Why Does My Truck Need Brake Checks Every Year Now?
If you’ve been driving a truck or other heavy vehicles for a long time, you may remember a time when inspections weren’t quite as strict or stringent as they are now. One of the big shifts that happened recently regards the upkeep of brake systems, with new standards requiring a schedule of maintenance at least once a year. There are a few reasons for this, but today we’re just going to talk about two of them.
The first reason is straightforward, and plays a role more often than you would think: it’s simply a matter of quality. If you walk into a parts section of an automotive store, you’re going to find many more options than you ever thought, for almost any part on a vehicle that can be replaced – brakes included. And while competition for your hard earned dollars is good, you may find a wide range of prices waiting – and, unless you have a lot of money to burn, you’re likely to lean towards something on the cheaper side. While these cheaper brake pads/shoes will work, they may not work as well as something more expensive, because they are often produced or manufactured for as cheaply as possible – which may be here at home, or may be far overseas. This means quality control may not be effective, the component parts may be tainted or sub-par to begin with, or they may just get damaged during a long trip across an ocean. Our advice? Buy the cheapest brake pads at your own risk, because you’re likely to be paying again if they fail early.
The second reason that brakes have to be checked every year now is that the latest criteria of inspections for the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program (CVIP) has changed. Inspections of years past included a cam rotation, lining thickness measurements, and push rod traveling, from which we could pinpoint the drum wear, even though we usually visually inspected the brakes through the hole in the backing plate. We only pulled drums if physical damage or the measurements indicated that we had to check for a defect in the wheel.
Now, though, CVIP standards say we must pull the brakes every year on various makes and models of equipment, in order to verify things like pad/shoe condition, drum wear, heat dissipation, and cracking to within one inch of the drum lip. As you can imagine, this causes us to replace many more brake parts, because the visual inspection is much more thorough.
As with any of these new regulations, it can be tough to stay on top of it all when you’ve got everything else in your job to worry about. That’s why it makes sense to leave it to the pros – especially the ones whose specialty is preventative maintenance and who are dedicated to keeping your rig running, operational, and compliant before the major problems appear. West Tech Mobile is that shop – and we look forward to helping you get the most out of your heavy equipment, trucks, and other heavy-duty vehicles in Calgary!
Avoiding Department Of Transportation Fines With Our Spring Special!
It looks like warm weather has finally returned, and as the old saying goes, that means it’s time for our second-longest Canadian season: construction! Trucks, rollers, pavers, cranes, and all kinds of other vehicles will be out in force in the coming months, working hard and doing what they do best.
But many of those vehicles have been sitting idle for several months, as the cold weather really blasted Calgary this year. That means all the hoses, pipes, and connections could have suffered damage over that time, and even the quality of the fluids inside the tanks and reservoirs could be reduced. And having a vehicle with multiple issues isn’t the kind of spring start you likely envisioned.
While you may think it’s not a big deal, and that you can get everything checked out down the road or as it flares up to give you trouble, here’s the thing. The Department of Transportation also knows all of this, and they’re ready to go on a spring roadside safety blitz, with checkstops popping up all over. And if there’s one piece of advice we can offer, it’s this: don’t start your season with hefty fines and lost time because you didn’t properly prep your heavy equipment, machinery, or trucks to be safe on the road!
Because of the nature of their work, safety standards can be very strict around this kind of equipment, and the DOT doesn’t take chances. Even small issues – like a functioning headlight that has a crack or hole in it – can be enough to shut you down due to the possibility of causing an accident later on, and some of these are so minor that you wouldn’t necessarily catch them on a simple walkaround.
It may sound like we’re exaggerating or fearmongering, but we simply want our clients to be able to do their jobs and get home safe to their families at the end of every day. That’s why West Tech Mobile has set up a Spring Special deal (details listed below), just for people like you – an all-in-one package designed to go over your vehicle’s systems and parts and ensure that it’s all in good shape for the season ahead. Tire pressure, lights, leaks from hoses, electrical connections…we’ll make sure you’re road-ready and have nothing to fear from a sudden checkstop on the highway.
With this kind of preventative maintenance, it’s much easier to pay once and have peace of mind than to be stuck footing a tow bill and a day of lost productivity, or to have something go wrong when you’re far away from home, out in the oilfield of northern Alberta, or outside any of the major cities and towns. It’s always better to catch and fix little problems, before they become big headaches.
Call West Tech Mobile in the industrial area of southeast Calgary today to find out more about our Spring Special – it doesn't take much time and you’ll be very glad you did!
Spring Special Includes...
Cooling system performance test, checking all fins, checking coolant strength, a/c performance test (hookup manifold gauge kit, check static pressures, etc), check vent temperatures, check cycle times on your compressors, check condition of drive belts, a visual inspection of condenser and fins, checking fan hub operation, pressure washing dirt and bugs found in fins, check the blower fan for functioning, check for any winter damages.
When purchasing this bundle receive an incredible 25% OFF!
This is only on until the first day of summer so be sure to...
On-site Truck And Equipment Inspections
The trucks, tractor-trailers and other heavy equipment with which we work have the potential to cause some major damage if they malfunction while moving – and that’s why there’s a rigorous set of inspections that need to be followed and kept current for them. But not all inspections are born equal, and today we’re going to talk about some of the different types, especially the Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program (CVIP), and where they can be performed.
Let’s start with preventative maintenance. Don’t be fooled – while we believe this is just as necessary as any mandatory inspections, it doesn’t officially count as one. These “in-between” inspections can be done either on-site or in our shop, and will help you get the most efficiency, life, and safety out of your engine and other components. They are not, however, meant to replace the strict procedures of official inspections at regular intervals.
Quarterly inspections, PDIs (pre-delivery inspections), and PPIs (pre-purchase inspections) are next up, and each of those can be done easily on the job site, minimizing lost time and productivity. It’s a good setup, because it means less stress about manoeuvring equipment around when you’ve already got a busy schedule, and having West Tech Mobile come to you is a perfect solution. We can also do repair inspections out of the shop – on the road, on a job site, etc. We’ll assess the situation and help make sure everything is safely working as it should.
This isn’t just limited to trucks, either. We can do these inspections on cranes, manlifts, jackstands, heavy machinery, and so on, all on-site and without further interfering with your logistics. This is possible because we have a professional engineer in our staff, experienced with everything including basic inspections, annual certifications, checkups, and structural magnetic particle inspections.
It’s important to know, though, that we (and everyone) cannot legally do CVIP inspections outside of a licensed facility, with a licensed inspector. While there are several reasons for this, the main one is that a lot of the necessary tools to do the full process cannot be moved from the facility. Since there are such stringent rules about CVIPs, it’s not something you want to rush, anyway – it’s the kind of thing you’ll want to plan ahead for so that it’s done well and done correctly.
If you’re overdue for any of these inspections (or if you simply want to make sure everything in your vehicle is functioning as it should), give West Tech Mobile a call today. If it’s possible, we’ll come to you, and if you have to come in to our shop, you’ll find that you’re leaving your equipment in very capable hands. We look forward to helping you get the most out of every bit of mileage.
CVIP versus Preventative Maintenance
It’s not always easy to maintain a single vehicle that gets used every day, let alone an entire fleet of them. Between dust and debris, bad driving conditions, extreme temperatures, and just plain old wear and tear, it won’t take long to run into trouble somewhere if you’re not keeping up with inspections! Today we’re going to talk about two similar maintenance and inspection routines – different, but each necessary in their own way.
The first one is the CVIP, or Commercial Vehicle Inspection Program. These mandatory inspections have high standards, set by the government, and are intended to ensure that any vehicle on the road is actually worthy of being there! They check out your brakes, steering, structural integrity, emissions systems, and the other parts of your vehicle that keep it running smoothly.
The second is preventative maintenance, or PM. While not strictly mandatory, this routine means you are getting regular check-ups on the overall function of your vehicle – everything from the tires being a little low on air, to the A/C needing a recharge soon, or even the door handle sticking now and then. The whole point of this program is to catch issues when they are small, fix them before they become large, and save you plenty of time and money along the way.
So why are they both needed? Couldn’t either one catch everything at a time?
While they are both done for the performance of your vehicle, CVIP is generally only concerned with the things that would make your driving unsafe, while preventative maintenance will catch any issue, even if it is only cosmetic or simply inconvenient. Beyond that, CVIPs are only done at specific intervals – in some cases, once a year – and let’s just say that there’s plenty that can happen to your vehicle in a year! While the inspection itself may have a fixed cost, if you run into surprises that you weren’t aware of, that cost can balloon substantially when you find them.
By using a consistent PM schedule, you have much more control over your time and money when it comes to what you’re spending on your heavy-duty equipment. Small issues are fixed before they become crippling. Large repairs can sometimes be dealt with in stages, helping to alleviate immediate expenses, and you’ll be aware of anything that might be problematic in the near future, allowing you to budget accordingly. And of course, you get the peace of mind knowing you won’t have any trouble while trying to get your work done, or when you’re heading home after a long day.
Many people wait until their truck is in the shop for a CVIP inspection, and are then blindsided with costs for repairs to joints, chassis parts, or other engine components that they didn’t expect. By using PM to your advantage, you can not only avoid this, but increase the longevity of your vehicle, too! Think of something simple, like engine oil: it’s critical to the function of your engine, but it’s not even one of the criteria in a CVIP inspection. If you’re waiting for them to catch an issue with it, you’ll be waiting a long time – so it’s better to be proactive.
Need even more benefits? Chances are, if you’re concerned about a CVIP, you use your truck or heavy equipment to make a living, and if that vehicle is out of commission for even a few days, you can lose hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars. You’re losing out twice, because you’re not only spending money on repairs, but you’re not making any while the repairs are being done! So if you want to make sure everything is running smooth, get started on preventative maintenance as soon as possible. For example, if you notice some leaky shocks and you get them fixed before they run dry, you just potentially saved thousands of dollars and a whole lot of stress; but if they technically pass the CVIP, and you forget about them for six months until you get pulled over? That’s going to be one big headache.
Just don’t risk it – get going on your preventative maintenance program today, to help make your CVIP routine painless and easy! With West Tech Mobile, we have our top technicians ready to serve you, and we can make sure that your job doesn’t get any harder than it already is. We’re always trying to keep our clients on the road, and giving them helpful tips on how to get the most out of their engines.
Give us a call at 403-265-5699 today to find out more about CVIPs, preventative maintenance/PM, and why we’re one of Calgary’s favourite heavy-duty maintenance shops!