Riding Tech Cars

If you are a field service technician or a support agent, your vehicle is vital for your job.

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Before you continue to read this article regarding your vehicle, please take a time out, and look at your current employer’s policy regarding your vehicle. 
If your current employer does not have a policy regarding your vehicle then you may want to suggest one. 

The most common policy for an employer to have regarding your vehicle is the following:

A neglected vehicle can negatively affect the customer’s perception of the company.  As such, you are expected to:

  • Keep your vehicle clean

  • Ensure the vehicle that you are driving complies with all local laws and regulations
    Only park your vehicle on the customer’s premises; only if you are confident it is not leaking oil and is not violating any parking regulations

  • The vehicle must have a current and valid registration

  • The vehicle must have a current and valid automotive insurance

  • You must have a current valid driver’s license for the vehicle that you are driving
The policy above pretty much covers the employer from any liability; however, it does not offer any real information on what you should need, or it does not offer what you should have in your vehicle to be prepared and do your job professionally. 

What you need to know about your vehicle:

Fact: Everyone has a little mechanic within him or her just waiting to get out. 

In the past, I have said repeatedly:

 "If you have mechanical experience, then you should be good to go.  If you do not have mechanical experiences, then get some quickly.  "

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You need to build up your mechanical skills to keep your vehicle going down the road.  If you do not have a working vehicle then you cannot do your job.  It is that simple.  

Fact: The first idea of a car was the first intent to create a moving device that can go 100 miles in a single day.

The thought has not changed today.  Therefore, vehicles are for people to be driving 100 miles in a single day.  By now, you have guessed that a tech car will be going more than 100 miles per day.

Therefore, to keep your vehicle moving on the road you must keep a close eye on it.

A good rule to live by is if you travel, more than 200 miles within a 24-hour period, check your fluids during the next refueling.  In addition, if you travel, more than 1,000 miles within a week period, get your oil changed after letting your vehicle rest for 12 hours.

Why this rule?

Think logically, as you run your vehicle, heat builds up and burns fluids.  The longer you run your vehicle, the more heat your vehicle generates.  The more heat your vehicle generates, the more wear and tear you will get and more fluids will evaporate and condense.

Nevertheless, it does not stop here with a single rule.  In case of an emergency, you had better know your vehicle in and out, so I highly recommend getting a service manual for your vehicle, if you have not already. 

Not being prepared for an emergency down the road, translates into not being prepared for driving down the road. 

In addition, you will feel safer driving your car because you will have the confidence of knowing how to change a tire, or add fluids, without calling for roadside assistance.

I suggest Chilton service manuals, as they seem to over everything and offer more of a quick reference for all types of mechanics. 

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Service manuals do not come with your vehicle, because service manuals are considered to be for mechanics and not for normal consumers.  What comes with your vehicle is an operator’s manual, not a service manual.  When you see a service manual verses an operator’s manual, you will notice the differences very quickly because the service manual will be three times as big as an operator’s manual and will not be able to fit in your glove box. 

A operator’s manual can answer these simple questions: what type of oil to use, what type of coolant to use, where are the fuses, what do the lights on my dash mean, how do I replace the tire, should the transmission fluid be replaced and how often…

A service manual can answer the same questions that you may have in the operator’s manual, but in more detail.  Plus, a service manual can also answer allot more difficult questions like: where are the electrical wires for my radio, how much amps should my cigarette lighter put out in idle, how do I take out, adjust, and clean the interior, what is the gap needed for the spark plugs, how do I replace a light bulb...

Keep this in mind, you do not have time to waste fixing your vehicle between calls so be prepared and keep your vehicle going but plan for the worst to impossible.

Driving Skills:

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When you are on the clock, or off the clock, the driving skills you have will define rather you are late or on time.  

Do not speed, because if you are late for an appointment you can always call ahead and advise them that you are running late and why. 

Keep your eyes moving when you are driving down the road, because allot of accidents occurs from people falling asleep while driving.  By keeping your eyes moving, the more information your brain will collect and the more alert you will be.

Never become aggressive.  Let people pass you, if they want.  Again, if you are running late, then call ahead and advise them that you are running late and why.

Do not over push your vehicle.  The more you drive your vehicle, the more wear you put on your vehicle.  You can control how much wear you put on your vehicle by simply allowing it to idle whenever it is possible and not to go over 2,000 RPMs unless necessary.      

Meeting Economy/Fuel Needs:

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Simply put, the less fuel your car uses, the less wear and tear your car will get, and the better you will be off running to service more people. 

Here are some tips to keep your car’s gas mileage down.

Driving at the speed limit drops your RPMs down and improves your gas mileage; however, driving behind a truck to allow less air resistance has always work great for me.  You will be able to see your RPMs drop during a cruise saving gas that you would have otherwise used to break the wind.  In addition, as an added benefit, the truck will get a ticket before you.

Clean oil in your car makes the engine work easier and requires less gas to provide you with the power and speed you will need.

Driving without the air conditioner, and putting on the economy or vent air, will increase your cars need for extra amps and adjust your idling to a lower setting.  In addition, your car will have greater airflow around the engine causing less heat that causes wear and tear. 

Tires with good traction will require less spinning; therefore, you will be using less gas to turn your tires.

Extra hardware that controls the air control for the gas mixtures, like the Tornado Air systems and some alien filter systems, are a great way to improve on your gas mileage.  However, I strongly suggest before you try something that changes your gas to air mixture to test over a down period and not on the job, so there is no effect on your performance to get somewhere when needed.

Liquids that you add to your gasoline, like liquid oxygen and liquid cleaners, I have found not to have any effect on vehicles RPMs and therefore do not recommend using gasoline-adding liquids as a fuel saving possibility but as car maintenance. 

Roadside Gear:

You will need ALL of these things in ALL of your vehicles for that unforeseen occasion when something unexpected and unwelcomed comes along.

Common Things to Have:
  • Tire Jack
  • Spare Tire
  • Tire Iron or socket ranch that fits your lug nuts
  • Tire Repair Kit
  • Tire Pump
  • Battery charger or jumper pack
  • Flares  
  • Medical Bag
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Fire or emergency blanket
  • Flashlight

Do NOT use or keep an extra gas tank in your car.

Not So Common Things to Have:
  • Plastic Latex Gloves (Used to check the fluids in the vehicle.  No one likes to smell like a mechanic)   
  • Plastic Bags (A clean car, is a organized car)  
  • Disposable camera (Never know when you may need to take a picture)  
  • Cat litter (Used for mud traps and sink holes)
  • Rock Salt (Used for ice)
  • Paper towels and window cleaner (Used to clean the inside of your window during night time driving and heavy unforeseen fog)
  • Gallon of water (You may need a quick drink or mix with salt and use on ice)  
  • Two 2X4 that is at least 3 feet long (Used as a hammer or for traction out of holes)  
  • Rope and/or bungee cords
  • Extra oil
  • WD40 (Never leave in the vehicle during days that are over 65 degrees)

Must Have Tech Tools for Your Vehicle:

For the vehicles that you will be using when you are going to an appointment, it is important to be prepared. 
  • 12V 300-700 Watt AC converter
  • Power cords for your laptop
  • DC power chargers for your cell phones or any other electrical devices that you may be carrying
  • 5 dollars or more in change
  • Snacks and beverages in a cooler
  • GPS and/or maps for the area you service
  • Extra fuses
  • Deodorant stick not spray
  • Toothbrush/mouthwash/mints not gum

Where to stop:


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Know where the travel centers and fast food places are, so you can take a break when you need one. 

In addition, use travel centers as a quick 24*7 place to pick up the emergency stuff you may need from time to time Extra fuses are not information centers.  Information centers are for the tourists.  Travel centers are gas stations that have showers, extra dinning and shopping opportunities, and places where truckers and roadsters congregate to check their rigs and check/change fluids.  In fact, if you lost or need a tool or anything listed above, a travel center will be your best bet to replace it while on the road.

What to buy:

If you read the above then you know should already have a good idea.  You should buy something that is cheep because you will be putting allot of wear and tear into it.  You should buy something that you know you can fix incase of an emergency.  You should buy something that you can customize to fit any needs that you may have.  You should buy something that fits you and anything that will be going with you.  You should buy something that is fast because you will need to be able to keep up with traffic and trucks.  You should buy something that is comfortable because you will be spending most of your time in the cab or your vehicle. 

Example of a vehicle that falls into these premeditators for me is an Olds station wagon.  But everyone is different.

If you have any negative/positive feedback that you would like to share, regarding any this article, please feel free to email me at Articles@McClainSolutions.com

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