Job safety, efficiency, and profitability depend on the equipment required to do a job and how well such equipment is maintained. Built around a simple idea, vacuum trucks are a specialized type of commercial vehicle, more complex than what may be initially perceived. To keep such units functioning, companies must routinely provide required maintenance that can be costly yet so beneficial.
Not Just a Giant Vacuum Cleaner
Used in a number of different industries such as septic, oilfield, portable septic, pressure washing, public maintenance, and even the mining industry, vacuum trucks are basically tankers with high-powered on-board vacuums. They can be temperamental machines and require attention to detail as well as good care and maintenance to remain profitable. Usage of the vacuum truck varies from strictly suctioning to strong spraying/pumping capabilities. In either case, care of the vehicle and most importantly of the vacuum pumps will keep the trucks operational for a full working lifetime.
Daily Required Maintenance
Depending on usage, some vacuum trucks may need more or less upkeep than others although daily observation is essential in either case. Checking the standard vehicle parts as well as the tank, vacuum, and all valves is essential to predict wear and prevent future failure. A daily check list should be provided so operators can initially go over the different vacuum truck systems and ensure that the vehicle is prepared to do a day’s work; that same check list can be used at the end of a work shift to detect any possible problems.
A complete daily inspection can prevent unnecessary breakdowns and lost working time as noted here:
Engine & Cab – Interior, exterior, under the chassis and under the hood visual inspection.
Tire & Drive Train – Inspect tires, suspension, and exhaust for obvious problems;
Safety – Confirm all safety gear and equipment is present and safety stickers in place and in good condition.
- Fluids – Be sure all fluids are filled to required levels and there is no indication of leaks;
Pump – Check that pump and tank valves, filters, safety valves, and hoses are clean and in good working order.
Grounding – Determine that grounding cables are functioning correctly.
Regular Routine Maintenance
If the above maintenance is done regularly and repairs or replacements handled as needed, the likelihood of failure is greatly reduced; these daily checklists do not negate the necessity of prescribed maintenance that every vacuum truck should receive. Based on mileage and usage, routine maintenance should include: timely changing and replacement of oil, hydraulic fluid, any other fluids, and any filters that are required; and examination of all major vehicle systems such as exhaust, electrical and hydraulic systems, drive train, suspension, and recommended part replacement as needed.
Attempts to save money on vacuum trucks by extending regular maintenance timing seldom works; initial cost savings often are replaced with expensive repairs that could have been avoided or lessened is detected early enough. Doing maintenance, replacement, and refurbishing as necessary is the best advice.
Any industry or company that relies on dependable vacuum trucks will greatly benefit by keeping such vehicles serviceable as long as possible which is accomplished with routine maintenance. Keeping a vehicle clean, tuned, and maintained will prove valuable numerous times and keep all those vehicle parts running!