Diesel engine radiators: GVW, length of haul drive choice of parts source
Who do fleets prefer as replacement sources for diesel engine radiators? Data from FLEET OWNER's Aftermarket Monitor indicates that sources for these components are determined by GVW, average length of haul, and whether vehicles are new or used.
Midrange fleets prefer cooling specialists over all other sources for diesel engine radiators (28.6%). Since they generally operate fewer than 100 miles from where they're domiciled, these fleets often use local rebuilders or suppliers. Many cooling specialists are also local rebuilders, so they're a convenient source for diesel engine radiators among midrange fleets. Heavy-duty fleets also prefer cooling specialists as parts sources (26.8%) because they offer expertise in cooling system components and are considered quite reliable, which means reduced downtime for fleets.
Both medium- and heavy-duty fleets chose truck dealers as their primary parts source for diesel engine radiators (43.7% and 36.5%, respectively). Heavy-duty fleets tend to prefer dealers as sources for OEM parts since they're considered reliable products that will increase uptime and revenue. Since revenue per truck generally increases with GVW, heavy-duty fleets are usually willing to pay more for guaranteed uptime.
Heavy-duty fleets also prefer dealers because of the national coverage provided by their warranties. A good deal of the equipment in this category is operating on-highway - and away from where it's domiciled - so there's a strong need for national parts-and-service coverage.
When looking at the data in terms of whether the equipment is new or used, warranties become a primary factor in determining sources for diesel engine radiators. Owners of both new and used heavy-duty vehicles prefer truck dealers to any other part source (44.6% and 26.7%, respectively). Owners of new trucks form relationships with dealers because of warranties, which protect them from the replacement costs associated with assemblies that fail prematurely. Some used-truck owners also prefer dealers as parts sources because at times they offer warranties to second owners.
Generally, however, owners of used trucks don't have either the warranties or the close relationships with dealers. And although OEM parts are considered durable products, some fleets think they're too expensive. Jobbers and parts houses are considered less expensive alternatives. Jobbers have the advantage of being able to provide local rebuilds relatively quickly, sincethey already have access to the parts. And auto parts houses can get price discounts because they're buying in such quantity.
The Aftermarket Monitor divides components into 15 major groups and sends out more than 4,000 questionnaires each month to commercial vehicle operators. Parts categories covered are diesel engines; gas engines; electrical and lights; air brakes, wheel seals and bearings; hydraulic brakes, wheel seals and bearings; manual transmissions and clutches; automatic transmissions; drive axles, universal joints and drivelines, and PTO drives; exhaust components and engine cooling systems; front suspension and shock absorbers; rear suspensions and springs; engine oil and filtration systems; tires; electronics; wheels and fifth wheels; seats, mirrors, tanks, and leak detection equipment; and paint.
For more information on FLEET OWNER's Aftermarket Monitor, call Chris Brady at Martin Labbe Assoc., 904-672-4413.
The following individuals recently received prizes for participating in last month's survey: Bradley A. Nelson, Lake Charles, La.; Dale A. Moore, Jake A. Moore & Sons, Natural Bridge, Va.; and Steven Nicoletti, Thornwood, N.Y.
The Aftermarket Report is a snapshot of information gathered each month as part of an ongoing research project known as FLEET OWNER's Aftermarket Monitor. It is intended to keep readers informed of important trends and new developments in the commercial-truck aftermarket.