Overdrive Magazine

September 2019

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September 2019 | Overdrive | 37 E Q U I P M E N T T railer maintenance often takes a backseat to servicing the tractor, with its multitude of components and moving parts. Still, a thorough on-time preventive maintenance inspection is the best way to increase uptime, decrease run- ning costs, ensure safety and prevent violations, says Matt Krasney, vice president of fleet management for Penske Truck Leasing. Steve Zaborowski, senior vice president for Xtra Lease, emphasizes visual inspection and the willingness to investigate potential problems. "You should stop, take a look at it, and make sure the system is working in accordance with how it was planned to be used," he says. A trailer's most neglected main- tenance areas, which often are those most likely to malfunction or draw inspectors' attention, are tires, brakes, lights, lubrication and the kingpin. Beyond the driver's pre- and post-trip inspections, Mark Sabol, platform product manager for East Manufacturing, suggests developing a list of weekly and monthly checks. Weekly inspections should include looking for any structural damage and verifying that all lights function, are in place and are not obscured. "Lighting issues are easy to identify, which makes them a target for inspec- tions and violations," Krasney says. "Check for damaged lenses and clean, strong connections in the wiring. Loose connections, water intrusion and cor- rosion are all common culprits when it comes to lighting failures and can be prevented with proper maintenance." Krasney says water intrusion "can create significant damage over time, and significant damage can lead to structural failure." Sabol recommends checking the electrical system for chafed wires, missing clips and positive grounding. Next, he suggests lubricating the fifth wheel and checking for corrosion between the plate and main rail, loose or missing bolts, cracks and unusual or excessive wear before checking the kingpin for tightness. Pay special attention to the kingpin and upper plate, says Cindy Crawford, director of maintenance and engineer- ing for Ryder's Fleet Management Solutions Group. "This carries the entire load of the trailer and can often get overlooked in a preventive main- tenance inspection," she says. "The kingpin minimum diameter can be checked with a simple go/no-go gauge. These are the only components hold- ing the connection between the trac- tor and the trailer while allowing them to pivot when turning." Crawford says contaminants should be cleaned from the upper plate with a scraper to view the plate for damage. Sabol says to check the landing gear mounting plates and bracing for cracks, visually inspect all air springs and airlines for chafing and check the brake valves for leaks and proper operation. "Check for and remove any foreign material from within the dust shields," he says. "Drain the condensa- E Q U I P M E N T E Q U I P M E N T Trailers' simplicity doesn't excuse poor PM E Q U I P M E N T BY JASON CANNON A tire problem can be the most common cause of disabling a trailer, so tire pressure and tread depth are critical inspection points in preventive maintenance.

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