Most fleet managers monitor their vehicles, including engine quality, fuel usage, and tire maintenance, while ensuring that the behavior of their drivers doesn’t put them at risk of causing an accident.

If you work in an industry that includes the use of a power take-off (PTO), then you can benefit from using GPS tracking technology to monitor those events on top of keeping an eye on the habits of your drivers. Imagine how you could improve your business if you knew how often certain equipment was in use. This type of insight into your daily operations can help you increase profits and streamline your business much in the same way it helps to know where your drivers are and how they’re operating behind the wheel.

What exactly is a power take-off unit?

Power take-off units connect a truck’s engine to another device to help it run. Some vehicles may come equipped with a PTO unit, while others may need to have a PTO unit installed.

What is the importance of PTO power?

For example, a woodchipper cannot run on its own. But with a PTO unit connecting it to the engine of a vehicle, the chipper receives the power and energy it needs to run properly. The same applies to things like vacuums and water pumps. They need to be plugged into a power source to operate. The PTO is the bridge to bring the to that power source.

What causes PTO failure?

There are two big causes behind the potential failure of a PTO unit.

  1. Improper installation: As is the case with any device, if the pieces weren’t properly put together in the way they were supposed to or if the unit wasn’t attached properly to the vehicle it’s trying to draw power from, the unit won’t function the way it should.
  2. Operator misuse: We all have to take care of our belongings, and PTO units are no exception. You need to make sure that the right-sized unit is being used for the specific job in mind. Otherwise, you have a unit trying to draw more energy than it can handle, which can lead to damages. You have to visually inspect the unit on a weekly basis to make sure nothing is out of place. If something is off, it’s on you to get it repaired as soon as possible so the issue doesn’t snowball into something bigger.

What is PTO horsepower?

PTO horsepower is the amount of horsepower your PTO unit can take to run a piece of equipment. This is an important number to be aware of because it can determine whether your unit is capable of powering the piece of equipment you need it to.

The formula for calculating PTO horsepower is as follows: hp (horsepower) = torque x rpm (revolutions per minute) ÷ 5,252.

Once you have that number, you can have a better sense of whether or not your PTO unit can handle your job.

How many types of PTO units are there?

There are three basic types of PTO units:

  • Tractor: These units were made for tractors and are located in the back of the tractor, which allows for easy access for any PTO unit.
  • Live: A two-stage clutch allows the operator of a live PTO unit to adjust the speed and/or gears while keeping the system up and running at the same time.
  • Independent: An independent PTO is controlled with a completely separate clutch. This creates a much-needed divide between the PTO system and the vehicle it’s attached to so that the operation of one doesn’t get mixed up with the operation of another. 

Are you ready to learn more? Talk to a Fleet Advisor today.

Using Your GPS Tracking System to monitor PTO events and the benefits it brings

In many cases, it is possible to use your GPS tracking system to monitor PTO events. This ability allows you to get real-time data, create alerts, or run reports that will let you know when any activity that requires an electrical current is being performed using one of your vehicles. When you’re operating the winch on a tow truck or you’re using the brushes on a street sweeper, being able to see how often and how long these tasks are performed can offer plenty of benefits for you and your company.

Monitoring PTO events with your GPS tracking system can help you in a handful of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Improve driver accountability – Speeding, idling, and location tracking are useful for ensuring that your drivers are safe and responsible. However, just because a vehicle is at the correct site or on the right route does not mean that it is operating as efficiently as it possibly could. If an employee knows that the activity of the equipment is being monitored, they are more likely to work efficiently. They’re more likely to ensure that the equipment isn’t in use more than it needs to be, saving you on extra labor costs and ensuring that the job gets done in a timely manner.
  • Provide proof of service: There will almost definitely come a time when a customer doesn’t believe the service they paid for was properly provided. GPS tracking technology can indicate that the vehicle made a stop at the correct site and spent an appropriate amount of time there before heading off elsewhere, but that still might not be enough to convince the customer. For more proof, monitoring PTO events can show that not only were your employees at the right place for the right amount of time but that the very equipment they needed to get the job done was in use for the expected amount of time. It’d be hard for any customer to argue with that.
  • Optimize equipment maintenance schedules – Just as you can use your GPS tracking system to monitor engine hours and mileage to reduce maintenance costs for your vehicles, you can also use PTO event monitoring in the same way. A quick glance at a report will tell you how often and how long the equipment has been in use at any single time so that you can schedule routine maintenance and replace worn parts when necessary. You can also get an alert if any of the vehicle’s maintenance warning lights come on so you don’t have to rely on drivers to report it, allowing you to tackle a problem while it’s still in its infant stages before it grows any larger on account of the forgetfulness of the employee who meant to let you know of the warning light..
  • Prevent improper vehicle use – If vehicles are left at a worksite, it’s possible that they will be stolen and/or tampered with. Fleet GPS tracking technology can let you know if the vehicle gets moved or is stolen, but PTO monitoring can also let you know if it is being operated without traveling. If your vehicle is stolen, you can also determine whether it is being used or if it has simply been driven to another site.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

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