Buying a bucket truck is a serious investment, and it only makes sense that you take care of that investment with preventative maintenance - and that starts from the second the truck arrives. Maintaining your boom truck is the best step you can take to ensure that it delivers a lifetime of service, and below we’ve detailed the maintenance schedule you can roughly expect over the course of your truck’s life.
While each bucket truck’s maintenance schedule will differ depending on age and usage, as well as manufacturer, the following are basic recommended intervals that you may adjust to suit your truck.
Engine Oil: 250 hours
Automatic Transmission: 500 hours
Standard Transmission: 1,000 hours
Rear Differentials: 600 hours
Power Steering: 1,000 hours
Antifreeze: 1,000 hours
Hydraulic Oil: 1,000 hours
Regardless if you have boom truck or forestry truck, keeping your truck in tip-top shape is the key to maximizing profit. Even if it might seem like you save money by putting off maintenance for another day, the truth is we’ll pay for it one way or another, and usually the later it is, the more we pay. Either we pay for maintenance, oil changes, tire rotations, timing belts, and brakes up front, or we pay extra to fix things when they break.
Proper maintenance ranges from the simple - checking tire pressure and fluid levels, regularly washing our truck to prevent grime and corrosion from building up - to the more complex - checking belts, replacing pumps, replacing exhaust systems, and more. Whether simple or complex, it’s important to address issues right away, or you could quickly see a routine maintenance item turn into a disaster emergency repair.
For example. Let’s say that as you do your routine once-over, you discover that the seal on your hydraulic pump has developed a leak. Replacing the seal itself is a simple job, but if you put it off for fear of paying parts and labor, the pump may fail at a time when you need it most, which puts you in a difficult spot. Now you’re stuck paying for a new pump and labor to install it, instead of the seal alone. This logic applies to all parts of your boom truck, as most parts function in cooperation with others, so when one fails, it’s only a matter of time till another follows suit.
Check the engine, transmission, rear differential, power steering, and wheel seals for lubricant or coolant leaks.
Check the condition of all belts, hoses, lines, (including such items as engine belts, the fuel crossover lines, radiator hoses, water lines, air lines, power steering lines, automatic transmission lines, etc).
Check the power steering for excessive play.
Check your air pressure and make sure your truck is building up air fast enough and to the proper level.
Check tread and wear condition of all tires and check for too much or too little pressure.
Check wheels and rims for any damage or cracks.
Check the brake shoes and drums for excessive wear or cracks.
Check your front axle and rear suspension for bad or cracked springs and or worn bushing and pins.
Drain your air tanks daily. Check for excessive moisture.
Pay close attention to any frayed wiring and check battery connections.
Make sure all lights are operational.
Make sure your city and air horns are working.
Wipers must be working and always check your washer fluid.
Check your windshield and mirrors for visibility and cracks or chips.
Make sure you have a fire extinguisher and flares in the vehicle.
The good news is that in addition to giving your truck’s parts a routine once-over, there are things you can do directly to extend its life. For example, did you know that you can add oil coolers to your boom truck’s hydraulic system, automatic transmission, and steering system? Believe it or not, these simple add-ons can double or even triple the life expectancy of some of your components.
Altec’s 12-month preventive maintenance inspection is a complete factory-specified service performed by one of Altec’s certified maintenance technicians. This inspection covers every point on the unit including filters, lubrication and critical fastener torque procedures, as well as a visual inspection for cracks and general wear and tear. The technician will also perform an operational calibration testing and adjustment to check for unit ease of operation and correct speed.
You also have lots of options to improve your truck’s usefulness with accessories and additional equipment. While these might not directly extend your truck’s service life, they will make your life easier.
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