Engine maintenance considerations for food trucks
Photo courtesy of iStock.
Most food truck owners realize preventive maintenance will extend the life of a vehicle and reduce the amount of repairs needed. Preventive engine maintenance is especially important since the engine is the most complex and expensive part of a motor vehicle.
Food Truck Operator recently posed a series of questions about engine maintenance to Dan Garant, fleet service support supervisor at Ford Motor Company. Following are his answers:
Q: Do food trucks have unique engine wear characteristics?
A: Food trucks should not experience any unique engine wear characteristics unless the vehicle is used as a stationary power supply while operating the food service portion of the truck.
Q: What should owners do to maintain peak engine performance?
A: Owners should follow the manufacturer recommended maintenance intervals. Ford relies on extensive engineering and testing to determine the most appropriate mileage for replacement of oils and fluids needed to protect the vehicle at the lowest overall cost of ownership to the customer. Truck owners should also be sure to always use fluids that meet manufacturer recommended specifications. Ford takes three to four years to validate the performance and compatibility of a particular fluid, at a cost of $30 million. Ford recommends Motorcraft branded fluids.
Q: What should food truck owners avoid with regard to their engine care?
A: Owners should avoid excessive idling of their engine. Using a stand-alone generator is the best practice for powering lights, auxiliary air conditioning and other things needed to operate the food service portion of the vehicle.
Q: Are oil change intervals different for food trucks?
A: They only differ if the truck is idled extensively. Ford then recommends an oil change based on hours of operation. Depending on the specific vehicle, this may require the addition of an hour meter to the truck. Ford recommends an oil change every 200 engine hours.
Q: Would extended service programs be helpful?
A: A maintenance plan reduces variability by covering a variety of scheduled maintenance services. When you purchase a maintenance plan, you are locking in the cost of future maintenance …at today's prices.
Q: Where can owner/operators find the needed maintenance schedule?
A: All scheduled maintenance recommendations are included in the owner manual provided with the vehicle. They are also available via the Internet. This Ford website site, www.FordOwner.com, for instance, also allows truck owners to schedule service with a local Ford dealer, find service related discounts and coupons, and learn more about their vehicle.
Q: Does the transmission require specific/unique maintenance?
A: No. There are no unique transmission maintenance requirements for food trucks. Users should refer to their owner manual for the specific recommendation for their vehicle.
Elliot Maras is the editor of KioskMarketplace.com and FoodTruckOperator.com.