Maintenance Outlook Report

Insights into what the near future may hold for vehicle maintenance

This enables the fleet to finally get its arms around its tire problems before the vehicles get on the road and drivers are delayed.

Combining TPMS with GPS provides the fleet with vehicle tracking too. If a unit develops a tire problem on the road, you can see where it is, where it’s been and get directions for the nearest service provider or other point of interest.

Another big feature is that for the first time ever, TPMS 2.0 systems can provide you with the exact miles tires run and the number they run overheated, as well as underinflated. This helps you determine whether a tire is a good candidate for retreading.

It also enables you to receive mileage-based reminders for checking wheel nut torque after a tire/wheel assembly has been changed to prevent wheel-offs.

Because TPMS 2.0 systems are driven by software, it’s easy for fleets to customize their alert thresholds and report parameters, schedule automatic delivery of reports and demand available data whenever they want, over the Internet.

By combining TPMS 2.0 systems with automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS), the fleet can build a very robust tire maintenance and monitoring solution. TPMS 2.0 will advise the wheel position(s) requiring air and advise fleet personnel when a problem occurs, which are the two major weaknesses currently found in ATIS.

Tire manufacturers have said for years that the next big development in commercial truck tires is going to be the “smart tire.” Well, the waiting is over. It’s here today.

And you can be certain these tire systems will only grow smarter as technology continues to evolve.

Future Truck Committee

By Robert Braswell, Technical Director, Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

TMC, North America’s premier technical society for truck equipment technology and maintenance professional, works to improve transport equipment, its maintenance and maintenance management. It is a technical council within the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest national trade association for the trucking industry.

One of the charges of TMC’s Future Truck Committee is to determine truck users’ expectations of equipment and vehicle maintenance. The group was formed a number of years ago with the purpose of bringing the unified voice of the equipment user to vehicle manufacturers to influence future truck design, and to improve, among other things, reliability, maintainability and serviceability.

Early on, the Committee decided it needed to come up with standardized definitions for certain vehicle performance aspects, including “maintainability” and “serviceability,” as these have a profound impact on operation and maintenance costs. Because such terms can mean different things to different people, there is the need to specify these qualities so equipment designers can respond to customer needs appropriately.


The Future Truck Committee defined maintainability as: “a characteristic of design and installation, expressed as the probability that an item will be retained in, or restored to, a specified condition within a given time, when the maintenance is performed in accordance with prescribed procedures and resources.”

More simply put, maintainability is a measure of the required repair and maintenance effort needed to ensure safe and reliable operation, including all labor hours and parts cost.

By way of example, a trailer that would require periodic servicing every 15,000 miles, as well as some additional unscheduled servicing, would be a trailer with poor maintainability. Conversely, a trailer which only required periodic servicing every 500,000 miles and no unscheduled service would be rated as a trailer with excellent maintainability.


Serviceability was defined by the Future Truck Committee as: “a measure of the relative level of time and effort required to accomplish acceptable maintenance or specific repair activities.”

For example, an air brake system in a line-haul semitrailer using an extended life brake application valve located on a mounting plate at the front of the suspension subframe, accessible to a technician sitting under the trailer floor for repair or replacement, would have excellent serviceability.

We Recommend