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Trucking Companies: What’s Driving Up Equipment Maintenance Costs and How Can You Save?

Repairing and maintaining your trucks and equipment is a huge investment. In fact, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) reported that in 2016, about 10% of a fleet’s total average costs was due to maintenance. That’s the highest level recorded in ATRI’s survey history! What’s behind the spike in maintenance costs?

A truck's age and level of technology have a large impact. Older trucks often need more regular, costly repairs, leaving companies with no option but to outsource maintenance services. While newer rigs may be mechanically sound, tractor-trailers with cutting-edge technology require more advanced maintenance than older models. That involves frequent inspections to make sure the systems are in tip-top shape, which can cost your company extra labor hours regardless of the inspection results.

Another leading factor is increased mileage. With the surge of e-commerce, both retailers and consumers demand more frequent deliveries in record time to a growing list of destinations. In just one year (2015-2016), the average mileage of fleets rose from 80,868 to 103,945—that’s a 28.5% jump! As a result, trucks are experiencing wear and tear at faster rates. And as you repair and replace your trucks more often, expenses will quickly climb.

Let’s look into some practical ways to cut costs:

  • Stick to a regular schedule of R&M servicing. This could include servicing each truck every 10,000 miles, weekly routine maintenance, and thorough quarterly inspections.
  • Keep a detailed list of routine R&M tasks and safety checkups.
  • Accurately record your fleet’s service history. Then you’ll know what to expect once the next R&M service rolls around and you’ll also support the manufacturer’s warranty conditions.
  • Maximize the lifespan of your trucks’ tires by regularly inflating them at the correct pressure, keeping them well-balanced and properly aligned.
  • Overlooked and neglected lube points can damage parts, so don’t wait until your engine oil servicing to take care of them. This is especially important during the heat of summer and the snowy, salty months.

An Ounce of Prevention

You know that repair and maintenance are not optional. But those necessary costs can quickly become a heavy burden. Older trucks break down more, newer trucks have advanced technologies to constantly inspect and recalibrate, and increased mileage shortens any truck's lifespan.

How can you meet these challenges? Service your trucks on a recurring schedule, keep specific records of the tasks completed, and maximize the life of your trucks’ tires. By regularly examining the condition of your equipment and nipping any problems in the bud, your company will save loads in the long run.

This blog post does not provide insurance advice and is intended for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional insurance advice from a licensed representative. Never ignore professional insurance advice because of something you have read in this blog post. Contact your licensed representative if you have any questions about your insurance policy.
  • Josh Freet

    ZINC's Contractor Insurance Expert

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