Some fleets believe that cleaning their trucks is an expense they can do without. While we agree that it is an added expense, keeping your truck clean has more benefits compared to cost. The importance of having a clean truck cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, the matter is so important that there is an entire Recommended Practice (RP 433) dedicated for it by the Technology and Maintenance Council.
There are several reasons it is necessary to keep work trucks clean. Among them, the aspect of reducing wear and tear, the truck’s security, and the appearance of the truck.
Importance of Having a Clean Truck
The most obvious reason for having a clean truck is to extend the life of your truck.
Many chemicals used today to de-ice roads are quite corrosive for the vehicles. If you do not get your truck cleaned up, these chemicals will stick on the undercarriage resulting in extensive long-term damage.
Of course having a clean truck does not mean that you just brazenly wash it with some water. Water can cause the dried-up de-icing chemicals to become active again. This is why it is necessary to clean your truck properly. Whether you are doing the clean up or you are having it done elsewhere, be cautious of the direction of the water flow. You do not want the chemicals to end up deeper in the undercarriage. These chemicals can become even more problematic there.
If you do not drive in icy conditions, unfortunately, you still need to maintain a clean vehicle. Keeping a clean truck is not limited to the cold regions. Grime, debris and dirt can accumulate on parts of your truck and can mess with the optimal functioning of your truck and affect its overall health.
Another reason having a clean truck is important is being able to more easily detect problems. When you have a clean truck, you have a better view of potential issues with your truck. There are things like damaged components, electrical faults and chaffing lines which you would not see if the truck is too dirty. When everything is clean, it is much easier for technicians and drivers themselves to see the problems.
In fact, the CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) inspectors can pull your truck over for inspection if it is too dirty. Yes, the outside appearance of your truck can lead to getting pulled over. A truck that is not clean may appear as though the maintenance work has not been kept up with and it is more likely to get pulled over.
Your truck can be a direct reflection on the image of your company and can affect its success. A messy work truck may not convey the level of quality and expertise a company would like it to portray. Whereas an organized truck conveys a responsible and professional business. Having a clean truck is vital to portray a good image.
Remaining Underweight and Avoiding Penalties
One of the foremost issues that having clean trucks will resolve is overweight penalties. The standards for truck size and weight are a mix of regulations defined by both state and federal laws. When you have trucks operating in your fleet that are not kept clean, the clutter in the trucks can push the weight of the truck over the limit without you even realizing it. Enforcement of the laws is handled quite strictly and the fines for exceeded weight limits are different in every state but none of them are easy to handle. The fines can range anywhere from between $100 to thousands of dollars. That can be quite detrimental for a business.
This can become a problem for both the company itself and for the truck drivers. The citation for exceeding the weight limit is given to the drivers. Being fined for driving a truck that is overweight will become a permanent part of a driver’s record. There are even times when drivers and companies don’t draft up an agreement properly and the drivers end up paying the whole fine out of their own pockets even if it was not their fault.
Safety and security come into play regarding weight as well. The government places their rules and regulations on the weight for a reason. Overweight trucks need more time and distance to stop. That’s how the basic physics concept of inertia works. Additionally, a truck that is over the recommended weight limit is more likely to roll over. It is also harder to control. Many truck-related accidents happen because overweight trucks lose control in a tight spot.
These are just some of the reasons why making sure that you have a clean truck is important. The concerns of safety and legal ramifications should be enough alone to keep the cleanliness of your trucks in check. The perceived value of a company is also based on the appearance of the fleet and that has long term effects on your company’s business relationships as well. Choosing solutions to make sure that your trucks are clean and safe is imperative. It is not just an extra expense your company can forego. It is an investment in a better future for your fleet and your company.