Vehicles

Bumper-to-Bumper Maintenance Guide

Posted on August 1, 2002

Page 1 of 4

Maintenance is something that all operators need to focus on. Not only can it cost you a lot for major repairs, but also loss of revenue due to the vehicle's down time. If operators can spend a little time each week and every month on preventative maintenance, they will be saving themselves both money and headaches in the long run.

One important factor that all operators should do is to refer to their vehicle's owner's manual and adhere to its suggested maintenance schedule. The manual is a compilation of all of the engineering that went into the making of the vehicle. You may want to alter it slightly due to the usage of your vehicle, but you should definitely refer to it when establishing a preventative maintenance program.

Operators also should include some kind of preventative maintenance program into their chauffeur training. After all, the chauffeurs are the ones who are going to be driving the vehicles, and they should be able to know if something is wrong. They should also be shown what to check to ensure that their vehicle continues to be commercially acceptable. That means that everything is operational, all the trim pieces are secure and that the vehicle is presentable.

This guide is a compilation of tips and best practices that can help you, as an operator, keep your vehicles running. You may already know some of these or you may have forgotten some. Either way, reinforcing your knowledge on maintenance and upkeep is something that will help keep your vehicles shining and ahead of your competition.

For example, one important thing that a chauffeur can do to help maintain the life of the vehicle is to not store anything behind the driver's seat. Remember, that is where the wiring is for the rear of the vehicle and there is not a lot of extra room. Operators need to look at providing chauffeurs with some type of case to hold their necessities. The less you have behind the driver's seat, the fewer problems you will have with your vehicle's electrical system.

So, use this guide as you see fit to implement a maintenance program, and feel free to refer back to it.

THE FRONT

From brush plates to brakes, here is a look at some of the items that you need to maintain from the bumper to the driver's compartment.

THE MIDDLE

Arguably one of the most important parts of the vehicle. This section of the guide covers everything inside the passenger compartment as well as outside.

THE BACK

Last but not least, a look at what operators need to look out for and repair at the rear of the vehicle, on top and underneath.

THE FRONT

Chrome Panels

In today's market, according to Bud Thomas of Infinite Innovations, all of the stainless steel stick-on chrome trim panels or rocker panels are placed on with double sided tape. Operators need to inspect the panels themselves. Pull the edges back and check around the edges to see if the adhesive on the stainless chrome is still intact with the body panel. "Check to see if there is silicone around the edges," Thomas says. "That's a trick that some repair shops use to keep it on for the time being. It's repairable, but that's probably a cue that you will have this problem again down the road."

Brush Plating

The experts at Brush Plating Specialists, makers of gold trim accessories and gold-plated emblems, recommend keeping these accessories clean with a simple process. "Use 'Glass Wax' once a month," says Jane Vitti, owner of Brush Plating Specialists. "Use a wet, soft cloth or cotton for polishing, but don't polish it too much - that can cause wear and tear. It's not a real hard material." Dirt and road salts contribute to deterioriation, so it's important to keep the gold clean. "Wash it with a mild detergent, and wipe with cotton or a soft cloth, like a diaper," Vitti says. "Don't use power buffers or polishing equipment, don't use abrasive polishes or car wax, and don't expose the gold to sand or dust storms."

Cables

Regularly inspect your booster cables to make sure they're free of nicks and scrapes. "Unless you're a wrecker company, you're not going to be using them every day," says Pat Wiber, national sales manager for Superior Signals Inc., adding that the cables should be kept in a safe and moisture-free environment in the vehicle. "Cables should consist of a 4-foot harness that connects to the battery and also has a quick disconnect that can either exit the grille or bumper. "This way, you don't have to lift the hood every time you need to jumpstart a vehicle," Wiber says.

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