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Money can be tight for truck drivers, especially if you’re paying for your lease or financing. While it may seem like an insignificant expense, the upkeep and maintenance of your truck are essential to staying on the road, not to mention keeping your job. If you’re struggling with truck expenses, consider these ways to save money on maintenance and repairs. Many professional truck drivers frequent online forums to share information about their respective industries. Many of these forums post tips and tricks for lowering operating costs. Here are some insider tricks to save money on truck maintenance to keep more green in your pocket.
Plan Ahead for Repairs
The best way to save money on truck repairs is to plan ahead. If you know what parts need to be replaced, you can get quotes and make repairs before they cause a breakdown. This will save you a ton of money in towing, late fees, repair costs, and lost work time. For example, if you notice your engine overheating, check your coolant level to see if it needs to be topped off. If your tires show signs of wear, consider replacing them before they cause you to get pulled over or, worse, get you in an accident. If your engine is making strange noises, ensure it’s not something you can fix by adding oil or running a cleaner through it. Finally, if you’re having issues with your truck and you can’t figure out what’s wrong, a mechanic may be able to give you a clue. For example, if your vehicle has a check engine light on, have a mechanic check it out and see if they can find the cause. Additionally, if you have a specific type of truck, for example, a Ford, be sure to read its manual, like a Ford Ranger repair manual, so you can be knowledgable about how your vehicle works, and you won’t be as likely to be over charged.
Buy Used for Parts & Maintenance
When it comes to parts and maintenance, always buy used. When a part is new, its value immediately drops by 50%. When you purchase used parts, you’re only paying for the piece itself, not the cost of research and development, marketing, or profits. When it comes to maintenance, there are a few things you should always buy used. Oil filters, spark plugs, and antifreeze are a few examples of items that you can almost always buy at a reduced cost or sometimes even free. When purchasing parts, look for used ones but in excellent condition. Ask mechanics if they have any parts they’re getting rid of, or look through a site like Craigslist for used parts.
Negotiate Your Repairs
If you have work done on your truck, try negotiating the cost. For example, if you have a part replaced, let the mechanic know you’re on a budget and would prefer to pay less. However, be careful not to offend your mechanic. Mention that you’re trying to save money, not that you’re trying to cut corners. If you’re having work done on your truck, like oil changes or new tires, ask if they have any specials or coupons. Likewise, if you’re having work done on your vehicle, such as a tune-up, ask your mechanic if they have any coupons, as well.
Check your tire pressure monthly
Tires are essential to safe driving, but did you know that maintaining the correct tire pressure could save you hundreds of dollars in repairs? If your tires are over- or underinflated, they’re more likely to be punctured, resulting in uneven wear or blowout. You can easily check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. Be sure to check the pressure in all four tires and make adjustments as necessary. A flat tire repair or replacement could cost you $75 or more. If you check your tire pressure regularly, you’ll reduce the chance of getting a flat, saving you tons of money in the long run.
Don’t idle for more than 10 minutes
Idling is something we all do, and sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, it’s costly to idle for extended periods, and it’s dangerous for the environment as well. Most truckers will idle their engines while waiting for their load, at a weigh station, or are stopped behind another vehicle. If you have to idle, try to keep it to less than 10 minutes. If you have to idle longer, you can buy a device that automatically turns off your engine after a specific time. These devices are relatively inexpensive and are worth every penny.
Repair brakes and air conditioners as necessary
Brakes and air conditioners are two essentials that you should always keep in good repair. If you’re having issues with either of these, get them repaired as soon as possible. Repairing either one of these will cost between $200 and $400, depending on the severity of the problem. However, if you don’t fix them, they could cause you to fail a DOT inspection or result in an emergency brake failure. This could cause you to get stuck on the road or cause an accident.
Drive Less To Save More
Driving daily, you’re also burning extra fuel and spending more money. Try to go less to save more. When you’re not driving, turn off the engine. If you’re waiting for a load, are parked at a truck stop, or are otherwise stationary, turn off the engine. Bonus: This is a great way to make more time for yourself to relax and unwind. Driving less is the perfect place to start if you’re looking for ways to save money. Try to drive fewer miles every month, and you’ll be surprised at how much money you can save.
When it comes to truck maintenance, every little bit counts. These tips and strategies will help you save money on repairs, maintenance, and fuel costs so you can keep more green in your pocket. If you’re driving for a living, managing your truck expenses is a must. These tips will help you ensure your truck is in top shape and you’re spending as little as possible.