Owner-Operator Almanac 2010

Max Kvidera | January 01, 2010


You gain an hour, so set your clocks back an hour early Sunday morning.


It’s a good time to stamp out this habit or encourage someone you love or work with to end it.


Expect heavy traffic Nov. 24-28.



Reduce your 2010 taxes by gaining deductions before Jan. 1: make charitable donations, pre-pay your January mortgage, pay for medical costs, and make any outstanding tax payments. Another strategy is to accelerate anticipated business spending into 2010, such as buying tires or an on-board generator, which reduces your 2010 taxable income.


Since Christmas falls on Saturday, many businesses will close also on the 24th.


New Year’s Day falls on Saturday, so some businesses will close today to celebrate. n


Pencil in PM work

Using manufacturers’ recommendations and know-ledge of your application, schedule these tasks at a reasonable frequency. In the long run, preventive maintenance costs less than forced maintenance.

• Review tires for wear and replacement or retreading twice each quarter. Measure tread depth and check for signs of cracking, chipping or sidewall degradation. Feel for signs of side-to-side irregular wear. Have steer, drive and trailer axles aligned and tires rotated accordingly.

• Adjust tire pressure to manufacturers’ specs, including trailer tires.

• Have your oil analyzed at every oil change for wear metals, contaminants, dirt, additive depletion and viscosity change that may be reducing efficiency. A systematic analysis program can head off costly problems, and might give you a basis for extending  your oil changes without harming your engine.

• Check fuel, air and crankcase ventilation filters for replacement at recommended intervals.

• Measure voltage at the starter’s electrical connections while a buddy cranks the engine. Replace cables that show a drop of more than one volt. Clean battery connections with a wire brush-type scrubber. Also test alternator for output voltage and amps. Inspect alternator mounts and tighten as necessary. Inspect belt tension and condition.

• Inspect battery for frayed cables, low electrolyte level and loose hold-downs and connections.

• Check all belts, hoses and lines for cracks and leaks. Don’t forget lines for air and power steering, and do a water and tensioner check as well.

• Inspect chassis – including drive shafts, slack adjusters and clutch linkage – for proper functioning and for the need for greasing. Perform at least twice as often as oil change.

• Grease your truck weekly.

• Keep tabs on recommended changes of oils for the engine, automatic or manual transmission, differentials, power steering and hydraulics. And don’t overlook checks of antifreeze strength, the need for SCAs or extender, or a complete coolant change.

• Inspect wheel end oil at 12 months/100,000 miles. Remove a sample. If you find cloudy consistency or contaminants, have the bearings reassembled or replaced. Seals should be replaced using the proper procedure, the end-play reset, and the bearing housing refilled with clean oil. Follow the same interval for wheel ends using grease or wheel ends with a unitized hub, but just check them for leaks and excessive end-play. Failed unitized hubs must be replaced.

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