Spotlight on an American Trucker: Archuleta Transport

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ARCHULETA TRANSPORT
Owner:
 Gilbert Archuleta
Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Gilbert Archuleta hauls mostly produce with his model-year 2000 Peterbilt and Utility refrigerated trailer. In business since 1978, Archuleta is currently leased to PLH Enterprises, hauling freight on demand. 

How are maintenance and minor repairs handled? What do you do yourself? Have done by a shop? Do you use an OEM shop (truck dealer or engine manufacturer shop) or an independent truck repair shop?
Most repairs are done when I’m at home by a local shop. Shane Wilcox, owner of Wilcox Enterprises, specializes in Detroit and all minor and major repairs. Preventive maintenance includes keeping air pressure up by checking with an air gauge and adjusting brakes every week. This way I can check under the vehicles. 

How are major repairs handled? What do you do yourself? Done by an OEM shop or an independent truck repair shop?
When forced to do any type of repairs, I’ll look for a major name shop to [handle] warranty work.

What are three challenges you face with your maintenance/repair program? How do you resolve each?
In summer, it’s the heat—keeping correct air pressure in the tires, proper coolant level, checking fan belts to see if they’re cracking or stretching, and greasing my vehicle. In winter, I make sure that the fifth wheel stays greased; it not only helps with maintaining control, but it also helps with the fuel economy. Depending on the weather, [I also] get a truck and trailer wash to get all the chemicals off and try to keep erosion down.

What do you do in regard to maintenance/repairs to minimize downtime? 
I do the same thing every day. I get in the habit of checking the vehicle the same way all the time. This way, if you see something that doesn’t look like it did yesterday, you’ll know. But let me emphasize, on your restart, go over your vehicles closer than your everyday pretrip. Also, get a rubber mallet and thump your tires every time you stop. After a while, you can tell by the sound if you have a low tire or a tire that’s lost air pressure.

How do you ensure good mileage from tires? Which brand of tires do you prefer? Do you use retreads?
I keep tires inflated to proper levels; balance and use balance rings. On my truck, I prefer Michelin on the steers and Toyo on the drives. As for retreads, some people like them. For me, I will not put a retread on my vehicle. 

Do you stock parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?
As required, I carry extra headlights and fuses, as well as tail lights, clearance lights, and alternator belt. I purchase items when needed.

How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
For the truck, it’s when it starts, as they say, to ‘nickel and dime’ you. In my case, with a reefer, it’s when the trailer cannot hold temperature. 

What are your specifications for your trucks? Are you able to find these on the used market? Or do you purchase used and customize? Or order new trucks built to your specs?
When I purchased my truck, I looked for low mileage or when it was in-framed, availability and best price.

What do you have in place to ensure CSA compliance for your trucks and/or trailers?
I make sure that annual inspections are done.

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