In the past few years fleet operation and maintenance costs have increased significantly.  A report by TMC Benchmark found parts and labor were up by 15.3%; parts costs increased by 15.8% and labor expenses rose by 14.6%. If your shop is in the western U.S., then that increase was as much as 10% above that.

Number like these can have a profound affect on your company’s bottom line. But there are steps you can take to mitigate how much of a hit your budget will take.

Keeping Fleet Maintenance Costs Down

Maintenance2Determine what to repair and what to replace. Do a thorough inspection of all your trucks. Paying careful attention to any elements or concerns that will need work done. Then compare what it will cost to repair and maintain the truck versus what it be to replace it with a new(er) vehicle. Often, it will be more budget friendly to replace the truck than to make numerous repairs.

Determine the cost of downtime.

How much does it cost you when you are not on the road? Building a relationship with these providers. This will result in quicker service and keep your trucks on the road.

Buy in bulk.

Keep basic supplies such as oil, octane boost, filters, etc. on hand by purchasing in bulk. You can set up an account with AMSOIL, through Lifetime Oil and save time and money.

Develop a Preventative Maintenance Plan.

Keep up with oil changes, replace air filters, get tires rotated, and other tasks. These tasks help catch small problems before they become large ones. There are a plethora of apps and record keeping programs all designed to help you track maintenance. Find one that works for you and be intentional in using it.

Get repairs done right, the first time.

Work with a reputable garage or mechanic so you know repairs or replacements will be done right, and on time.

Communicate often with your drivers.

Keep everyone updated. Frequent communication about schedules, maintenance, and other responsibilities makes a difference. Be sure they are checking tire pressure, oil, etc. as requested so maintenance tasks can stay current.

Be intentional about your maintenance cycle.

Have a plan based on vehicle type, usage, operating conditions, and other factors. Then implement the schedule. Predictive maintenance will increase uptime because vehicle breakdown will be minimized.

Owning a trucking company means being intentional in how you maintain your fleet. After all, the goal is to keep trucks on the road, and supplies heading to the right locations. Being intentional about maintenance, having the needed supplies on hand, and taking advantage of the tech tools available will make a big difference. Do your part to stay in the black so your trucks can stay om the road.