Improving Truck Repair with Prognostic Maintenance

Prognostic maintenance predicts the time a system or a component will no longer perform its intended function. It is based on based on the analysis of failure modes, detection of early signs of wear and aging. As condition-based maintenance is becoming more mainstream for commercial vehicles, experts are seeing a lot of changes to the transportation industry. According to Transport Topics, these changes are transforming the trucking and logistics industry in more ways than one… expanding real-time operational insights, fostering an improved warranty process, and accelerating the sales of replacement parts, just to name a few. Experts says the trucking industry has made a start in the direction of implementing proactive alerts to supplement diagnosis and repairs.

The Transport Topics article references some interesting data from a recent survey of 250 owner-operators and midsize fleets:

  • 33% of the companies reported predictive maintenance was the top technology investment they planned in the next 12 to 24 months

  • 28% reported they expected predictive maintenance and route optimization to be the technology with the biggest impact in the next three years

The advantages of condition-based maintenance for trucking are clear: only those vehicles that can complete the trip are put into service and fewer service failures that can work against the company and their customers. In addition, repairing parts of systems based on need could be much more efficient than over-maintaining according to the calendar or odometer.

Prognostics will not prevent a part from failing, but it could drastically reduce service interruptions or breakdowns. There are still unpredictable variables that cannot be avoided.

Part of what predictive maintenance currently helps with:

  • Oil changes

  • Valve trains

  • Air drier cartridge replacements

  • Diesel particulate cleanings

  • DEF filters

The future of predictive maintenance could help with monitoring and diagnosing in real time:

  • Engine

  • After treatment systems

  • Automated transmissions

  • HVAC systems

  • Low-voltage disconnects

  • Cab components

  • Drivetrain

  • Wheel ends

As technology continues to advance and increasingly complex and expensive equipment is needed to do ever more time-critical jobs, condition-based maintenance will allow fleet owners and managers to get a handle on costs and increase efficiency.