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Cost-Saving Strategies For Heavy-Duty Truck Fleet Maintenance

Fleet maintenance costs are rising due to tech advancements, labor shortages, inflation, and parts scarcity. Save costs with oil grade and tire retreading.
July 31, 2023
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5 min
Heavy-Duty Truck Fleet Maintenance

Did you know that maintenance and repair costs made up a hefty 8% to 10% of a fleet's average marginal cost per mile over the past decade? And that's not all — fuel costs range from a substantial 21% to 39% of that cost per mile, taking up most of the average fleet maintenance cost, with tires following suit. 

As fleet maintenance costs continue to rise year over year due to factors like advancing technology, increased labor shortages, soaring inflation, and ongoing parts shortages, cost-saving strategies have become more crucial than ever. If you’re looking to protect your bottom line and succeed in this challenging landscape, cost-saving strategies like switching to a lower-viscosity engine oil grade and implementing a tire retread program can help you gain the upper hand. 

What is Fleet Maintenance?

Fleet maintenance refers to the comprehensive management of fleet vehicles to ensure they're operating at optimal performance levels. This involves regular inspections, repairs, and maintenance to maximize efficiency, minimize downtime, and ultimately, reduce operating costs. Think of it as your fleet's health plan — it keeps those engines roaring and those tires rolling for miles on end.

Cost-Saving Strategies for Truck Fleet Maintenance

Switch to a Lower-viscosity Engine Oil Grade

Let's debunk a long-standing myth in the industry: thicker engine oil viscosity levels don't necessarily guarantee better engine protection for heavy-duty diesel engines. In fact, with today's advanced engines, you have every reason to embrace lower-viscosity engine oils, such as CK-4 10W-30 or, if you own a 2017 model or newer, FA-4 lubricants

These oils boast remarkable fuel-economy improvements of up to 1% in a lab environment and potentially 1-2% in real fleet operations, especially in conditions with frequent stopping and starting and extreme temperatures. So, don't be afraid to take the leap and embrace the modern magic of lower-viscosity oils for your fleet.

Retread Your Tires

Did you know that tires account for about 1% of the total cost per mile of operating a truck? That may not sound like much, but when you crunch the numbers, it works out to about 4-5 cents per mile. It's no surprise that tire purchase and maintenance costs rank among the top expenses for truck and fleet owners. 

Thankfully, fuel-efficient retreads are a cost-effective strategy to reduce your tire investments. These retreads not only lower tire costs but also lessen your fleet's carbon footprint. With lower rolling resistance, they require less energy to roll at the same speed as other tires, translating into reduced fuel consumption. Plus, they extend the lifespan of the casing and retread by producing less heat. A win-win for your wallet and the environment!

Install Real-Time Tractor & Trailer Telematics

In this digital age, harnessing the power of technology and data analytics can be a game-changer for fleet maintenance. Telematics and advanced software solutions provide real-time insights into your trucks' health and performance, enabling you to make data-driven decisions. Tracking key metrics such as fuel efficiency, engine health, and maintenance schedules helps identify areas for improvement and implement targeted cost-saving measures. 

Advanced telematics can automatically adjust trailer tire inflation based on load throughout the day, optimizing fuel economy and tire life. Some can even detect 'thermal events' that could lead to fires, allowing you to intervene before disaster strikes, saving you hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential damages. 

Plus, with telematics and routing software, you can eliminate routing inefficiencies, reducing fuel consumption and optimizing routes. By embracing the power of data, you'll be steering your fleet towards a more efficient and economical future.

Focus on Diagnostics

In the world of heavy-duty truck fleet maintenance, knowledge is power. Embrace the wonders of remote, telematics-based diagnostics solutions that notify you of prioritized fault codes and recommend solutions to resolve issues. This proactive communication helps you filter out the noise and optimize equipment use and health, keeping your fleet in tip-top shape and avoiding costly breakdowns and repairs. 

If opting for remote diagnostics software is too expensive for your business, regular in-shop diagnostics is just as effective. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, especially when it comes to your assets.

The Power of Preventive Maintenance

Now that we've covered some cutting-edge cost-saving strategies, let's not forget the timeless cost-cutting service of preventive maintenance. Just like a regular check-up at the doctor's office keeps you in top-notch health, regular inspections and maintenance routines are vital for your fleet's longevity and performance. Proactively replacing worn parts, addressing minor issues before they escalate, and sticking to a strict maintenance schedule will save you from costly repairs down the road.

Invest in Quality Parts and Equipment

When it comes to fleet maintenance, it's essential not to compromise on quality. Opting for cheap, subpar parts may seem like a cost-saving measure upfront, but it can lead to higher expenses in the long run. High-quality parts and equipment ensure better performance, reliability, and durability, reducing the frequency of repairs and replacements. Just keep in mind that investing in OEM-quality components may require a bit more upfront, but it pays off in the form of prolonged service life and smoother operations.

Find the Right Repair Shop

Your fleet is only as good as the technicians maintaining it. Properly trained and skilled technicians are essential for diagnosing issues accurately, performing effective repairs, and ensuring the safety and efficiency of your heavy-duty trucks. Invest in a heavy-duty fleet maintenance shop that offers continuous training and development for the maintenance team in charge of your fleet, one that keeps them up-to-date with the latest technologies and best practices. Knowledgeable technicians can catch potential problems early on and resolve them swiftly, saving you time, money, and headaches.

Final Words 

By implementing cost-saving strategies for heavy-duty truck fleet maintenance, you’ll revolutionize your operations and boost your savings. From switching to lower-viscosity engine oils and embracing fuel-efficient retreads to harnessing real-time telematics, focusing on diagnostics, and embracing the power of preventive maintenance, your fleet is poised for peak performance and efficiency.


Hayden Mathews

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