Carriers are holding on to their trailers longer than they used to. The average is now a little more than 10 years. Keeping trailers longer increases the maintenance and repair costs of the trailers over time. Trailers are also spending more time on the road with 279,131 miles in 2014 versus 275,018 miles in 2013.
At the same time, the total cost of repair and maintenance (for tractor and trailer) has increased from $4.11 per hour in 2008 to $6.31 per hour in 2014. In addition, the total average marginal cost for maintenance and repairs increased from 6 percent to 9 percent since 2008.
With this increase in costs, it is even more important to perform maintenance based on trailer use rather than according to a calendar.
The Challenge Of Trailer Maintenance
Many carriers are still using antiquated methods of scheduling truck maintenance. They rely on a calendar, sending trailers for service every six months without considering how many miles that trailer traveled during that time. If the trailer traveled 20,000 miles over that time then it’s well overdue for maintenance and at risk of breakdown. But, if that trailer sat in a yard most of that time and has only 100 miles on it, then maintenance is not needed.
Servicing a trailer too often can increase expenses, between providing unnecessary maintenance and keeping your trailers off the road. On the other hand, not doing it often enough can increase liability and cost due to breakdowns and accidents.
Picking The Right Time
You need a better solution that allows you to keep your trailers on the road, making money, and out of maintenance bays. Using tracking software and preventive maintenance, you can track how far each trailer has traveled. This way you’re scheduling service based on usage instead of an arbitrary period of time.
Minimizing Downtime And Keeping Your Trailers On The Road
What happens when you have multiple maintenance options for long-haul trailers? Tracking the location of your trailers also allows you to select a maintenance depot based upon the trailer’s current location. Using this method, you can match trailer usage to a service depot that provides optimal turnaround times and/or lower costs. You can also avoid unnecessary miles on the trailer by not requiring it to return to one location for service. This can be especially useful for trailers that travel different seasonal routes, or run more miles during peak shipping times.