Do you spend much time doing preventative maintenance on your food truck? If not, why?
Your food truck is how you are able to deliver your fantastic menu to your customers. If it won’t start or is stuck at the auto repair shop, your mobile food business is closed until you can get it back on the road. In this article we’ve compiled 50 tips full of advice, surprising tricks, and vehicle care tips to prolong the life of your kitchen on wheels!
Drive with care every day
Drive with care every day and your food truck will reward you with longer intervals without repair.
- Do not race your engine during start-up. This is a quick way to add years of wear to your engine, especially if it’s cold outside.
- Accelerate slowly when you begin your drive. The most wear to the engine and drive train occurs in the first ten to twenty minutes of operation.
- Warming the engine by letting it idle in the commissary parking lot is not a smart idea. The engine doesn’t operate at its peak temperature, resulting in incomplete fuel combustion, soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and ultimately damaged components.
- Put less strain on your engine and automatic transmission by shifting to neutral at red lights. Otherwise, the engine is still working to push the truck even while it’s stopped.
- Avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. Such driving behavior will result in more frequent repairs.
- Extend the life of your tires with careful driving. Observe posted speed limits. Avoid fast starts, stops, and turns. Avoid potholes and objects on the road. Don’t run over curbs or hit the tire against the curb when parking.
- When turning your steering wheel, don’t hold it in an extreme right or left position for more than a few seconds. Doing so can damage the power-steering pump.
- Consolidate your short driving trips. Most of the wear and tear — as well as the pollution your food truck generates — takes place in the first few minutes of driving.
Buy gas at reputable service stations
Ask whether the gas you buy is filtered at the pump and if the station has a policy about changing the pump filters regularly. If you get a song and dance, find another gas station. Some stations don’t have pump filters, making you more vulnerable to dirty gasoline. Other stations may not mix alcohol and fuel properly — or worse, water down their product. Find a station you trust and stick to it.
Don’t fill up if you see the tanker
If you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks at your local gas station, come back another day or go to a different station. As the station’s underground tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment. Sediment in your gas can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors, causing poor performance and possibly necessitating repairs.
Lighten up your key chain
Does your food truck key share a chain with a dozen or more other keys? That’s a pretty heavy load hanging off the car key when it’s in the ignition. The weight, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and eventually lead to ignition switch failure. To add years of service to your ignition switch, purchase a lightweight key chain that allows you to separate your ignition key from the others. Drive with only the ignition key in your ignition. If your ignition key “sticks” when you try to turn on the truck, it’s a warning that your ignition switch is about to fail. Replace it before you get stranded.
Keep an auto log
Keep a pad and pencil in the glove compartment and use them to record your gas fill-ups and mileage. If you notice that your gas mileage worsens, mention it to your service man. It may be an early warning sign that something is wrong with your truck.
Preserve your truck during long-term storage
If you are not going to use your truck for more than a month, store it properly to prevent unnecessary damage and repairs upon your return.
- Fill the gas tank to help prevent condensation from accumulating in the gas tank. Add a fuel stabilizer and drive the car around a bit to distribute the additive to engine parts.
- Place a vapor barrier on your garage floor. A 4-mil polyethylene drop cloth will do.
- Disengage the parking brake to help avoid brake corrosion.
- Put the truck on jack stands to take the weight of the vehicle off the wheels and tires.
- Disconnect and remove the battery to keep it from draining. Place the battery on a trickletype charger. Or periodically drain the battery, using a small light bulb, and then recharge it with a low-volt charger.
- Plug the tailpipe with a rag to prevent moist air from infiltrating into it.