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Ordinary Maintenance Can, And Will, Go Awry

New laws, old laws, and regulations out the wazoo. The trucking industry faces a lot of restrictions these days. From the DOT to the DPS there are an awful lot of unavoidable ordinances governing both drivers, and the companies they work for. Owner/operators deal with both ends of the spectrum. And that is only the official laws. Add in Murphy, and his band of paralegal gremlins and you can bet your sweet tailpipe there's going to be trouble for everyone making a living out there on the road.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Okay the DOT is going to keep on creating new standards and prescripts and the DPS is going to enforce them. However the well-prepared trucker or fleet manager can do a few things to combat Murphy and his all-too-common law.

What Can Go Wrong, Generally Does Go Wrong Doesn't Have To

Even simple ordinary maintenance can, and will, go awry. Take the most basic service such as a routine oil change. Many oil pans are aluminum, though others are plastic with only a medal insert for the drain plug threads. Whatever the style, there are a few inherent problems that often lead to costly down time and repair costs. 

Aluminum threads are prone to stripping. All it takes is one overzealous mechanic over-tightening the drain plug. Cross threading also occurs far more often than it should. And those plastic oil pans with the insert? Over time that insert can get loose simply from the action of tightening and loosening of the drain plug. Sure these problems can be prevented with enough due diligence, but any and everyone who has ever turned a wrench has felt the pain of a stripped bolt head or threads. In true Murphy's Law fashion it's not a matter of if, but when.

And again given Ol' Murphy's warped sense of timing, the when will be at the least opportune time. 

The manufacturers recommended mileage between oil changes varies. Some are based on hours rather than miles, but either way many trucks out on the road today get a complete oil change as often as once per month. That's twelve times a year that oil plug comes out, and twelve times the plug goes in to those vulnerable threads. A dozen times disaster has potential to strike. Over the years the risk adds up until again we are talking …  

When, Not If

Of course you could elect to not change your oil on a regular basis. Cut back, reduce the odds of stripping or cross threading your drain plug. Murphy will get a kick out of that. Running down the highway with old worn out oil. That sludge trying to chug its way through the engine. Yep, that plan will have Murphy salivating like Pavlov's dog.

Not a pretty picture, is it? More like a paint by numbers Elvis on velvet created by your great Aunt Tilda. But this article is about how to elude Murphy so let's get to it. The secret is … that drain plug doesn't have to be there. It doesn't have to slide through those tender threads a dozen times a year. Year after year.

A savvy person will remove that glorified bolt and replace it with a drain plug replacement such as those offered by Fumoto, or Ez Oil Drain. Threaded in once, these drain plug stay in place for the duration of all lube changes.

Replacing the standard plug in your oil pan is something both the single owner/operator and fleet manager can do to reduce the chance of ill-timed problems and render Murphy's statute a revocable notion, applicable only for the unprepared.