This story appears in the March 13 print edition of Equipment & Maintenance Update, a supplement to Transport Topics.

Regular tractor and trailer washes are helping fleets stave off problems during roadside inspections, extend equipment life and improve public perception. In addition, new government regulations — particularly for food safety — are leading to an uptick in wash intervals and documentation.

Kleen Trans

A wash probably deters Department of Transportation roadside inspections and helps in the removal of grime or debris that could advance the degrading of equipment and wear and tear of parts, “but the biggest thing is we want customers and the general public to know we take care of our equipment and we’re going to take care of their business,” said Amos Rogan, productivity and efficiency leader for less-than-truckload operations at Averitt Express Inc., which is based in Cookeville, Tennessee.

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Averitt Express, which ranks No. 31 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest U.S. and Canadian for-hire carriers, has truck washes at six of its major shop locations and pressure washers at other locations.

“If you have a wash bay on-site and you have a dirty truck, you have no reason not to wash it,” he said.

Tim Ryan, president of Kankakee Tank Wash, in Kankakee, Illinois, said roadside inspectors are looking for oil leaks, which can lead to violations under the federal Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. “Because of DOT inspections, we see more trucks getting their engines cleaned,” he said. “If they have a clean engine, that is a good sign the truck is maintained and no oil leaks.”

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By Mindy Long
Contributing Writer

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