Ed Rieskamp and David Miller will tell you that regular truck washing can actually help fleets in a variety of ways, the least of which is preserving and prolonging equipment life.
Rieskamp, founder and president of Rieskamp Equipment, and Miller, the company's sales manager, explain that the "image factor" is something fleets should not discount, as it can influence a customer's opinion about a trucking company.
And, he adds, there are plenty of physical benefits to washing equipment regularly.
"The benefits of regular cleaning as it relates to the life, usefulness and safety of the vehicle are not as obvious, but no less real," Miller says. "While it is true that a vehicle will just get dirty again, this does not mean that washing is without benefit."
Regular washing removes harmful elements that come into contact with trucks, such as pollution residue, salt and other anti-icing products. While these elements don't do immediate damage, Miller explains, long-term exposure can cause costly damage to equipment and shorten its useful life.
How a vehicle is washed is an important part of the equation, says Miller. For instance, underneath the vehicle is where much of the harmful chemical residue ends up and where many important and costly components are located.
Rieskamp, whose company builds truck and equipment wash systems, says that selection of cleaning chemicals is critical. Price per gallon is not the way to select products, he says, because other considerations are far more important. He recommends considering the agent's affect on vehicle finishes, its impact on the environment and how the agent can affect sensitive components of a washing system.
Miller adds that how frequently fleets wash equipment will depend on a number of factors. For instance, in areas where salt is used to melt ice and snow or in coastal areas with salt in the air, washing should be done as often as possible.
"In urban areas where air pollution is a problem, frequent washing is also recommended," Miller said. "In general, however, it's would be advisable to wash your vehicles a minimum of once a week to keep the harmful elements from getting a foothold on your vehicles and damaging them."