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Maintenance Archive

Maintenance article August 2024

Extending the Life of Hydraulic Hoses

Hydraulic oil, when confined within the hydraulic system and properly maintained, is nonconductive. However, failure of a hose creates numerous hazards that have the potential to harm personnel and damage equipment. Personnel may suffer burns from contact with hot oil. If the hydraulic line failure creates a mist of oil, it can easily be ignited […]

Maintaining Productivity Amid the Challenge of Extended Lead Times

| Grace Suizo |
Fleet managers continue to see some of the longest lead times in decades, with supply and delivery disruptions significantly hampering the industry. Across the board, every size of truck and car and every type of rolling asset has been impacted, according to Matt Gilliland, director of operations and business support for Nebraska Public Power District […]

What to Consider When Coordinating OEM Training Opportunities for Your Shop Technicians

| Shelley Mika |
Utility vehicles continually evolve to better meet fleet needs. While these advancements may make life easier for the operator or fleet manager, oftentimes they result in greater complexity for technicians. For this reason, OEMs offer training programs that help in-house shop technicians stay up to date on the latest models. Although OEMs host trainings, lining […]
Maintenance Suizo Dec 23 UFP

OEM vs. Aftermarket Parts: What’s Best for Your Operation?

| Grace Suizo |
When it comes to purchasing parts, how do fleet professionals decide whether to take the OEM route or explore aftermarket options? UFP recently spoke with Alan Cunningham, superintendent of fleet maintenance for Ameren Illinois, and James Kuha, transportation operations supervisor for Central Hudson Gas & Electric, to gain some insight on how they make these […]
Tech at Work Credit PacLease

How to Best Deliver In-House Technician Training

| David Cullen |
Top-notch technicians who are kept up to date on effective maintenance practices and compliance with safety and environmental requirements are the beating heart of any successful truck fleet. That’s even more so with electric utilities, which operate an array of specialized equipment. Finding the best techs to do the best work begins with a fleet’s […]
service level agreement

Establishing and Managing Service-Level Agreements

Service-level agreements (SLAs) are a powerful tool in managing vendor performance for outsourced fleet maintenance. An SLA is a contract that describes expectations for service quality. It may include, for example, guaranteed turnaround time for preventive vehicle maintenance. The fleet manager can bank on an oil change being completed in 72 hours and plan the […]
Electric vehicle

Retooling Your Shops for EVs

| Grace Suizo |
Electric vehicles have been rolling out in more and more utilities as fleets continuously strive to green up their operations. But making the transition from combustion to electric involves more than just getting operators on board. Among other things, it also means making sure shops and technicians are well-equipped to properly service these units. According […]
Image courtesy of Pac Lease

The State of Fleet Maintenance in 2023

| David Cullen |
The outlook for fleet maintenance costs and shop operations in 2023 is again influenced by the state of the economy and the supply chain, as well as by the ongoing nationwide tech shortage. To help pinpoint the leading challenges the year ahead poses to utility fleet managers, UFP spoke with Chris Foster, manager of fleet […]

Top Trends in Utility Fleet Maintenance

| Grace Suizo |
Inflation is impacting all areas of the utility fleet industry, with a profound impact on maintenance and operating expenses, according to Amanda Kazemba, senior consulting analyst, business intelligence and analytics, for Holman ( “Overall, the cost to repair a vehicle is up approximately 20% as compared to 2020, and fleet operators should expect to see […]

Best Practices for Preventive Maintenance

| David Cullen |
No matter how you slice it, preventive maintenance is about paying now or paying more later. The real driver of vehicle cost efficiency, as well as safety impacts and even fuel economy, is leveraging PM inspections to deliver the biggest bang for your buck down the road. Getting there requires applying best practices to track, […]

Optimizing Your Shop Schedule

Like many managers, utility fleet professionals face conflicting priorities in managing people and fleet services. Budgets are under fire, so keeping a close eye on labor costs is a top priority. But trucks and other vehicles must be adequately maintained and ready to go to work. It’s up to fleet managers to strike the right […]

Damage Control

| David Cullen |
Tracking collision damage limits vehicle downtime and repair costs. The larger the fleet, the more complex the repair process and the higher the cost to fix body and frame damage. No one aims to bang up a bucket truck or other fleet equipment, but it does happen. Once damage occurs and is properly reported, the […]

Smoothing the Technician Transition to EVs

| David Cullen |
Once a utility opts to add electric vehicles to its fleet, the fleet manager must determine not only which vehicles are best suited to the operation, but also how best to smooth the transition in terms of shop equipment and – most importantly – EV training for technicians. Even before EVs rolled onto the scene, […]

Stocking Critical Parts in a Supply Chain Crisis

| Sean M. Lyden |
A semiconductor shortage has crippled production in the automotive sector, forcing many utility fleets to extend the service life of their existing vehicles until new units arrive, whenever that may be. And that could be a problem. That’s because as the global economy emerges from the pandemic, the combination of increased consumer demand and constrained […]

How a Major Utility Fleet Moved to Predictive Maintenance

| Karen Scallly |
At first, Entergy’s plan was fairly simple. Chris Morrow, fleet assets superintendent for the New Orleans-based electric utility, said the company knew they wanted to move away from time-based preventive maintenance for their 6,000-unit fleet to a service program that was more usage-based. What they have since discovered is that the power of telematics and […]

PG&E: Data-Driven Shop Operations

| David Cullen |
In his role as senior director of shared services: transportation for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), Michael Glover is responsible for everything from field operations and strategic planning to purchasing, telematics and information technology systems for the largest and most diverse utility fleet in the U.S. The San Francisco-based utility provides natural gas and […]

Repair Solutions for Common Fiberglass Damage

| Jason Julius |
Maintenance of insulated booms on aerial devices and digger derricks is critical to preserving the integrity of the insulating qualities of the machines. While insulated equipment is required to be dielectrically tested each year, daily and periodic inspections of fiberglass components should be performed as directed by the manufacturer. There are two common types of […]

SoCal Edison: Taking a Hands-On Approach to Running Battery-Electric Trucks

| David Cullen |
Even for an electric utility, converting to battery-electric trucks is no flip of a switch. At Southern California Edison, changing over from diesel to electric is a step-by-step process to determine how best to reduce harmful exhaust emissions from its commercial vehicles. Rosemead, California-based SCE is steadily working toward the goals set by its parent, […]

Freightliner: How Electric Trucks Will Change Your Garage Operations

| Sean M. Lyden |
Numerous signs point toward an all-electric future in transportation. But as more plug-in electric trucks become commercially available for fleets, how will the new technology impact your garage operations? What will change with technician training, equipment and other aspects of your shop? Daimler Trucks North America plans to start production of its plug-in electric Freightliner […]

Shop Talk: Reimagining the PM as Predictive Maintenance

| Sean M. Lyden |
A thorough and consistent preventive maintenance (PM) program is a core best practice of any high-performing fleet. But the challenge is that too many fleets still base their PM schedules on OEM recommendations and not on field-specific data that takes into account higher-idle scenarios, hilly terrain, extreme climate conditions and operator behaviors – all of […]