Maintenance and repair costs rise: Find someone to help you manage them

Nov. 6, 2017
Repair and maintenance costs were up in 2016 according to ATRI's An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2017 Update.

Repair and maintenance costs were up in 2016 according to the American Transportation Research Institute’s An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2017 Update.

Whether you measure your cost by the mile or the hour, you paid more for maintenance and repair in 2016 than you did in 2015. Average cost per mile for maintenance and repair was 16.6 cents per mile and $6.65 an hour, according to ATRI.

To put this in context, the average cost per mile to operate a truck including both vehicle-based (fuel costs, truck/trailer lease or purchase payments, repair & maintenance, truck insurance premiums, permits and licenses, tires and tolls) and driver-based costs (driver wages, driver benefits) is $1.59 or $63.66 per hour

ATRI has been studying truck operating costs since 2008 when maintenance and repair cost 10.3 cents per mile or $4.11 per hour. Maintenance and repair now account for 10% of a fleet’s total average marginal costs. That number was 6% in 2008.

Some of the increase can be attributed to the fact that the average miles driven for trucks rose to 103,945 in 2016 from 80,868. More miles mean more wear and tear on the vehicle. In addition, the complexity of today’s trucks cost more to maintain and repair, according to the ATRI report.

Since maintenance and repair costs are a significant portion of a fleet’s operating costs selecting the right outside maintenance and repair provider becomes even more important.

You need to look for someone that understands your operation, can assist you in ensuring PM service is done as scheduled and can do what is necessary to lessen the possibility of an on the road breakdown since those are the most expensive to repair.

When looking at outside providers, remember to ask them about what they are doing to increase the efficiency of their maintenance and repair operation. Are they taking advantage of any group purchasing of parts? Are their techs properly trained so diagnosis and repair happens both quickly and in an organized manner? How have they improved their communication process to reduce time wasted waiting for approvals?

Vehicle maintenance and repair are not going to go away. You want find a service provider that can help you manage that 10% of your costs and maybe even bring it down, if only by a little.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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