While in a lot of ways you are saving yourself money and time opening a food truck business versus a brick and mortar store, there are some unique challenges with it as well. Besides finding the best locations and building up a loyal following, the cost of proper food truck maintenance can throw a lot of first time food truck owners for a loop.
With all the normal costs that come up with owning a business, food truck owners have to also keep their truck in good working order and this can get expensive if they don’t take care of it properly. This isn’t something you should ignore. How are you going to earn any revenue if you can’t get the truck out of park?
Here is a Beginner’s Guide to Food Truck Maintenance:
Mistakes to Avoid
It can be very tempting when you are short on funds or time to put off truck maintenance, but this decision will most likely come back and haunt you. Here are some common vehicle maintenance mistakes to avoid:
- Don’t ignore the maintenance instructions in the truck manual. While you might not think it is a big deal to delay changing the oil or to make the brake pads last longer then recommended, by doing this you could be causing additional damage to the truck and putting your staff on the truck in danger.
- Don’t ignore your tires either hoping that they will just last you a little bit longer. Make sure you are regularly checking your tire pressure so your business day isn’t cut short by a flat tire. By taking good care of your tires not only are you preventing a flat, but you are reducing your gas mileage.
- Don’t assume that the mechanic is always right. While you might not love working on cars and trucks, it is better to educate yourself on the workings of your truck so you can understand when the mechanic when he or she is talking with you. If something they tell you doesn’t sound right, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.
- Don’t ignore dashboard warning lights. Our stomachs always plummet when we see warning lights pop up in our vehicle and if you are overwhelmed by other things, you might be tempted to put your head in the sand and act like you don’t see it. The truck is still running right? Doing this will just lead to more problems and more out of pocket costs. It is better to nip the problem in the bud as soon as you are aware of it. Check the owner’s manual so you understand exactly what the warning means.
- Don’t keep running low on gas. When you do this it can cause damage to your fuel pump. Waiting until the gas light goes on before you fill up is a bad habit to avoid.
Quick Rules of Thumb to Follow
- Always check your tires every 3,000 miles. An easy way to do that is to put a penny face up into the tread. Make sure the Lincoln’s head is upside down. If you can see Lincoln’s whole head, it is time to replace the tire.
- Research repair shops to find one that you can trust and depend on. Start online but also talk to other food truck owners for recommendations and then create a short list of possible repair shop owners. Then get some quotes and talk to the mechanics to get a real good feel about the shop before making any final decisions. While this can be time-consuming, it will be worth it in the end.
- Learn how to do simple repairs that you can do on your own. You can save yourself some time and money if you can do little things like changing light bulbs and air filters on your own. Make sure you are doing it the right way though. If you are uncertain, have a professional do it.
- Maintain a truck log of not only any maintenance done but also record when you get gas and what your mileage is. The easiest way to make sure you don’t forget to do this is to keep a little notebook and a pen or pencil in your glove compartment.
- If a gas station doesn’t change its pump filters on a regular basis, it can affect the quality of gas you get there. To avoid getting bad gas, be picky about where you go to fill up the truck. Find a couple of gas stations along your typical daily routes that you know you can trust. Always ask them about the filter changing policy. If you are not satisfied with their answer, move on.
- Sometimes even the little things can have a big impact. Did you know that a keychain loaded with lots of keys can actually put pressure on your ignition switch. Try not to load down your keychain with unessentials.
How You Drive Also Matters
Your daily driving habits can also have an impact on keeping your food truck in proper form. If you normally have a heavy foot when you drive, you could be putting your truck in an early grave. Other things to avoid in your daily driving include:
- Don’t race your engine when you start the engine up because this can add wear and tear to your engine.
- Letting your truck idle is also no no because it messes with the engine’s fuel combustion.
- One way to reduce wear and tear on your truck’s engine is to shift to neutral at red lights.
- To protect your steering wheel from wear and tear, don’t hold it in sharp positions when you turn. Be gentler with your steering wheel and your truck will thank you for it.
The food truck is an essential ingredient in the success of any food truck business. If you take proper care of it, it will be a powerful workhorse for you. You just need to treat it like an important member of your team. For more information on the food truck business, contact Zac’s Burger’s today.