TMC releases its updated manual of recommended practices

The Recommended Practices Manual produced by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of American Trucking Associations (ATA) has long been recognized as being one of the trucking industry’s best resources for commercial vehicle maintenance, testing and specification information, plus maintenance shop management knowledge.

The updated manual, Recommended Practices Manual 2014-2015, is now available in print or electronic media in either single-user or multi-user versions.

The manual features both TMC’s Recommended Maintenance Practices Manual and Recommended Engineering Practices Manual. Together, the two-volume set features more than 3,100 pages of technical information that represents the consensus and collective wisdom of TMC members.

TMC is a technical council of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. TMC is the only industry association that is focused solely on truck technology and maintenance. Members include a broad collection of experienced fleets, equipment suppliers and service providers.

ATA is a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils.



A TMC recommended practice (RP) is a specification or practice that assists equipment users, vehicle/component manufacturers and other industry suppliers in the purchase, design, maintenance and performance of commercial vehicle equipment. The adoption of an RP is voluntary.

Recommended Maintenance Practices are related to the maintenance of equipment and include informational documents that cover technical aspects of maintenance, equipment and supporting technologies. Recommended Engineering Practices are focused on the design, specification, construction and performance of commercial vehicle equipment.

The updated two-volume set includes more than 40 new, revised or reissued RPs adopted by TMC as of May 2014. Here are some of them.



RP 135, Multi-Pin Connector Repairs.

Guide for obtaining the proper multi-pin connector repair products and services for today’s wiring systems. It defines what products and services fleets should expect to receive from connector suppliers.


RP 140A, Understanding Key-Off Parasitic Loads.

Guidelines for defining, measuring and managing key-off parasitic loads on Class 7 and 8 commercial vehicles.


RP 172, Recommended Cleaning and Maintenance of Headlamps for Commercial Vehicles.

Procedures for cleaning, maintaining and restoring headlamp systems used on commercial vehicles. Defines expected performance requirements and augments, with specific requirements, the standards depicted in the recommended practices by SAE and TMC covering the general maintenance of forward-lighting coating systems.


RP 214D, Tire/Wheel End Balance and Runout.

Suggestions that can help reduce the vibration, irregular tread wear and resulting maintenance costs and driver discomfort that accompany serious out-of-balance or out-of-round tire/wheel end assemblies.


RP 230B, Tire Test Procedures for Tread Wear, Serviceability and Fuel Economy.

Provides guidelines on tire testing procedures.


RP 240A, Steel Wheel and Rim Refinishing Guidelines.

Provides guidelines and inspection criteria for steel wheel and rim refinishing and for evaluating refinishing suppliers. It describes various types and processes of steel wheel and rim refinishing systems used today for commercial vehicle applications.


RP 355A, Maintenance and Inspection Guidelines for OEM-Installed Exhaust Particulate Filters for Diesel-Powered Vehicles.

Describes the various types of original equipment diesel particulate filter (DPF) technology used on heavy duty diesel-powered vehicles. Offers general recommendations and information on DPF function, performance, diagnostics, maintenance, handling and cleaning.


RP 443, In-Cab Cleaning and Deodorizing Guidelines.

Instruction for the in-cab cleaning and deodorizing of commercial vehicles, along with information on the benefits of establishing a proper commercial vehicle interior cleaning program.


RP 803A, Pre-Service Vehicle Inspection.

Provides a form which contains most of the standard items to be inspected prior to a truck or tractor being put into service. Enables user to have a basic format to which they can add high-frequency repair items and special equipment needs.


RP 806A, Service Vendor Performance Evaluation.

Guide for rating the quality of service provided by outside service vendors and assist fleets in making objective decisions when choosing among competing vendors.


RP 1111B, Relationships between Truck Components and Fuel Economy.

Provides a basic awareness of the relationships between truck components and fuel economy, along with an understanding of how other variables also affect fuel consumption.


RP 1429, Understanding Automatic Transmission Fluid Diversity.

Describes differences among automatic transmission fluids (ATFs) currently used in Class 2 through 6 vehicles. Helps fleets make informed decisions when selecting ATF and describes factors that have led to the industry’s current ATF diversity.


RP 1606A, Standard Repair Time Implementation Guidelines.

Leads third-party maintenance service providers through the process of selecting and implementing a standard repair time (SRT) guide for providing estimates on applicable repairs.



RP 124A, Heavy Duty Headlamp Design Specifications.

Specifications for heavy duty headlamps for use both by lamp users and lamp manufacturers.


RP 160, Wiring and Circuit Protection Guidelines for 12-Volt DC to 120-Volt AC In-Cab Inverter Systems.

Wiring and circuit protection guidelines for in- cab inverter systems commonly used on tractors.


RP 171, High-Performance Coatings for Forward Lighting on Commercial Trucks.

Guidelines for specifying forward lighting coating systems for plastic headlamps that not only meet applicable federal requirements but also provide the basis for more robust coating performance in on-highway applications.


RP 220D, Tire Tread Design Selection.

Guidance for selecting the proper tread design for heavy truck tires for an intended application to maximize tire service life and minimize tire cost per mile.


RP 223D, Tire Selection Process.

Outlines the major items for consideration and provides a step-by-step thought process for selecting the best type of tire for the application.


RP 239A, Commercial Vehicle Tire Inflation and/or Monitoring Systems Guidelines.

Helps fleets select tire inflation and monitoring systems for commercial truck tires. Covers current capabilities and basic operation of tire inflation and pressure monitoring systems.


RP 312B, Qualifying Questions for Evaluating Aftermarket Diesel Fuel Additive Packages.

Provides a list of questions fleet maintenance managers should keep in mind when considering the use of diesel fuel additives to assist them in making intelligent choices.


RP 325, Radiator Integrity for On-Highway Trucks.

Establishes time and mileage parameters, as well as service and maintenance characteristics, for radiators in medium and heavy duty trucks used in on-highway service. Can serve as a guideline for OEM truck assembly and radiator manufacturers when designing cooling products for specific applications and help the end-user when purchasing new vehicles.


RP 441, Electrified A/C System Performance Specifications, Requirements and Testing Criteria for Hybrid/Electric, All-Electric and Conventional Trucks.

Helps equipment users select an electrified air conditioning (A/C) system that best suits fleet operational needs by means of a standardized test used to compare factory-installed systems.


RP 704C, Heavy Duty Lighting Systems for Trailers.

Helps equipment purchasers specify a safe and effective heavy duty trailer lighting system that is low-maintenance, durable and corrosion-free for a minimum service life of 12 years.



All TMC members receive a free copy of the single-user version of the Recommended Practices Manual 2014-2015 CD-ROM as a member benefit. Members also have access to the manual online through the TMC’s collaborative work and social networking platform – TMC Connect (

Others may purchase the single-user version (Item #T0012CS; member $249; non-member $329) or the multi-user version for use on multiple workstations (Item #T0012CE; member $2,500; non-member $3,333) by calling ATA Business Solutions at 866-821-3468 or 703-838-1700.

A print version of the manual (Item #T0012; member $249; non-member $329) is also available for purchase.