If you are responsible for maintaining a bus or coach fleet, you may realise how important it is to service the engine and transmission as often as possible. These major components undergo a great deal of wear and tear as each vehicle covers thousands of kilometres in a given month and while they are over-engineered for the purpose, a failure here can lead to expensive downtime and loss of revenue. Yet many engineering facilities put so much attention on the drivetrain that they may overlook ride quality and forget to pay as much attention to the suspension. What happens if these individual components degrade and fail to provide optimal performance?
Damage Builds Up
Today, the majority of buses and coaches are fitted with air suspension, with the latest models controlled electronically and older versions featuring a valve levelling system. No matter how the suspension is configured, however, it's crucial to maintain a proper ride height or your passengers will certainly notice a difference. Not only will you get complaints along the way, but you may also notice that your component repair bill goes up as other parts begin to fail prematurely. You may place a considerable amount of wear on your tyres (which are already a significant line-item by themselves) and you will find that each vehicle will use more fuel at the pump, once again adding to your budget deficit.
Focusing on the Air Supply
You have to make sure that the air supply quality is perfectly managed or the valves are going to fail before their due time. Furthermore, you need to ensure that the airbags and bellow assembly are in good condition otherwise the air will leak out and will ultimately cause a failure. Remember, these parts are vulnerable to damage from road debris and can corrode during adverse weather conditions. When this happens, tiny particles can enter the air system, causing abrasion and inefficiency.
Servicing the Shocks
It's also important to keep an eye on the shock absorbers, to make sure that they do not leak and compromise the ride experience. It's always advisable to change these in pairs should they exhibit any issue or make sure that adjustment levels are checked on a regular basis.
Make sure that your engineering team schedules enough time to service those suspension components. It's all very well to focus on the engine and gearbox as the key drivers of longevity and efficiency, but those other metrics are equally as important when considering bus repairs.