In a market with tight capacity, stringent hours-of-service requirements and high expectations of on-time deliveries, drivers can’t afford to be stranded by the side of the road. However, the number of roadside breakdowns that fleets experienced in the first quarter of the year increased 21 percent when compared with the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the Truckload Vertical Benchmarking Study from American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council and FleetNet America.
The study found that the top-performing best-in-class fleets reported a breakdown every 33,809 miles, and the lowest performer had a breakdown every 8,085 miles. The report also found that more than half of the repairs, 58 percent, were related to tires, lighting, brakes, exhaust systems and wheels/rims/hubs/bearings.
Penske Truck Leasing is reducing the number of roadside breakdowns its customers experience through a combination of dynamic preventive maintenance and the use of data, which enables maintenance technicians, drivers and private fleets to take action before a problem occurs.
Through the use of dynamic preventive maintenance routines, technicians can adjust inspections based on failure rates and a vehicle’s history. Penske Truck Leasing captures and analyzes maintenance and vehicle data throughout its entire fleet, creating a thorough knowledge base that allows technicians to identify problems early and prevent more extensive issues.
Mike Hasinec, vice president of maintenance support at Penske Truck Leasing, said technicians are proactive and change PMs based on the age of the vehicle as well as the region of the country where the vehicle operates. Today’s vehicles also have a large amount of data coming off of them from engine control modules and telematics devices. As data comes in and is compiled, Penske Truck Leasing assembles failure rates, which can allow technicians to adjust PMs to have more predictive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance. Penske also works with equipment manufacturers to create a product improvement campaign on certain parts that are failing prematurely.
The use of data also leads to more efficient service because technicians can prioritize fault codes and schedule repairs based on their significance. Penske has taken more than 1,000 fault codes and categorized them into red, yellow and green to help technicians, drivers and fleets understand which codes need immediate attention and which can be addressed at a more convenient time.
If a roadside repair is necessary, Penske Truck Leasing offers 24/7 repair as well as replacement vehicles if required, keeping drivers on the road and minimizing downtime.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently held a brake symposium to underscore the need for proper brake maintenance. CVSA said several recent studies demonstrated the need for the symposium. For example, during last year’s Brake Safety Day, 14 percent of all inspections conducted during the one-day event resulted in a commercial motor vehicle being placed out of service for brake-related violations.
In addition, out-of-adjustment brakes and brake-system violations combine to represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for commercial motor vehicles on the road, CVSA said. Plus, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that brakes were a factor in 29 percent of all the crashes investigated.