BLUF: PMCS isn’t done until you take your M1-series tank for a road test.
Crewmen, there’s more to doing PMCS on your M1-series tank than checking fluid levels, and making sure batteries are charged and track is properly tensioned.
Sure, all those things (and more) are very important. But one thing is often overlooked as part of preventive maintenance. And that’s taking your tank out for a road test.
Starting up your tank and getting it out on the road often will allow you to discover potential problems that aren’t evident while the tank is just sitting in the motor pool. Not to mention road testing helps keep the batteries charged up. Way too many tanks are sitting around motor pools with dead batteries, and that’s a major hit on unit readiness.
So, fire up your tank’s engine and hit the road (or trail). However, make sure to follow all relevant SOPs when it comes to moving tracked vehicles on or off the installation, and follow all applicable laws and safety regulations.
Note to unit leaders: make sure you support the need for frequent road testing by establishing the necessary programs, priorities and procedures to make them possible and safe.
Crewmen, once out on the road, keep your senses sharp. Look out for oil or other fluid leaks or excessive smoke coming from the exhaust. Keep an eye out for any caution or warning lights. Listen for unusual sounds and vibrations. Your nose can come in handy for detecting distinctive smells such as burning oil or overheating hubs. If anything seems amiss, don’t hesitate to let your mechanic know.