Motor carriers are holding onto used assets until new equipment arrives. Recently the wait has been taking longer than anticipated. Build slots for new trucks and trailers are filled through 2022 amid unprecedented demand for capacity and a manufacturing backlog caused by global shortages of chipsets and other materials.
Extending trade cycles create risks. The cost to maintain used equipment goes up after the factory and extended warranties expire in 36 to 48 months. Rather than roll the dice on maintenance costs, fleets can establish a budget and take proactive measures to avoid surprises.
Monitoring the wear rates of components like tires and brakes can help prevent costly mistakes like installing a new set of tires right before disposing of an asset.
If the plan is to keep a tractor for an additional 80,000 miles, for instance, a budget could be set to avoid changing tires for the remaining lifecycle. Current wear rates might show the tires have 100,000 miles remaining, in which case the truck could be assigned to a driver or freight lane with higher utilization. If the tires only had 70,000 miles remaining the truck could be assigned to an area with lower utilization.
Technology can also help fleets keep maintenance costs in line with budgets when extending asset lifecycles. Some telematics systems have reporting features that notify managers when maintenance activities are due based on dates, mileages, engine hours, and vehicle operating data.
One of the first reminders to setup is to schedule a detailed inspection of a vehicle’s engine, clutch, transmission, and other major components before a factory or extended warranty expires. This will inform the decision of whether to sell, trade, or extend an asset’s lifecycle.
Ongoing reminders can be set for activities such as tire rotations and oil changes based on mileage, and more advanced preventive maintenance (PM) services like component replacements and repairs can be tied to real-time data coming from engine and vehicle operating data.
Transflo Telematics, developed in partnership with Geotab, comes with several reporting features that can help fleets with budgeting and scheduling preventative maintenance to keep vehicles operating at peak health.
Fleets can set up reminder emails that report when preventive maintenance is due based on date, distance driven, or engine hours. The reminders are emailed to managers in a report that shows what type of service (oil change, tire rotation, etc.) needs to happen.
Transflo Telematics can also report engine fault codes to help troubleshoot and understand the severity of vehicle issues. The reports can be emailed daily or weekly to managers to proactively schedule vehicles in for service to prevent costly downtime.
Fleets can also setup instant notifications when more serious fault codes occur. Certain fault codes, like low oil pressure or low coolant, can also be sent automatically to a mechanic or a third-party fleet management company to take immediate action.
Using the latest technology to monitor vehicle maintenance more closely, especially for assets with extended trade cycles, can help prevent costly surprises. Fleet reports can track maintenance needs from a central location to give managers timely information to schedule preventive services and repairs to keep costs in line with budgets and maximize vehicle uptime.
Transflo is holding a free webinar with fleet experts who will offer practical information on how to improve vehicle, fleet, and driver performance using the latest advancements in ELD and telematics systems. The free Transflo webinar, “5 Genius Ideas to Use Your Data,” takes place Oct. 7, 2021 at 2 p.m. EST: You can register here.