Preventive Truck Maintenance for Dummies

Everyone knows it’s better to pay for a flu shot now than take a week off for the bug later. Did you know there are flu shots for your rig too? They’re called preventive maintenance programs. And just like our own health, the health of your equipment can be kept in good shape too with a little pro-activity.

We see it all the time: tractors and trailers come into our shop with big, expensive problems that could have been fixed easily and on the cheap if it had just been caught earlier.

One of the problems we see are worn disc brake pads that turns into a torn-up rotor and can even wreck the caliper. Suddenly, a cheap and quick brake pad replacement turns into a much more expensive job. Plus, it’s easy for that kind of damage to sneak up on you. Hard to see with the naked eye, you have to either rely on a trusty computer sensor – or a preventive maintenance program – to catch the problem before it’s too late.

To show you what a PM program could look like, we’ve put together a guide to preventive maintenance – when to do it, what to do, and why, plus a bonus checklist.

But before we get to that, we’ll let the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) have a last word. According to their maintenance regulations, carriers must have a program in place to “systematically inspect, repair and maintain, or cause to be systematically inspected, repaired and maintained, all motor vehicles and intermodal equipment subject to [their] control.”

Whether you’re an owner-operator via Kansas City trailer leasing or someone in charge of a fleet of thousands of rigs, you must perform preventative maintenance on your equipment.

The FMCSA doesn’t give any guidance as to what exactly that’s supposed to look like. That’s where this blog comes in. So, what does a preventative maintenance program look like?

There are three main pieces of any good PM program: timing, the inspection itself and records.


How often should you perform preventative maintenance? Checking for cracked windshields or paintless dent repair for dent damage needs to happen more often than removing wheels to inspect those disk brakes. And batteries probably need to be checked more often than fuel filters. And if anything is leaking, that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible. So the answer is: it depends.

That’s why many PM programs – including ours – come in a few different schedules. To learn more about a PM program that makes sense for your truck(s), you can always contact us!

The Inspection

Although your maintenance needs may depend on the equipment you run, its age and mileage, preventative maintenance inspections themselves will hit on some of the components we’ve already mentioned – oil filters, windshields, leaks, brakes, lights, gauges, and tires – plus many others.

We provide our customers with the option to use our comprehensive PM program. But we are also happy to design a custom PM program that takes into consideration your unique maintenance needs.


This is the nitty gritty: the record-keeping.

Tracking your PM programs with detailed records can both protect you in the case of auditing and also help you track their effectiveness. We help our customers achieve both these ends by keeping detailed paperwork of everything we do. We cross our t’s and dot our i’s so you can get down to the business of driving.


In this industry more than most others, time is of the essence. PM programs like those offered by KAW can keep you rolling.

To find out more about the PM services KAW provides, contact us here or give us a call.

In the meantime, learn more about preventative maintenance programs with these resources:

How to Set up a Maintenance Program that Will Keep FMCSA Happy

Elements of a Successful Preventive Maintenance (PM) Program