Owner-operator Keith "Palerider" Lawson has been in trucking for 20 years. He pulls general freight, including a lot of cross-border loads between the U.S. and Mexico, with his International ProStar. Leased to Central Hauling, Lawson is based in Laredo, TX.
Q: How are maintenance and minor repairs handled? Do you use an OEM shop (truck dealer or engine manufacturer shop) or an independent truck repair shop?
A: Maintenance is handled through an escrow system. I don't do a lot of the maintenance myself, just the minor things. I have a shop do the rest. I try to use independent shops whenever possible. Major repairs are handled the same way.
Q: What are the major challenges you face with your maintenance/repair program, and how do you handle them?
A: I have to get an okay from my escrow handler. I just explain what I need. I can't use my escrow on certain things, so I take care of those on my own. The escrow handler goes home at 5 p.m., so I usually wait until he comes in at 8 a.m. If itÕs an emergency, I can always use "road assist" from the carrier I'm leased to.
Q: What do you do regarding maintenance and repairs to minimize downtime?
A: I stay up on things through constant and consistent pre- and post-trip inspections, and I try to catch any problems early. I take the proactive rather than reactive approach.
Q: What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
A: The mileage/time interval is 30,000 mi. That's pretty close to the manufacturer's requirement.
Q: How do you ensure good mileage from tires? Which brand of tires do you prefer? Do you use retreads?
A: I check tire pressure on a regular schedule, and I prefer Michelin tires. I will use retreads in a pinch.
Q: Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?
A: I stock some of the minor stuff, but I usually buy parts as needed.
Q: What are your specifications for your trucks?
A: No certain specs.
Q: How do you determine when it's time to replace a truck or trailer?
A: I replace a truck when it starts costing a lot of money to maintain and repair.
Q: What do you have in place to ensure CSA compliance for your truck?
A: I stay up on the rules and regulations and when they get changed.
Q: What do you enjoy most about trucking and hauling the type of freight you do?
A: I love the driving and being in a different place almost every day. Also, I enjoy meeting new people all the time. My joy and trials in trucking are best explained on my YouTube Channel: PaleRiderTV (YouTube/user/paleridertv).
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