CNG technicians get a lot of the credit for keeping your fleet up and running, but don’t overlook the value and responsibilities of your drivers. Not only are they directly contributing to your ROI, they’re the employees who spend the majority of their time in these vehicles. Any issues or concerns are more likely to happen on their watch, and they need to be prepared. While the required federal pre- and post-trip inspections are meant to catch most of these — like damage to shields, cylinders, receptacles and other fuel system components — your drivers may still encounter others along their routes, including when:
o Vehicles consume more oil than expected. Oil readings taken before vehicles have had time to cool will prompt drivers to overfill their engines. Instead, have them park these vehicles for at least 20 – 30 minutes, then perform their checks. And make sure oil is only added when the gauge reads slightly below the “add” marker.
o O-Rings go missing. Drivers need to remember that unlike diesel fueling systems, natural gas fuel nozzles are required to lock onto the vehicle’s receptacle before fuel will flow. A complete seal between both requires an O-Ring inside the receptacle to be present and in good condition. Removing the nozzle too quickly once fueling is complete — or any heavy-handed movements during the fueling process — can risk damaging the O-Ring, which can cause leaks and other unsafe fueling conditions. The simple solution is to train your drivers how to properly lock nozzles onto vehicle receptacles by gently pulling back to make sure both have engaged, then maintaining that same cadence once it’s time to disconnect them. It’s also recommended that your drivers keep a stash of O-Rings in their vehicles to replace as needed.
o Drivers perceive a lack of power. While there can be a variety of reasons for this, it usually boils down to the fuel delivery system. For example, the Cummins 12N has roughly the same horsepower and torque as a 12-liter diesel, but its fuel delivery system is completely different, which means it performs differently, and can lead many drivers to interpret this new “feel” and handling as a lack of power. Additionally, if drivers are accustomed to 15-liter diesels, switching to any vehicle with a 12-liter engine (natural gas or diesel) will feel less powerful by comparison.
In our experience, preparing your drivers to anticipate these conditions during vehicle training and familiarization will go a long way toward alleviating their concerns on the road. If you’ve heard other CNG driver issues that we didn’t mention, we want to know about them! Shoot us an email at email@example.com, or call 800-510-6484 to discuss.