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Heavy-Duty Tech: Find Electrical System Failures Before They Happen

Ensuring that the electrical system preventative maintenance practices are up to date with today’s technology could mean the difference between trucks rolling productively to their destination or being sidelined on the road due to a CSA inspection.

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Ensuring that the electrical system preventative maintenance practices are up to date with today’s technology could mean the difference between trucks rolling productively to their destination or being sidelined on the road due to a CSA inspection. Lighting, in particular, is often cited as one of the most common reasons that CSA inspections take place, as lights are one of the most visible components on the truck.

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When performing electrical system preventative maintenance checks, you should be checking trailers for possible failures, no matter the age of the trailer; especially depending on the elements they’re encountering. 

Here are four tips to help you prevent system failures before they happen.

1. Corrosion prevention should start on day one

New trailers can still have issues, so the trailer and its electrical system should always be inspected upon delivery, especially in high-moisture and impact-prone areas.

Any vulnerable areas of the system should be protected with coverings like boots, plastic looms, moldings or tubing. Installing this extra protection will not only help resist moisture and the effects of ice accumulation, but will reduce potential damage from gravel and road debris.

Additionally, make sure everyone on the team knows how to spot corrosion.

2. Work with drivers to perform  pre-trip inspections

Fleets shouldn’t rely on an informal word-of-mouth approach or a driver’s experience level to receive a proper assessment; techs should coach drivers on the process. Training helps the drivers understand they have a critical role in keeping CSA scores under control. Proper training will also mean better overall safety, because the driver will also know that the tecj has made the right decisions on electrical and lighting components.

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3. Stick to a planned maintenance schedule to stop water

The common modular connectors in a trailer’s electrical systems are designed with reservoirs that hold water-resistant dielectric grease. As time passes, the silicone oils in the grease evaporate and dry out, enabling moisture to seep into the system. Regular inspections and new grease are just part of a sound PM.

4. Check the Head lights

There is often a debate between the use of LED and incandescent lamps. With the LED technology available today, one could argue it’s time to convert to LED lamps. Incandescent lamps burn out, they’re fragile, and they have filaments, to name a few drawbacks. Plus, failing incandescent lamps cost fleets hundreds of dollars in parts and repair costs, and the potential to cause traffic violations that lead to CSA fines and vehicle downtime. 

On the other hand, LED lights are glaringly bright and often distracting to drivers, causing many drivers and fleets to argue against the switch. With that in mind make sure you are diligently checking incandescent lamps when they come to the garage. It’s a sneaky, and common, failure.

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