50 Maintenance Tips To Keep Your Food Truck Running Great
Clean dash gauges carefully
Use a soft damp cloth to lightly wipe dust from the clear plastic lenses on your dashboard. Too much pressure will scratch them. Too many scratches can make it difficult to read your gauges under certain lighting conditions.
Preserve door and window seals
Wipe a rubber protectant (such as Armor-All) or silicone on door and window weather-stripping to keep it in good condition. Don’t use an oil based product, such as WD-40, because the oil will damage the rubber. Regular cleaning and treatment of your truck’s weather-stripping will also lessen the likelihood of your door sticking to its rubber seal in cold weather, a common cause of damage to the rubber.
Fix bad weather-stripping immediately
If your weather-stripping is letting rainwater leak into the interior of your food truck, take a look at it and decide if you can repair it or if it needs to be replaced. Small leaks can be handled with brush-on seam sealers. Secure loose sections, not otherwise damaged, with trim adhesive. Torn sections may be repaired with special caulking available at auto parts stores. You may also be able to extend the life of worn-but-intact sections by inserting foam rods, available at automotive stores, into the hollow section of the weather-stripping.
Keep leather from drying out and cracking
Leather seats are durable and don’t require a lot of maintenance. After a few years, however, the seats can become soiled. Use leather cleaner to remove dirt and stains. Then apply a leather protectant formulated for pigmented or top-coated grain leather (the leather used for most leather upholstery). Protectants will resist stains and make the upholstery easier to clean in the future.
Tape saves light covers
A cracked taillight or turn-signal cover, if left alone, may allow your light compartment to fill with water and cause some real damage. A good short-term fix is to tape over the crack. Use the red or orange tape that’s made for this purpose.
Avoid light fixture problems
When changing a bad bulb, clean dirty or corroded sockets with fine steel wool or a small wire brush. Wipe the socket clean of debris before installing the new light bulb.
Fix small windshield chips
Got a rock chip, crack, or ding in your windshield? Bring your truck to a windshield repair shop. For far less cost than replacing the windshield, they can fix chips and cracks, even quite long ones. The repairs not only keep the chips and cracks from spreading and restore structural integrity, they also improve clarity.
Fill with washer fluid only
Don’t add water to the windshield washer reservoir. It won’t clean as well as washer fluid, and it may freeze in cold weather and damage the system. Don’t try to run your windshield washer system once you suspect there’s no more fluid in the tank, or you may damage the washer fluid pump.
Fix the washer fluid tank
Cracked washer-deicer fluid tanks are fairly common once a truck is of a certain age. A good remedy — until you can buy a new tank or find one at the junkyard — is to insert a plastic freezer bag into the tank and fill it with the washer fluid.
Inspect wheel-well splash guards
These guards, however flimsy on many of today’s trucks, help keep water and winter’s salty slush from splashing up into the engine compartment, where it can damage sensitive electrical components. Unfortunately, these guards tear off easily — sometimes without the driver knowing it. Check for damage to these guards when you wash your truck. Re-secure with the appropriate fasteners or replace as needed. As added protection from splashed-up muck, slush, and debris, install mud flaps (also called splash guards) on your vehicle.