Maintenance Outlook Report

Insights into what the near future may hold for vehicle maintenance


  • Standardized use of electrical distribution systems which support long-life LEDs.
  • Low cost trailer aerodynamics and cube utilization without sacrificing one at the expense of the other.
  • Improved air and electrical coupling connections, especially on longer combination vehicles.
  • Continued development of interior components which extend the damage protection envelope while reducing dependence on forest related products.
  • Increased use of both recycled and recyclable material throughout the trailer.
  • Odometer sensing capability integrated into the trailer ABS electronic control unit with visual or electronic stored data retrieval capability.
  • Advanced security systems which prevent unauthorized entry into trailers.
  • Increased use of durable and environmentally safe paints and finishes.
  • Reduced electrolysis and increased rust protection.

An OEM Perspective

By Brad Williamson, Director, Engine and Components Marketing, Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America is the leading medium and heavy duty truck manufacturer in North America. It produces and markets Class 4-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturer. www.daimler-trucksnorthamerica.com.

From a vehicle manufacturer’s standpoint, we foresee a variety of developments with regard to vehicle maintenance.

For one thing, we anticipate longer maintenance intervals, including oils changes at 50,000 miles, and the bundling of other preventative maintenance items into the same or longer intervals. The intent is to have fewer maintenance intervals and less downtime for the truck operator, which helps lower total cost of ownership.

Further improvement of emission reductions and fuel economy will also drive longer maintenance intervals.

For example, cooler combustion creates less nitrogen dioxide, but also doesn’t burn up the oil and coolant as fast. High pressure fuel systems require more advanced filtration and burn more completely, extending fuel filter and diesel particulate filter life.

Some fleets and engine manufacturers are looking at the costs and benefits of switching to fully synthetic oils, which might also result in longer oil change intervals, especially in on-highway applications.

SMARTER VEHICLES

Trucks will continue to grow “smarter” as advances in telematics and technology continue. Greater accessibility of real-time onboard vehicle data will impact fleet maintenance practices. So will enhanced remote diagnostics capabilities.

Daimler Trucks North America’s Virtual Technician, by way of example, is a real-time remote telematics diagnostics system. The system formulates insights based on engine diagnostic codes from sensors and components that are then packaged and analyzed.

Based on these insights, the program initiates a series of reporting and remedial actions to reduce unscheduled downtime by remotely diagnosing and determining the failure and repair procedure required. This provides the shops with advance knowledge of the parts required and service technician skill needed in advance of the vehicle’s arrival.

ELECTRONIC INTELLIGENCE

We’ll also see more electronic intelligence needed for certain types of maintenance and troubleshooting. This may impact technicians who have not worked with as many “electrical brains” on the vehicle in the past.

The more electrical brains on the truck, the more electronic troubleshooting is required.

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