Blog Post

Preventative Maintenance: Not Just An Oil Change

Consistent preventive maintenance is important to the performance of your trucks and to keep downtime at a minimum. At Consolidated Truck Parts & Service we believe there are myths and principles to live by when it comes to preventive maintenance. The point is….preventative maintenance is not just an oil change!

From our prospective customers we often hear the same question about preventive maintenance (PM): “The local lube shop only takes 30 minutes for an oil change, why does your PM take longer?” We’ve heard this misunderstanding often enough in recent months that we thought it deserved this larger conversation.

The common mistake made is the belief that a 30-minute standard oil and lube change is no different from a PM program. The second misnomer is that an oil change is all a fleet needs to be running at its best. The driving thought behind this line of thinking is a convincing one: a 30-minute oil change seems to cut costs in comparison to a full PM service.

However, at Consolidated we firmly believe — and our experienced data proves — that a full PM program is foundational and vital your trucking fleet’s production. A PM program actually saves you a ton of money and delivers bottom line profit when looked at from a larger viewpoint.

Rule #1: Not all trucks are the same.

When it comes to maintenance, not all trucks are the same. A PM schedule that works for some of your trucks may not be best for the others. Consolidated partners with our clients to create customized service plans that allow for the varied composition, age, use, and future plans of your entire fleet.

Our customized PM programs allow you the maximum control, insight, and flexibility for setting the schedule of planned services during common downtimes but also allows you to see a big picture view of your truck and entire fleet, making the direct connection between PM services and increased performance and longevity.

Trucks are made up of many complex components that keep them at top capacity. As an example, the clutch, transmission and tires, are each vital in the truck running efficiently and are unique to every type of truck. A complete PM program goes above and beyond changing the oil in an engine; it is customized to monitor and maintain the specific needs of each component for every truck type.

Rule #2: A good PM gives is predictive not just preventative.

The name says it all — a good PM prevents breakdowns and unnecessary wear and tear. At Consolidated, we go even further. Our technicians are are trained on your fleet needs to focus on what matters most to you, ensuring that your trucks receive the level of service and consistent quality you deserve. Our technicians are also trained to go another step by predicting future problems and faults before they happen.

More than a standard oil change, our PM covers many points. We check, test, inspect and record the condition of every part of the vehicle, entering complete data on its condition directly into the client’s customized fleet maintenance forms. This may seem to take a lot of time and be costly, but, in fact, it can potentially save on expensive repairs, unpredicted downtime, costly road calls, decrease safety risks, and head off the time and money spent on large repairs that would go hidden under less robust systems.

Rule #3: A PM program takes a little more time but will save you a ton of money.

Let’s review 3 areas where you can save money that the standard oil change can’t cover:

Safety and Department of Transportation Inspections

Consolidated’s PM program can include all components of a Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection to ensure safety and compliance with DOT standards.

Often, DOT inspections occur at random and unforeseen intervals. If your truck is not up to snuff, the consequences can be really expensive. On top of that, if a truck fails in inspection, it may be a danger to the drive and others on the road.

By recommending to add the parts of a DOT inspection into a PM service, Consolidated ensures that the vehicle is safe for both your drive and others as well as pass a random DOT inspection.


Tires are invaluable for your truck to remain safe and efficient. Maintained tires last longer and additionally improve fuel efficiency and decrease costs.

Proper air pressure — or not improper air pressure — , for example, presents the largest risk to a truck. Tires with low or high air pressure immediately decreases fuel economy. In the long haul, under inflated tires are more likely to show casing damage, which doesn’t have any solution but to replace the bad tires with new ones. If left uncared for, worn and damaged casing is a major safety concern.

Consolidated’s PM program can monitors and prevents casings from early failure by rotating or replacing tires at the correct intervals and monitoring air pressure on each tire of every truck. This usually takes only about 10 minutes during a routine PM and can prevents a repair that would normally take 2 hours or more. Consolidated can also measures tire tread depth to make sure it is up to legal DOT standards, as well as safe for whatever the current weather conditions are. If the tread doesn’t meet code, the casing becomes a problem and threatens to put the truck out of service according to the DOT.

Engine Coolant

Engine coolant plays a vital part in a proper running engine. Used in both freeze and overheat prevention, it is made of unique chemicals that must be checked and refilled on a consistent basis.

These chemicals, if not handled properly, they can lead to irreversible damage in a very short time frame. Repairing the damage takes a long time and can be costly but can be easily avoided with a proper, full PM service.

A PM improves bottom line profit compared to an oil change

A few years back, Automotive Fleet magazine revealed its 22nd Annual Operating Cost Survey (November 2013). “Stable fuel prices and maintenance costs, combined with a decrease in total fuel consumption due to increased use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, resulted in less volatility in fleet operations during the 12 months ending August 2013.”

In today’s odd world with ever-changing challenges, it may seem like a bad time invest in preventative maintenance instead of the same ole oil change. But today’s pressures just mean there is even more importance to deliver increased profitability. Even in an ever-changing uncertain world by using our customized, comprehensive PM program will not only drive savings on costly repairs, but extend the life of your trucks, decrease safety risks to your trucks, company, drivers, and the community, and reduce unexpected downtime by ensuring your trucks are in optimal condition.

We have seen an oil change that can do all that!

For more information on Consolidated’s PM Program and how it could be customized to meet your truck’s needs, call us today in Alexandria @ (318) 767-4287 in Monroe @ (318) 325-1948 or in Many at (318) 256-9683