Maintenance does more than keep trucks on the road

It also lowers costs, makes drivers happier and brings better fuel economy

It’s a given that trucks need to be maintained on a regular basis in order to operate properly. Truck manufacturers and component suppliers set maintenance intervals designed to keep trucks operating at optimal efficiency.

However, there are a few other ways that your operation benefits from well-maintained trucks.

  • Fewer CSA violations: One of the tangible benefits of a systematic maintenance program is that it is likely to catch problems and allow you to fix them before they can be discovered during a roadside inspection. The thing to remember here is that once an inspector finds one problem, he or she is on high alert that there may be other problems. This will result in a more thorough — and time consuming — inspection that will keep your truck off the road longer. And that doesn’t even factor in any fines that may be assessed.
  • Lower towing/roadside repair bills: On-the-road breakdowns are the costliest, both in terms of actual dollars and lost time. It takes time for a tow truck or mobile service truck to get to the site of the downed truck, and the cost-per-hour of emergency roadside assistance is usually higher than standard shop hourly rates. In addition, your truck may have to be towed to a shop that you are not familiar with, depending on where the breakdown occurs. This can add concern about the shop capabilities and the quality of the repair
  • Happier drivers: Drivers want to drive. They don’t want to sit at the side of the road with a broken down truck or wait while an inspector goes over the rig with a fine-tooth comb after finding the first CSA violation. Your drivers will be happier when they are moving down the road. Given the shortage of drivers, anything you can do to keep drivers happy aids in retention.
  • Better fuel economy: A recent study by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency found that well-maintained trucks can expect a 5-10% improvement in fuel economy.
  • Increased resale value: While there are no firm statistics, anecdotal evidence has shown that having records to prove consistent maintenance was performed on a truck results in buyers being willing to pay more for a used truck.

Next time you are looking at what it costs you to maintain your trucks, take a minute to remind yourself of some of the less obvious ways maintenance helps you to be more efficient and profitable.

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