Many of the newer trucks come with very, if any, greaseable components. This isn’t just the propshaft Universal joints its everything on the vehicle.
Many years ago there could be upward of thirty points on a truck that would need to be greased. If you ran a fleet of trucks this would be a Saturday morning job for the apprentice to go round with the trusty grease gun and check everything has plenty grease. Now there is very little need to have a grease gun in your tool box. Most modern trucks are Maintenance free.
However Maintenance free doesn’t mean you don’t need to, or shouldn’t, check over the vehicle thoroughly.
Obviously I am going to focus on Propshafts for this blog.
Here are three types of maintenance examples:
This is where the manufacturer says there is a life span for a product so say a DAF universal joint has a life span of 200,000. Just before the 200,000 mile mark the universal joint would be changed during inspection. This is Preventive Maintenance.
Because the vehicle is checked regularly you might be able to see slight wear start occurring or maybe a seal starting to crack on the Universal Joint. You know this is going to fail soon so you change it. This is predictive maintenance.
The driver or operator ignores the life span and ignores the signs of it wearing and the universal joint starts ratting and then fails (while on the M6 during rush Hour).
The part is then replaced. This is called corrective maintenance.
These three maintenance examples have quite a few Pros and Cons, but the main factor is always cost.
This is where and experienced mechanics and drivers can keep costs down.
They should be able to recognise the signs that could lead to vehicle downtime.
If the vehicle starts vibrating then the driver should notify the mechanic straight away so the problem can be assessed.
The worst kind of maintenance is Corrective Maintenance. This always leads to higher costs involved such as recovery, added component failure and truck downtime.
It might seem false economy to change a part that still seems to be ok but to keep everything moving it is sometimes the case.
For those who have greaseable universal joints and other parts the recommended intervals for lubrication are 30,000 miles for long distance and 15,000 miles for mixed road use.