Keeping your trucks in peak condition is no easy feat. It is, however, vital for safety and compliance. Studies suggest that many transport operators are taking risks with their maintenance. For example, a recent study in the UK and Ireland found almost 40% of HGV drivers never do walk around checks on their vehicles at all, while another 16% said they rarely do so.1
Of course, maintenance also represents a cost in itself. So, there are two key cost challenges here: efficiently maintaining your fleet to extend its lifetime and to control the amount you spend on doing so.
This article will discuss why it’s a challenge, show the factors that drive up maintenance costs and offer guidance on what you can do to extend a vehicle’s lifetime, maintain its value, avoid downtime and, ultimately, reduce the cost of ownership.
A growing cost and a lack of visibility
In a recent study, KPMG identified the increasing cost of maintenance as a key contributing factor towards the overall increasing cost of ownership for truck companies. As trucks become more sophisticated, maintaining them in peak condition also becomes more complex and expensive.
The driver shortage is another big factor. Currently, 150,000 driving positions are unfilled across Europe and 60,000 unfilled in the United States.2 As a result, some operators trust less experienced drivers, and therefore vehicles experience less efficient driving and more wear and tear. Of greater concern, KPMG found that fleet managers struggle to estimate how much maintenance is actually costing them – only 32% could accurately provide figures for their maintenance costs.3
Factors that increase fleet repair and maintenance costs
INEFFICIENT MAINTENANCE PROCESSES
Uncoordinated scheduling and inconsistent vehicle and tyre checks directly increase the likelihood of costly downtime and a greater spend on truck maintenance further down the line.
Drivers taking risks, braking heavily, accelerating unnecessarily or behaving unsafely on the road will take its toll on various parts of your vehicle. Wear and tear build up over time and lead to higher repair costs.
LATE DETECTION OF DAMAGE
Even if you schedule regular maintenance checks, unless you have visibility over issues as soon as they emerge, there’s a risk small faults can be left to develop into major problems that require serious, high-cost repairs.
While replacing tyres will, at some point, be necessary for any vehicle owner, extending the lifetime of existing tyres will help lower the overall spend.
So, these are the factors that are driving up repair and maintenance costs for transport companies. But what can you do to get them under control? Our latest guide, created in collaboration with Bridgestone, is here to help. Cutting Transport Fleet Costs puts the issue of fleet cost under the microscope. Get it free here.
If you are interested in more cost-saving tips here are a few recommended articles:
- 3 ways geofencing can cut costs for your fleet
- 3 ways to manage fuel consumption
- Benefits of fleet management technology
- Save money and time on the road with a real time vehicle tracking system
HGV Drivers Failing to Carry Out Walkaround Checks Says Survey – Commercial Fleet (2020)
Truck Driver Shortage Crisis Now Spreading Across the Whole of Europe – British Freight Association (2018)
Re-evaluating the Total Cost of Truck Fleet Ownership – KPMG (2016)