Extended warranties: A tradeoff is downtime

Jan. 27, 2017
When purchasing extended and exercising warranties you have to accept it could be up to 50% longer for scheduling and communication.

Now, what you get when you purchase extended warranties is what you may not expect. You do get somewhat of controlled expenses prepaid and conforms to some level budget pressures. What might not be considered is that you have to work though the dealer on most, if not all, the repairs.

The repairs need to go to the dealer, 3 miles or 40 miles down the road, or en-route repairs, if required. You have to schedule the vehicle in their shop, you are subject to their work load, their hours of operation, their technician capacity, their management style, their communication, their approval process, their incidental costs that are not covered, their impurities, their staffing, their parts availability, their, their, their.

So when purchasing extended and exercising warranties, i.e. prepaid maintenance insurance, you have to accept it could be up to 50% longer for scheduling and communication as compared to your own ability to manage downtime in your own facility making your own repairs. It often is at least a day – maybe two – to get into the dealer service bay, internal technician juggling for preferred customers, waiting for approval, technical support, and the days waiting to have the truck picked up or the cost of shuttling.

In some cases, some dealers are aggressive and customer friendly with pickup and delivery or onsite mobile truck – maybe for a cost, though. The plus side of the equation is if you were trained and had the staff, there is still a huge chance that the dealer would be generally more efficient than the fleet, especially in the area of emissions and aftertreatment, which is still in the young years of limited knowledge and experience.

In my opinion, when any fleet chooses this program, inherently they approved additional out-of-service time investment as opposed to staffing, shop management expertise, and accepted those additional “DAYS DOWN.” This maybe more acceptable than managing costs of peaks and valleys, or the fight. The cost associated with common failures, warranty money becomes a passion to get the invested value back, sometimes with hidden costs of downtime. Choose and manage the best program for your fleet.

Buyers beware.

About the Author

Darry Stuart | President

Darry Stuart has more than 45 years of experience in the transportation industry. As President/ CEO of DWS Fleet Management Services, he has been providing “Limited Time Executive" services in transportation and fleet equipment management to a variety of companies.

An ASE-certified master technician, Stuart began his career on the shop floor before moving on to fleet management executive positions at Perdue Chicken, BFI (Browning-Ferris Industries), United Truck Leasing, the  Keen  Companies, and Cumberland Farms/Gulf Oil.

For 35 years, Stuart has been an active member of the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) of the American Trucking Assns., serving as the group’s general chairman from 2007-2008. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including TMC's Silver Spark Plug, which is given in recognition of an individual's outstanding contributions to the cause of excellence in heavy-duty vehicle maintenance management. He has been cited as an industry expert or authored over  250 articles on equipment and fleet management topics.

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