number (TBN) is its ability to effectively neutralize oil contaminants in the form of metals, combustion by-products and acids. It measures an oil’s alkalinity and when TBN drops, your oil runs the risk of adversely affecting your engine.

An excellent method for diagnosing the health and functionality of your engine components as part of a preventative maintenance schedule is to perform an oil analysis, which allows you to assess the state of your oil and to diagnose the effectiveness and overall health of your engine. According to Rob Richter, Business Development Specialist for Chevron, “Oil analysis is everything. When you look at preventative maintenance, it should be set up on a cyclical schedule based on what the OEM says. With oil analysis you can get into predictive maintenance where you’re able to predict problems before they’re even able to occur. An oil sample by itself doesn’t mean anything… it’s really the support behind the sample that makes the biggest difference when interpreting the data and once you start trending that data you can really maximize it to find solutions.”

The benefits of oil analysis

As part of your organization’s maintenance goals you can utilize oil analysis to adjust drain intervals within the spectrum of your engine’s condemning limits, saving your fleet money and  keeping your high cost trucks and equipment up to speed with OEM recommendations and warranty specifications.

To get the most out of oil analysis as part of your preventative maintenance schedule it needs to be done correctly, with the proper training, interpretation of data, analytics and timeliness. Bad data in equals bad data out, so it’s important to perform oil analysis correctly by staying on a regular schedule and making it as easy as possible for employees to conduct tests with the lowest possible margin of error. Getting this data is essential for accurately diagnosing a problem, which in turn minimizes costly downtime and increases the productivity and health of your fleet or equipment.

The spectrum of preventative maintenance

Many fleet operators tend to prioritize engine oil services as their primary preventative maintenance ticket item, leaving secondary componentry such as hydraulic, transmission or differential systems to inconsistent and sometimes irresponsible neglect. It’s not uncommon for managers to ignore the upkeep and maintenance of certain engine components if there isn’t an immediate problem.

At SCL we work with our customers to assess their unique company culture and available resources to develop a preventative maintenance schedule that makes sense and is easy to execute. A barrier to implementing these changes often comes in the form of a business simply holding onto the status quo. Our job at SCL is to challenge our customers to consider the methods and products that will best support them in saving money and extending the longevity of their equipment.

Contact an SCL Consultant today

In a wide range of industrial sectors, if there’s metal touching metal, oil is involved. At SCL, we’re here to protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving and we pride ourselves on providing superior logistics and solutions, extensive product and industry knowledge and total performance satisfaction for our customers. Maintaining a preventative maintenance schedule for your fleet will allow you to optimize the life of your engines and equipment, will ensure warranty compliance and will minimize equipment downtime. With a carefully planned  preventative maintenance schedule you will develop a reliable understanding of your engine’s health that’s in line with industry and OEM recommendations. For more information on developing a preventative maintenance schedule for your fleet, contact an SCL consultant today.

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