Commercial trucking is the lifeline of the supply chain in the US, facilitating overland freight movement and supporting local economies. Whether you are a trucker or run a logistics company, you play a crucial role in the economy.
At the same time, you are a part of a lucrative industry. Statistics show that trucking had an 80.7% share in the country’s freight bill in 2022, amounting to a whopping $940.8 billion.
Despite the massive profit potential, the industry struggles with several challenges. While 85% of business owners consider driver-related costs the most painful problem, vehicle performance is an equally stressful issue. Low performance can reduce efficiencies, elevate fuel costs, increase the breakdown risk, and harm the environment.
As a commercial trucker, you should find ways to overcome the performance lags for your commercial vehicles. Here are a few proven ways to maximize truck performance.
Prioritize Regular Engine Maintenance
Preventive maintenance is the best defense against unexpected breakdowns and performance issues. It is even more crucial for commercial trucks as their diesel engines operate for long hours and bear high pressures. These factors may cause significant wear and tear, affecting vehicle performance more than you imagine.
Cost may be a concern, considering the 10% increase in maintenance costs from the previous year as of 2022. But you can budget for these essential expenses because they can save big in terms of fewer expensive repairs and replacements and longer lifespan of commercial vehicles. Anything spent on preventing issues is worthwhile.
Invest in Tuners to Enhance Engine Output
Another best practice to maximize commercial truck performance is to invest in tuners. Diesel tuners are tiny electronic gadgets that control, optimize, and enhance the performance of the engine. Despite being simple and inexpensive to install, tuners may raise your fuel efficiency.
Since Duramax diesel engines are popular in the US, many commercial trucks have them. If that’s the case, you should go brand-specific and look for the best Duramax tuners for your rig. Choosing the right one may be tricky because there are several Duramax calibration options in the market.
Diesel Power Products recommends digging deep into your needs to find a perfect fit for your truck. Alternatively, you can seek expert advice to find the ideal tuner.
Replace Your Fuel Filters
Fuel filters clean the field and ensure that the truck engine operates efficiently. A clogged one means that the engine receives less combustible fuel, causing a drop in power output. Heavy-duty truck filters do a lot of heavy lifting, so they need a consistent TLC routine. Routine replacement is equally vital for commercial vehicles.
You may follow the general recommendations, such as swapping it 2 years or 30,000 miles, but they are subjective. A truck traversing unpaved roads and areas of highway construction will need it sooner. Also, consider replacing them every time you change the engine oil.
Keep Your Tires Inflated
Did you know that tires can affect the number of miles you can get from a tank of gas? According to the Department of Energy, 20-30% of a vehicle’s fuel consumption is tire-related. Unfortunately, fleet owners fail to check this factor. Statistics from fleet inspections across the US show that 34% of a fleet’s tires are underinflated.
Lack of proper tire inflation creates more drag, affecting the truck’s performance and fuel efficiency. Overinflation can lead to safety issues as it reduces your grip. Keeping your tires properly inflated is the best way to prevent both situations.
Remember to check the pressure and ensure optimal inflation before every long trip. Getting checks on the way is a good idea, as temperature changes can affect tire pressure.
Upgrade Your Exhaust System
The exhaust system of a vehicle is another significant factor determining the performance of a diesel engine. You can gain peak performance by upgrading to an exhaust system with greater capacity to release a higher volume of exhaust. The engine will experience an increase in horsepower with the upgrade.
A performance exhaust system enables your engine to breathe better. With better capacity, it draws in more air with each cycle and works more efficiently. Consider it a small investment for more power and a longer lifespan.
The Bottom Line
Commercial trucking is a profitable business, but profits boil down to the efficiency and performance of your vehicles. You cannot leave them to chance because expensive breakdowns can slow down the business and burn your profits. Following these best practices for maintenance, repairs, and upgrades can keep your commercial trucks running efficiently and driving profits for your business.