Munich - Every hour and every day that a truck is unable to hit the road because of a fault or breakdown costs the owner money. While good maintenance generally helps to avoid fault-related downtime, the concept of preventive repair goes one step further – by replacing parts before they reach the critical stage of their life cycle. TÜV SÜD supports haulage companies and workshops in defining which components to replace and when.
“It is better to undertake repairs and replacement at an early stage and make a garage appointment that fits into the working schedule than to face unforeseen disruptions to operations”, advises Dieter Roth, Senior Manager Truck Services at TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH, pointing out that precautionary replacement of wear-and-tear parts and consumables costs significantly less than emergency repairs on the hard shoulder. The latter also involve consequential problems if consignments do not arrive at their destination on time. “And if the fault causes a truck’s refrigeration system, say, to fail, the costs can really mount up”, warns Roth. He advises precautionary replacement of the following parts in particular:
1. Drive belt: Commercial-vehicle manufacturers stipulate these parts should be replaced after a specific number of kilometres or hours in operation. These instructions should be followed at all costs; if a drive belt breaks, continuation of the journey is all but impossible, yet precautionary replacement is relatively cheap by comparison. In the process, wear-and-tear parts that are easy to access can be replaced at the same time. “When a drive belt is replaced, replacement of water pumps driven by the belt is also highly recommended”, says Roth. The additional costs account for only a fraction of the costs of replacing the pump on its own. The same applies to deflection rollers and bearings outside the oil circuit.
2. Turbochargers: When a turbocharger gives up the ghost, this can be dangerous for the engine as a whole – for example, if fragments of the turbine wheels end up in the intake manifold. “Turbochargers should be replaced around every 600,000 kilometres for this reason”, recommends Dieter Roth.
3. Tyres: It’s not all about tread depth! Tyres on trailers that are not in regular use are subject to fatigue and become more vulnerable to damage. In addition, fatigued rubber compound can be a hazard on the road, impacting on driving control. The small tyres on low-loaders or tyres on wheel loaders used in high-impact terrain are ready for renewal before they reach the official wear stage. Similar warnings apply to tyres on construction vehicles, where stones frequently cause damage to the tyre shoulders.
4. Fuel and exhaust systems: Fuel injection volumes and injection timing are absolutely critical to smooth and efficient fuel combustion. The new Euro VI engines report faults if the electronics in the exhaust system register deviation from the pre-set norm. “While the vehicle is in the workshop, it makes sense to have the injection pump tested before a fault develops”, advises Roth. A change in settings can cause fuel consumption and exhaust treatment processes to deteriorate, and in the worst case may even result in engine damage. In newer models, the vehicle may only operate in emergency running mode.
5. Batteries: Haulage contractors report to TÜV SÜD that batteries often show signs of failure in relatively new vehicles. “Many companies do not even bother to recharge these batteries, but replace them straight away”, says Dieter Roth. A sensible procedure, given that a smoothly operating power supply is one of the most important things for a commercial vehicle.
Under the heading of “Big Things On the Move”, TÜV SÜD will present its complete portfolio of truck services at the IAA Commercial Vehicles exhibition in Hanover. At Stand G22 in Hall 13, TÜV SÜD Auto Service will offer comprehensive solutions and innovative concepts for the commercial vehicle and logistics industries.