Public utility vehicles are usually the most punished vehicles on the road. They are driven for several hours a day with lots of stop and go and sometimes they even travel with a full load of passengers. Maintaining public utility vehicles that travel everyday is staggering compared to private vehicles, as you will need to do routine checks more frequently. Let me share some tips on how to maintain a vehicle that is used for public transportation.
Unlike private vehicles, you will need to perform tune-ups more frequently. Ask your car’s manufacturer when you should do tune-ups. The average that I’ve seen is once every 5,000 kilometers. Since public vehicles are used every day, you’ll probably find yourself tuning up roughly every 4 months or so. Make sure you have the best performance tune-up. These should include appropriate engine oil, oil and air filters, and spark plugs and so on.
Always check your tires. Make sure you have high quality tires since your car will be on full load quite often. More traction usually results in more wear and tear. And of course, make sure you know the optimal or recommended tire pressure specification from the tire or your car manufacturer. Be consistent in checking the tire pressure and keep it at the recommended rate all the time.
Brakes are very important especially if you’re carrying a lot of people in your vehicle. Because of the added combined weight of the passengers, you might need a longer braking distance. Make sure your brake pads are still thick and your brakes are working properly before you head off. Test it on clear roads only.
The vehicle’s suspension should also be optimal for full load. I have seen quite a number of FX Taxis (one of the most common public vehicles here in Manila) that have their torsion bars adjusted to probably make their vehicles look lowered and cool. However, on full load which is usually 11 persons including the driver, there isn’t much room for the suspension to adjust. Their suspensions seem to be at the limit so when they hit debris or a hump on the road, there’s no or very little room for the suspension to absorb the shock and thus, it’s the body that absorbs most of it. And of course, without proper shock absorption, your passengers will have an uncomfortable ride. They will feel every rock, asphalt, trash, bump and so on.
Daily routine checks are very helpful. This will make sure your car will be prepared for the punishment it will take during a work day. Check your gas, engine oil, brake fluid, transmission or power steering fluid and tires. Then, you can check other functions such as radio, air-conditioning, door locks, mirrors, windows, dashboard and all the lights including the headlights, tail lights, signal lights and the lights inside the vehicle.
Finally, do not forget to clean your car. People are more comfortable if they are riding in a clean car. Visit a car wash regularly. Keep the interior clean and to avoid passengers leaving trash on the seats or on the floor, put a small trash bin. Clean the seat covers and wipe the sides of the door and the headrest. A car perfume that is smooth and cool will be great.
So if you’re planning to use your vehicle for public use, always keep in mind that you’ll have to take care of your car more often. Make sure that your car is in tip top shape so that it will perform effectively even at full load for long periods of time. This will result in more mileage even on full load thus it won’t affect your earnings that much. Also, consider the passengers as well and make sure they have a comfortable and safe ride.