Preventive maintenance inspections and PM service are a routine part of every fleet’s operation and are what help keep trucks on the road and out of the shop.
But data collected during PMs, and careful analysis of things like breakdowns between PM services, can also be leveraged to help you make decisions on when it’s time to trade in a vehicle.
On the surface, the age of a truck age may make the decision for you. You have a set trade cycle of 3, 4, 5 or 6 years and when a truck hits one of those benchmarks, out it goes.
And while age can be a good indicator of the condition of an asset, the data you analyze from your PM service actually can tell you a lot more about the true condition of a particular truck. You may be surprised to find that an older truck is costing you less to operate than a newer one.
For one thing, you can track how often the truck is back in the shop between PMs. Ideally, once a truck pulls out of the bay after a PM service is completed you shouldn’t be seeing it again until its next scheduled PM.
If a truck is coming into your shop frequently between its PM services, that could be an indication that it is time to retire it because not only is it costing you money, but it could also be costing your drivers aggravation who have little tolerance for trucks that breakdown when they have Hours of Service available to drive. You also run the risk of alienating customers if breakdowns cause you to miss delivery windows.
By looking at the parts consumption on a per truck basis, as well as labor hours spent on these repairs, you will be able to see trends among assets spec’d with certain components which will let you see just how many trucks you need to think of trading in.
All this data combined will give you an accurate picture of the health of each asset in your fleet and allow you to make asset replacement decisions based on facts rather than a set number of milestone years.
This means, however, that you will need to capture and analyze all of this data for each asset at each and every maintenance and repair event. A time commitment? You bet. Time well spent for your company, your drivers and your customers? Definitely!