Top 10 Fleet Maintenance Costs (and 5 Ways to Reduce Them)
Running a truck-driven operation in today’s market presents several challenges on and off the road. With the growing driver shortages and rising fuel and vehicle parts costs, companies globally are reevaluating their trucking needs to keep their bottom line under control.
Transporting goods from point A to point B requires fully operational, roadworthy trucks, and the cost of maintaining a class 8 trucking fleet is on the rise. From engines and brakes to lighting and fuel systems, trucks are highly complex machines that need constant service and maintenance.
As a driving specialist with partners in transportation and logistics-driven industries, MASA has a 360-degree scope of truck driving and fleet maintenance scope. We have worked closely with companies hiring specialist drivers and the people behind the wheel to develop cost-effective operations.
So, let us highlight the top 10 highest costs associated with fleet maintenance and discuss five ways your company can reduce them for a higher ROI.
Top 10 highest fleet maintenance costs
As you’re well aware, running a fleet is an expensive business, especially if you have class 8 vehicles on the road. You must keep an eye on fuel, regular repairs, servicing costs, and hidden expenses. If left unchecked, these costs can quickly add up and cause even a well-managed fleet to lose its competitive edge.
According to a report by Fleet Advantage, the top 10 highest fleet maintenance costs include:
- Tires, tubes, liners, and valves (43% of total maintenance and repair costs)
- Preventive maintenance (12%)
- Brakes (9%)
- Expendable items (8%)
- Exhaust system (6%
- Fuel system (6%)
- Lighting system (5%)
- Cranking system (5%)
- Power plant (3%)
- Engines/motor systems (3%)
As you can see from the list, a disproportionate amount of money goes towards maintaining and repairing the tires of class 8 vehicles. Tires are a well-known wear item, with speed and road conditions being critical factors in tire wear.
The rest of the cost percentages may look small, but their combined numbers can add up to a hefty price tag every season. For example, preventative maintenance or servicing is a high fleet maintenance cost that appears regularly on the balance sheet. Instead of waiting for a truck to break down, companies can schedule monthly or quarterly service appointments to inspect, address, and repair it before issues become more severe.
Other core components like brakes, fuel systems, and engines all operate under the hood but are essential for the daily operations of a vehicle. Without these functions, a truck could break down just as easily as any other car. On the other hand, lighting systems outside a vehicle can create road safety issues and costly traffic violations if fleet managers do not inspect and maintain them consistently.
5 ways to reduce fleet maintenance costs
With all these maintenance costs considered, one can see how the initial cost of a truck is only a part of the total expense of owning and operating an entire fleet. There are numerous more factors in fleet maintenance, including hidden costs for unforeseen repairs, towing, and cargo damage.
How do you keep track of it all? This brings us to our first actionable tip for cutting fleet maintenance expenditure:
1. Track and analyse your fleet’s costs
If your goal is to save as much money as possible on fleet maintenance while maintaining a high-quality operation, it is vital to monitor your fleet’s costs closely. By pulling in data from multiple platforms, companies can gain full visibility across their fleets and identify ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses.
Fleet managers often lose sight of cost trends that keep getting out of control. There may be a budget in place, but that may not include the total expenses involved in running a fleet, especially with unexpected repairs thrown into the mix.
You can also analyse your expenses in multiple ways to identify where costs are rising or falling and the opportunities to decrease your fleet’s operating expenses. Cost analysis also provides an in-depth snapshot of your fleet, enabling you to compare costs across the whole fleet and make proactive servicing and preventative maintenance decisions.
2. Develop a maintenance strategy
As previously stated, one of your highest variable costs is preventative maintenance. Creating strategies to reduce service costs is one of the most effective ways to improve your bottom line.
Taking a proactive approach to maintenance by adhering to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance plan ensures that your vehicles remain in good operating condition. Creating service reminders in software alerts you to upcoming service tasks, allowing you to stay on top of routine maintenance tasks.
Proactively managing routine and unplanned maintenance tasks saves money and extend your vehicle’s life. By taking care of any issues as soon as they arise, you can avoid escalating problems and high repair costs.
3. Upgrade outdated parts
Replacing old parts is one way to give an old vehicle new life. This will lower your vehicle’s maintenance costs and allow you to get more kilometres out of it before replacing it. The initial replacement cost is often a worthy investment compared to buying a new vehicle or paying for costly repairs.
We also recommend that you conduct parts inventory management methods into your fleet’s maintenance schedule to ensure that the correct details are in the right place at the right time. Having the proper inventory for your vehicles helps ensure they spend less time in the service, that regularly used parts are always available and that you reduce the number of rarely used or obsolete parts.
4. Replace old vehicles
While proper vehicle maintenance will prolong the life of your vehicle, it will not last forever. It will eventually cost more to maintain an old truck than to replace it. Tracking and analysing fleet maintenance costs alongside regular servicing can help you understand how much you’re spending on vehicle upkeep and know when it’s time to replace them.
5. Hire qualified drivers
A truck does not drive itself; it takes a driver’s skill to steer, control, and operate the vehicle safely. While there is inevitable damage that trucks can incur, how a particular driver operates the truck can make a difference.
Wear and tear on the tires and brakes are two of the top three expenses in the list of maintenance costs above, and driving methods impact them both. Qualified drivers receive training to improve their ability to control speed, turn corners without limited tire skidding, and brake correctly. Defensive driving tactics and safety controls are hallmarks of qualified drivers, and companies must ensure they hire the best people to operate their vehicles.
Hiring managers can effectively verify and ensure a driver’s qualifications by checking their licensing, references, and background. You can learn more about the value of licensing, experience and risk mitigation from our team.
Extra pro-tip: Manage your warranties
Good warranty management is a lesser-known but great opportunity for cost savings in fleet management. It’s critical to keep up with warranties, so you don’t have to pay for parts or services that are already covered; otherwise, you could be wasting money.
Driving with the best
Fleet maintenance is a critical investment for any company concerned with saving costs, increasing stakeholder satisfaction, and growing its business for the long run. Taking action on the tips discussed in this blog will ensure that your fleet operates at peak efficiency while keeping a healthy bottom line.
Hiring qualified, skilled drivers is yet another vital investment your organisation can make to increase the reliability and cost-effectiveness of your operations. By partnering with MASA, you can rest assured knowing you have the best drivers behind the wheel and outsourcing specialists on call as needed.
Contact us today to learn more about temporary and permanent drivers for hire.