5 Truck Maintenance Tips to Reduce Breakdowns for Your Fleet

Posted in Fleet Maintenance on April 20, 2015

It's no secret that truck breakdowns are expensive. Reducing the costs of those breakdowns is a priority for most fleet managers. A good place to start is by looking at hidden breakdown costs, the number of breakdowns/unscheduled service events and the cost of breakdowns.

You may think you understand all the costs of a truck breakdown, but you're likely overlooking some key expenses. Make sure you're factoring in the following: cost of rental/safety stock, decreased driver productivity, overtime pay, towing costs, customer delivery penalties and missed warranty recovery opportunities.

The following five tips will help you reduce the number and severity of truck breakdowns, and therefore the cost of breakdowns.

#1. Improve Your Preventive Maintenance (PM) Programs

Good preventive maintenance is the best line of defense against truck breakdowns. By setting up automated maintenance alerts and notifications, you'll always know when it's time for each asset's needed PM. Incorporate the OEM's recommended PM intervals including calendar time, engine hours or mileage based on your application.

Remember, when it comes to maintenance, more frequent PM intervals may be required if your assets have severe duty cycles. Closely track and manage your PM currency. Don't rely on manual data updates and spreadsheets to track whether PMs have been completed.

An automated system tells you exactly when a scheduled PM is due and tracks when that PM service is completed. If you decide to defer a scheduled maintenance event, your system should capture it as a pending operation, reminding you that the needed maintenance is still outstanding.

#2. Bundle Service Events Whenever Possible

At the point of service for each asset, during any scheduled or unscheduled service events, you should be able to quickly see PMs that are currently due or coming due, deferred/pending operations, and outstanding service campaigns and recalls. Completing all needed service while an asset is already in the shop means one less time you'll have to take the asset out of service.

#3. Don't Constantly Defer Truck Maintenance

While there may be pressure in some fleets to defer maintenance in order to “make the numbers,” at some point deferring maintenance results in more costly truck breakdowns. While deferring maintenance might make the numbers look good for that month or quarter, over the long-term breakdowns wipe out any gains from deferring maintenance.

#4. Leverage Fleet Reporting Data

Analyze the data you're collecting from fleet maintenance, third-party providers, OEMs and dealers to proactively schedule campaigns across common assets when component failure trends are spotted. This allows you to avoid future truck breakdowns or unscheduled service events.

#5. Use Telematics with Remote Diagnostics:

This allows you to manage diagnostic trouble codes (fault codes and engine lights) and tells you whether your driver needs to stop immediately to avoid big problems, or if the repair can be handled at the next stop or scheduled service event.

Take the Next Step

Review your most recent truck breakdowns to see which hidden costs you incurred and what you're already doing to reduce the frequency of breakdowns. Use the above suggestions to help get your breakdown costs under control.

What if you could reduce breakdowns and increase asset utilization using your current technology? Read this Tip Sheet to learn how to integrate telematics and service event management for a powerful combination that keeps your trucks rolling down the road.

Free Tip Sheet: 5 Ways Telematics Improves Your Maintenance and Repair Process

Topics: Fleet Maintenance