For Owner-Operators: Establishing Regular Fleet Maintenance

Mar 29, 2024 | Fleet Maintenance Guide

When you own your own equipment, the most beneficial thing you can do to keep repair costs down is to regularly maintain your equipment per the manufacturer’s recommendations. In this article, we will talk about fleet maintenance (specifically how it applies to truck and trailer refrigeration units), and how you can reduce maintenance costs. We’ll also discuss service schedules with a trusted service and repair shop, and inspection check sheets for training ongoing maintenance. 

Why is fleet maintenance important? 

Trucks, trailers, and refrigeration units are mechanical systems. They involve thousands of parts that work together to do a task for you. There are certain parts of this equipment that are designed to wear out so that your equipment can operate as efficiently as possible.  

For example, the oil in your equipment is designed to lubricate and minimize wear between moving parts in your equipment. As your oil lubricates, it also breaks down. At a certain point, this oil is not as effective at reducing the wear in your engine, hence the need to replace the oil periodically.  

Belt Maintenance

Belts are designed to transfer motion between two or more parts of your equipment. This belt contains specially designed rubber compounds to handle millions of rotations over its life span. The belt also acts as a safety. If your alternator locks up, the belt will slip, preventing damage to your engine. As a belt ages, it looses its elasticity. You may see cracks form and it could become brittle or slip more easily. While belts are an inexpensive repair during a preventative maintenance service, they can cost your downtime if they break on the side of the road. Therefore, its important to inspect your belts periodically and replace them proactively.  

Filter Replacement

Filters keep foreign particles from entering your equipment. These filters are very efficient at the beginning of their life, and they steadily decrease in efficiency through usage. This decrease in efficiency can cause additional strain on your equipment. That’s why its good to replace your filters at the recommended schedule.  

How to reduce fleet maintenance costs 

Staying on top of maintenance is the best way to minimize unexpected costs. Below is a list of things that you should do periodically to prolong the life of your equipment: 

  • Perform fluid changes per the manufacturer’s recommended schedule 
  • Replace filters per the manufacturer’s recommended schedule 
  • Inspect belts periodically 
  • Ensure your radiators, condensers and evaporators stay clean 
  • Keep your equipment clean and free from debris 
  • Check Fluid Levels and do a Pre-Trip Daily 

These tasks are low cost, but they prevent potentially high cost repairs in the future. 

Fleet Maintenance Tracking 

One often overlooked part of a successful maintenance program is tracking your unit maintenance and repairs. While DOT requires maintenance to be tracked for your tractor, many times, the reefer units can go overlooked. Here are several ways to ensure your reefer units stay maintained on time:

Perform the Service when you get your Yearly DOT Inspection 

As your DOT inspection comes up yearly, you may go ahead and schedule some extra time to perform preventative maintenance on your refrigeration unit. This is an easy way to ensure your unit stays up to date with any maintenance required.  

Place a Maintenance Sticker on Your Equipment 

You can pick up a maintenance sticker and place it near the driver controls for your reefer unit. This sticker should list the date of the last service and the due date for the next service. This will help serve as a reminder to schedule your service when you see the due date nearing.  

Set a calendar reminder 

If you use a calendar app such as google calendar or ical, you can set a recurring event to remind you for your next service date. Just don’t let the date pass and forget to schedule this service.  

Should you perform fleet maintenance yourself or take it to a dealer? 

Periodic inspections are easy enough to perform by the operator. This should include checking the fluid levels, performing a pre-trip, and doing an overall inspection to make sure there are no glaring issues. This should be performed each day that the equipment is used.  

Dry PMs 

Dry PMs are inspections on the Trailer and APU units and do not include any fluid changes. This is a more thorough inspection than a daily or periodic inspection. These should be performed by a qualified mechanic. It’s also important to maintain a relationship with your refrigeration dealer in the case that your unit requires a software update or if there are any warrantable updates.  

Wet PMs 

Wet PMs are fluid and filter change PMs. These should be done by a qualified mechanic. We recommend these PMs done by an Authorized Dealer so that your unit stays up to date with any software or hardware updates. These thorough inspections are designed to identify any potential issues that may occur to worn out parts.  


Refrigeration Unit Maintenance Schedules and Fleet Maintenance Inspection Checklists: 

Finally, if you are looking for and all in one guide with Carrier maintenance inspection logs and a simple spreadsheet to track your asset maintenance, see below.  

Certified Commercial Fleet Maintenance Mechanics

What’s the difference between taking your equipment to an authorized factory dealer vs. a repair shop? Generally, authorized factory dealers will have a standardized service approach. Most technicians will be factory trained, or under the mentorship of a factory trained technician. Standard parts are required to be stocked. And any repairs that are warrantable should be covered automatically. 

At Crosspoint Power and Refrigeration, we are serious about training our techs because we know a well-trained workforce improves the customer experience. We have a training program that goes beyond the requirements from our manufacturers. Because of this we have one of the highest percentages of Master Techs, technicians who have attained the highest level of training from the manufacturer, in the industry. 

Reach out to us to learn more about our Contract Maintenance for Fleets.

Reduce Repair Costs by Tracking Fleet Maintenance

Need an efficient way to keep track of maintenance on your units and trucks? Download our easy-to-use Maintenance Tracking Tool, complete with maintenance intervals for easy reference and preventative maintenance inspection forms for:

  • Trailer Refrigeration Equipment
  • Carrier Transicold’s Supra Series
  • ComfortPro APU Models

Get your Maintenance Tracker:

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Reduce Repair Costs by Tracking Maintenance
Need an efficient way to keep track of maintenance on your units and trucks? Download our easy-to-use Maintenance Tracking Tool, complete with maintenance intervals for easy reference and preventative maintenance inspection forms.

Get your Maintenance Tracker:

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