Clean up your act!

Clean up your act!

In these tough economic times, it pays to keep your trucks clean and in the same condition as when you purchased them.

I have no doubt in my mind, after auditing hundreds of trucks over the last few years, that keeping a truck clean and in a new condition reduces the lifetime costs of owning and operating the vehicle.

This fact has been reinforced by a number of wise operators who, during interviews with me, have stressed this point and told me that it is one of the secrets of operating a successful transport operation and minimising total vehicle operating costs. When questioned about the additional costs involved in keeping a truck clean, all these wise operators have told me that the benefits totally outweigh the extra costs.

The truck driver is the key person who can positively reduce the operating costs. He can reduce the fuel consumption, maintenance and tyre costs by driving the vehicle with care and in a safe manner.

A clean vehicle has a positive psychological effect on the driver. When the vehicle is clean he or she drives it with extra care and pride. The driver’s vision is also vastly improved when the windscreen is clean and the window washers work properly, adding to vehicle safety and a reduction in the risk of being involved in an accident.

Reducing the risk of your vehicle being involved in an accident is a major benefit when you consider that the standing costs for a standing truck tractor and set of interlink trailers is more than R3 000 a day. This amount does not include the additional cost involved in hiring another vehicle and the risk of losing your contract due to upset customers …

When a truck is kept in a clean condition it is much easier for the driver and the technician to spot a tell-tale sign of a pending fault that, if not seen during the pre-trip inspection, could lead to an expensive roadside vehicle breakdown.

The servicing technician and/or the certificate of fitness inspector who is presented with a clean, well maintained vehicle to service or inspect adopts a far more positive attitude, resulting in a better job being done.

The trade-in value of the vehicle is greatly enhanced if it has been kept in a pristine condition, adding to the reduction of the operating costs over its lifespan.

Company image is also vastly affected by the cleanliness of the vehicle. Many customers and potential customers judge the professionalism of your company by the appearance of your vehicle.

Lastly, an advantage for long-distance trucks that travel on set routes is that road traffic police get to know your vehicles and are inclined to only stop the dirty trucks for a road-side inspection – saving you time and money.


One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for 49 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel (now UD Trucks), 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.

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