emergency services info on the hub911
Going through my old journals the other day, from when I was a driver, I found a page-long gripe about fleet maintenance.  Hopefully I'm not going to alienate too many shop managers out there, but it struck me funny to read it, so I'm going to include some of it here:

"Every day I fill out a pre-trip checklist, on which I list problems or repairs needed, like, 'RDS brake locks at crucial moments--please install drag chute.'  My boss looks at the list every day and tosses it, sometimes saying to me, 'You don't have to write the same thing every day.  Just write a problem down once, and it'll get taken care of eventually.'  Right.  And monkeys might (you know what).  Now I just write, 'Please refer to 3-17, 3-21, 3-22, 3-23, 3-25, 3-30, and 4-1 lists for previously listed problems.'  Each one of those lists has at least one new repair needed, including the locking brake and other insignificant trifles like inexplicable loss of power and random pulling to the left or right while braking and the SERVICE ENGINE SOON light coming on and coolant and oil and power steering fluid leaks."  I think I was irritated when I wrote that.

I never engaged in truck repairs unless I had to.  The companies I worked for usually didn't want the drivers doing too much, because most of us knew only enough to break something worse.  I remember once when my boss hired a "Security Officer" to spy on the employees, and it was someone I knew, who immediately blew his cover by frightening me near to death on a late spooky night because he thought it would be funny.  Afterwards he thought the Ford Diesel I was driving "didn't sound right," so he started messing with the fuel/water mixture control or some such thing, and then it REALLY didn't sound right.  I had to explain to my boss that I let the yo-yo he hired to spy on us do an in-lot repair, which didn't go over well.  For either of us.

After I got into management, I became a little more self-sufficient, once even changing a broken PTO belt myself on a weekend.  There are times when the back-up truck is so frightening that you'll go to great lengths to get your regular truck back on the road.  Another time I got a screw in a front tire of my truck, and I was able to slow down the leak by screwing it in all the way.  I returned to the lot and was bemoaning the development to our graveyard-shift dispatcher, who also happened to be a supreme computer geek, designing websites, creating a lien package program out of market software, and developing a complete DOS-based dispatching/accounting/auction software program for our company (better than any market program I've seen since).  He said, "I can show you how to plug the tire."  Trust me, this seemed suspicious.  The guy had an extra long fingernail on each pinky, so you wouldn't think he could plug a tire.  Turns out he had watched one of the graveyard-shift drivers do it a few times, so we found the fixins in the mechanic's cage and he talked me through it.  Employees who pay attention are priceless.

The best tow truck mechanics, in my experience, are the ones who get emotional and start throwing heavy sharp things when things aren't going their way, and when you get your truck back from them, you get a 3-part seminar on where to look for weld cracks on your dollie frames and crossrails.  Admirable to try to teach preventive maintenance to the commission drivers, who are then going to run the equipment into the ground and whine non-stop while the truck is down.

Takes all types.  Makes life richer.

Have a safe and profitable week.

Nick Kemper

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