A Different Way to Look at Maintenance

Any fleet that wants to stay in business maintains its trucks. We all know that without regularly scheduled maintenance trucks will breakdown.

But did you know that maintenance can help you improve your fleet’s fuel economy? We recently completed a Confidence Report on the impact of maintenance on a truck’s fuel efficiency. What we found was that truck given additional maintenance or more optimized maintenance could see efficiency gains in the 5% to 10% range.

Savings like this show that implementing more effective maintenance protocols by increasing the size of your maintenance staff, and/or investing in maintenance software, facilities or other tools will pay for itself in fuel savings in just a few years. And this, of course, is on top of the fact that trucks will be operating safely and reliably.

We identified 10 key areas of the truck that are most affected by maintenance: lubricants/engine oil, intake/exhaust systems & DPFs, engine cooling systems, air compressors, wheel alignment, tires, fuel filter systems, aerodynamic devices, electrical systems and air conditioning systems. This does not mean you should ignore maintenance on other areas of the truck or other systems and components, it just means that for these 10 areas we were able to real demonstrate fuel economy gains as a result of proper maintenance.

One thing I found very interesting is that 75% of the fleets we surveyed said they say a strong or very strong connection between maintenance practices and fuel economy. But they also said that unless they could demonstrate that link it would be difficult to get management to spend more on bays, technicians or tools to improve the maintenance function.

I understand that there are some challenges to making sure each and every truck in your fleet gets its maintenance services exactly when it is supposed to. This is especially true if your trucks don’t return to your terminals on a regular basis. The good news is there are software solutions that give you more control over PM scheduling and compliance.

If you are only looking at maintenance as a way to prevent trucks from breaking down, you are missing out on a big piece of what it contributes to your operation and also on some real fuel savings. Maybe it is time to for you to rethink maintenance?

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