Average roadside repair costs up 30% year over year

ARLINGTON, Va. – The average cost per roadside repair is up 30% year over year, but five systems account for almost 70% of the work – identifying where many fleets might want to focus their attention.

The findings emerge in data collected under a benchmarking program that involves a collaboration between FleeNet America and the American Trucking Associations’ Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC). Results from the first quarter this year were unveiled during a virtual TMC presentation hosted on Wednesday.

Miles between breakdowns vary by industry segment. (Screen capture: TMC)

About 140 Vehicle Maintenance Reporting Standards (VMRS) systems are tracked overall.

The average
roadside repair recorded by participating fleets cost $491 in the first quarter
of 2020, up from $378 in the first quarter of 2019.

Several
factors play a role in the increases, says Jim Buell, executive vice-president
of sales and marketing at FleetNet America.

Prices are
pushed higher by a technician shortage that is particularly prevalent when it
comes to the uncomfortable settings outside of shops, Buell said.

Equipment has
also become more complex, he added. Tire inflation systems, for example, need to
be removed before damaged tires can be accessed.

“I don’t
see this trend going away and I certainly don’t see it reversing,” Buell said
of the rising costs.

Tires continue to be the most frequently repaired systems. (Screen capture: TMC)

While there
was an average of 33,637 miles between breakdowns, the experience differed
widely depending on applications. Truckload dry van fleets, which have
participated in the service since it was launched in 2017, averaged 14,991
miles between breakdowns. Tank fleets saw an average of 21,591 miles, and LTL
fleets saw 55,407 miles.

Best-in-class
fleets also performed significantly better than the average participants. The
best truckload dry van fleet averaged 59,905 miles between breakdowns, with the
best LTL operation recording 61,856 miles, and the top tank fleet recording
26,033 miles.

“If one truckload
carrier can run 60,000 miles between an unscheduled breakdown, why can’t
everyone else running similar types of equipment, similar types of routes?” Buell
asked, referring to the importance of benchmarking. Even the 11% difference
seen between the best and average LTL fleet could deliver meaningful savings to
the bottom line.

Fleets averaged 33,637 between breakdowns in Q1, but LTL fared best. (Screen capture: TMC)

Tires were clearly
the most common repair, averaging 104,956 miles between repairs, followed by
brakes at 230,432 miles, lighting at 323,788 miles, power plants at 619,812
miles, and exhaust systems at 711,304 miles.

But there
are differences between applications, Buell said, noting that truckload
operations struggle more than their peers when it comes to lighting repairs.

In truckload
operations, the average miles between repairs included lighting (60,277 miles),
tires (76,883 miles), brakes (83,761 miles), exhaust systems (297,674 miles),
and power plants (299,208 miles). “Some of the lighting issues has to do with
foul weather, slush and snow penetrating the connectors,” he added, referring
to the need to check connectors during fall preventive maintenance work.

In the
less-than-truckload (LTL) segment, tires averaged 195,087 miles between
breakdowns, followed by brakes (323,806), power plants (646,345), and lighting
(842,557). The average cost per repair for the segment overall was $542.

For tanks,
the most frequent issues included tires at an average of 26,291 miles between
breakdowns, brakes (246,847 miles), cargo handling equipment such as valves (519,905
miles), exhaust systems (540,220), and lighting (640,882 miles).

Applications
with sleepers can face more exhaust system repairs when auxiliary power units
are unable to maintain comfortable temperatures inside the truck, requiring more
engine run time, he said.

No matter
how well a best-in-class fleet performs, Buell stressed they also benefit from
benchmarking. It’s because no operation is the best at everything.

Participants in the benchmarking program are asked to share all unscheduled roadside repairs, assure accurate coding, and provide International Fuel Tax Agreement mileage.

Published at Wed, 24 Jun 2020 18:54:31 +0000


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