The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Transportation Services guidebook to school bus preventive maintenance opens by stating one truth. That is that North Carolina’s school children deserve the safest possible transportation.
Whether you are a Winston-Salem school child’s parent or someone who works in school transportation, you surely agree. At Cloverdale Auto at 2020 Cloverdale Avenue, we do too! Some of us are parents and have children riding on those buses every morning. So what do we do to help maintain school buses, church buses, tour buses and other bus transportation? Below, we explore some of the basics of school bus preventive maintenance performed by our expert auto mechanics.
Now School Bus Preventive Maintenance Is More Important than Ever
Whether you have a school bus fleet as part of the local school system or operate a second-hand bus for your church, organization or business, maintenance is very important. This is always true. But it is more important now than ever before. Why?
Throughout 2020 and much of 2021, school buses and other buses have largely remained unused. The Covid-19 pandemic, at-home learning and group gathering restrictions have made buses less necessary. Many sat still in parking lots and garages, gathering dust inside and out. If you open the hood of many of these buses, you are likely to find cobwebs, rust and leaves, something they never had time to accumulate before.
Sitting still for so long does not mean these buses will run better this year. Instead, they are in dire need of school bus preventive maintenance to ensure they run as they should. For this maintenance, your bus needs a skilled Winston-Salem auto mechanic at Cloverdale Auto.
NC Requirements for School Bus Preventive Maintenance
Even if your school bus is not used for Winston-Salem area schools you can use the North Carolina state guidelines for school bus preventive maintenance. The DPI Transportation Services manual is handy as a guide to important aspects of routine bus maintenance. For example, if you own only one second-hand bus for your organization, group or personal use, this manual provides good perspective on the checks and services your Cloverdale Auto mechanic will perform. Of course, each vehicle is unique and can require other preventive care or repairs.
The NC checklist for school bus preventive maintenance specifies three factors involved in determining when a bus needs to go into the auto mechanic’s shop. Those are age, fuel consumption and time since the last maintenance. The state requires this service every 6,000 miles, at most.
The schools also must self-inspect their transportation fleet every month. This is a good policy for any school bus owner or operator. Get to know your bus, have it serviced on a regular schedule and perform your own safety checks each month.
The state’s required 30-day school bus inspections include checklists for all vehicle areas and operation including:
- Inside body
- Outside body
- Fuel system
- Electrical system
- Road tests
You can find the full checklist for 30-day self-inspection of a NC school bus on page 21 of the DPI transportation service manual. Use it for your church bus, tour bus or other group transportation of this type to ensure your passengers stay safe when traveling from one place to the next.
Bus Maintenance Performed by Your Auto Repair Shop
While under an expert bus mechanic‘s care at Cloverdale Auto Service, your school bus goes through many system checks and services. These vary according to the bus model, age, mileage, condition and individual needs. Service can include:
- Mounting bolts and bolt lock pins/nuts
- Wheel bearings
- Engine accessory drive belts
- Lubrication, filter and oil change
- Road test
- Travel angle
- Steering gear operation
- Load test
- Brake checks and service
- Rear axle and drive line
- Transmission check
- Tune up
- Tire service
- Battery check
- Electrical system test
- Alternator test
- Cooling and heating test and service
Schedule Winston-Salem School Bus Maintenance Today
There are many more aspects to school bus preventive maintenance than we can list here. What your privately-owned, commercially-owned or state-owned school bus requires will differ according to each individual vehicle. Each manufacturer also provides its own recommendations for routine scheduled maintenance. But the skilled auto mechanics of Cloverdale Auto in Winston-Salem are experienced in school bus service and know which service your vehicle needs.
If you own a school bus and need school bus preventive maintenance, call the pros of Cloverdale Auto today at 336-331-3448.