If you haven’t checked all the components of your truck’s brake system recently, now is the time to get it done.

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Parts shortages continue to affect all industries, including trucking. To try and minimize maintenance-related delays, Penske has added new suppliers and is refurbishing parts for repairs while also drawing on its preventive maintenance program to help prevent problems before they occur.

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As summer approaches and temperatures heat up across the country, some components on Class 8 trucks need extra attention to prevent unscheduled maintenance or costly fixes down the line. Chris Hough, vice president of maintenance design and engineering at Penske Truck Leasing, said focusing on certain items when temperatures increase can improve uptime and increase driver satisfaction.

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Long backlogs and supply-chain constrained production have limited new Class 8 truck availability, extending equipment lifecycles throughout the industry. A strong maintenance program is always critical, but it is becoming even more important as trucks are remaining on the road longer.

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The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA's) International Roadcheck will take place May 4-6. Over the 72 hours, commercial motor vehicle (CMV) inspectors throughout North America inspect commercial motor vehicles and drivers.

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The overall average trip length for trucks has dropped by 37 percent since 2000. The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) attributes the decrease to the dramatic growth of e-commerce sales, which have jumped 3,000 percent from 1999 to 2017 and now total more than 9 percent of total U.S. retail sales. The shift in the length of haul is changing the types of equipment fleets are investing in and may make it easier to attract drivers, ATRI said in its report, "E-Commerce Impacts on the Trucking Industry."

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Attracting and retaining drivers has remained a top industry concern, with the issue topping the list in the American Transportation Research Institute's most recent survey of top industry issues. Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Associations, has said that if things do not change, the trucking industry could be short 175,000 drivers by 2026. Private fleets are working to find and keep drivers, employing everything from signing bonuses to higher wages, but using the right equipment could also go a long way toward increasing driver satisfaction.

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