Tips for Avoiding Breakdowns on Rollbacks and Wheel Lifts By Paul Stephens
Paul Stephens is a towing industry trainer with more than 34 years of towing experience. He has served as a consultant for many automobile manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and companies for service provider education, towability and road service procedures.
he current supply-chain issues can make maintaining your equipment a priority. Parts are now harder to get since the pandemic’s start, so keeping components in top shape is no longer a low priority but an essential part of running your business. Regular maintenance is the lifeline of your equipment. Understanding the required maintenance intervals, procedures, inspections, and general functions of the body and wheel lift can improve their overall quality of life and extend the expectancies of these units. Having a good understanding of how the components work can greatly improve the maintenance process and educate you and your staff on what needs to be addressed, or what the interval should be on certain components. Spending money on maintenance can save thousands of dollars in parts and downtime. This approach all starts with the knowing your truck. Whether it’s a new or old unit, the manufacturer usually has schematics and basic lubrication guidelines that can get you started. These guidelines can help with many maintenance items such as location of grease points, lube intervals, what type of grease, and how much, along
10 • October 2021 | Towman.com
with more intensive maintenance such as which roll pins need complete removal for lubrication and other potential servicing. These charts are usually available via the internet or by reaching out to a manufacturer or local distributor. Sometimes the easiest part of maintenance can be the lubrication. Many other items need to be addressed regularly, though, and are relatively easy to check or mitigate during routine maintenance services. Routine greasing can prolong the life of these components. One of the most important parts of lubrication is knowing how often each component requires greasing. Some can require almost daily intervals, while others might only require once-a-month servicing. Most tow companies follow a mileage maintenance routine, so when their trucks’ oil needs changing, they also service the body at the same time. Unfortunately, this approach can sometimes be too long of an interval. The wheel lift stinger, T-bar, pivot pin, wheel lift grids or arms, and rollback pivot all require regular greasing. It is always a good idea to clean the grease fittings prior to attaching your grease gun. Old, dirty