roadside assistance

In trucking, uptime is critical, and no one wants to experience unscheduled maintenance, especially if it occurs while a driver is on the road. Unfortunately, mechanical failures happen, and when they do, keeping drivers and maintenance technicians providing emergency roadside services safe is the top priority.

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No one wants to experience a roadside breakdown, but machinery can fail, even at the most inopportune time. When motor carriers and drivers find themselves needing emergency breakdown services, speed is critical.

Penske’s 24/7 Roadside Assistance has 12,000+ emergency providers to respond to drivers’ needs day or night. Plus, the call center is staffed by experienced, in-house Penske personnel who have detailed knowledge of trucks and understand the specific problems drivers may be experiencing.

Vehicles are repaired within a short amount of time, and if more lengthy repairs are necessary, Penske provides a rental or substitute vehicle.

Pre- and Post-Trip Inspections Are Essential

The ultimate goal is to prevent a roadside event from occurring in the first place, and drivers play an essential role in reducing over-the-road breakdowns. Thorough pre-and post-trip inspections can ensure trucks are in good working condition before they hit the highway.

Drivers should look for leaks, damage, operable lights, properly secured cargo, sagging equipment and anything else that seems out of place. Common problems drivers may find include damaged lights, cracked windshields, faded placards, and chaffed light cords and hoses. Drivers should also pay particular attention to tire pressure. If drivers have any concerns about tire pressure, they can stop at a Penske location so technicians can inspect their tires.

Additionally, when drivers fuel at a Penske location, the customer service representatives who fuel the truck also walk around the truck and check the vehicle to ensure headlights and taillights are working and mudflaps are in good condition, which can prevent issues on the road.

Timely PMs Help Drive Uptime

Penske focuses on preventive maintenance (PM) to help increase vehicle uptime and strives to have trucks go from one PM event to the next PM event without ever having to come back. Penske Truck Leasing follows a rigorous maintenance schedule for customers that includes using advanced system analytics to identify potential failures before they occur.

With dynamic preventive maintenance, 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 base of knowledge that allows technicians to customize maintenance.

Access Help

If a roadside breakdown occurs, help is just a call or a click away. Drivers and carriers can call 1-800-526-0798 or take advantage of digital fleet tools that offer instant visibility.

With Fleet Insight™, Penske’s secure website for fleet data, and the Fleet Insight™ mobile app, carriers can submit 24/7 roadside assistance requests and view real-time updates. They can track breakdown and repair details, see detailed charges for easy verification, identify and address recurring issues, and predict downtime more accurately.

With the Penske Driver™ app, drivers can submit and get real-time updates on roadside assistance requests and remain updated on the status of service, avoiding future phone calls. They can also use the app to check in for service at Penske locations and find rental, leasing, service, parking and fueling locations.

If drivers experience a roadside event (such as a breakdown or maintenance issue) within 40 miles of a Penske location, they can contact the location directly rather than contacting 24/7 Roadside Assistance— saving a step in the process and speeding up service. Locations are equipped with technicians and roadside assistance vehicles to serve drivers faster.

Roadside repairs can be costly, delay drivers and result in missed deliveries. Data collected as part of the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council/FleetNet America Vertical Benchmarking Program found fleets averaged 29,506 miles of operation between unscheduled road repairs in the first quarter of 2021, down 18.7% from the fourth quarter of 2020.

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As the chief financial officer of Foundation Building Materials, a building material distributor with a network of branches across the country, John Gorey needs to ensure the company is providing high levels of service while also managing costs and mitigating risks. Gorey has turned to leasing through Penske Truck Leasing to get and keep trucks on the road and protect the company's balance sheet. Gorey said one of the key benefits of leasing is minimizing risks, both operationally and financially.

Proper Maintenance

According to Gorey, "For delivery situations, your risk if your truck isn't maintained properly is you miss your delivery windows." He added that breakdowns wreak havoc on on-time deliveries. "We measure on-time deliveries. We think it is important for retention of customers."

Meeting delivery windows also allows the company to reduce the risk of fees associated with a missed delivery. "If a customer has a crew waiting four to five hours, he will back charge us for his time," stated Gorey.

Equipment Uptime

What's more, ensuring equipment uptime saves staff time, as nearly everyone in the company – from a dispatcher to the driver – is affected if equipment goes down. "It cuts a lot of back-end time from our dispatchers and our managers," Gorey said.

Roadside Assistance

With a lease, if equipment does fail, Gorey emphasized Penske responds quickly to get a truck back online so the company isn't late for a delivery. "We have fewer issues with our equipment. We rely on Penske to get out to our tractor and they can fix it."

Substitute Vehicles

If more than a roadside repair is needed, Penske Truck Leasing provides a replacement vehicle. "They are always responsive to get us a new substitute tractor," Gorey explained, adding that without the lease, he'd have to maintain backup equipment and hire an independent mechanic, which would add costs.

Predictable Costs

Understanding and knowing costs in advance helps Gorey minimize the financial risk the company faces. "We've established what the financing costs are so there is is less concern about what the costs are going to be," he said, adding that the lease also gives him insight into maintenance costs. "They are more visible and we mitigate any big, large maintenance problems."

The Bottom Line

For Gorey, leasing also has benefits on the balance sheet. "We record the leases as operating leases. This keeps the financing off the balance sheet and improves our debt position."

Improved Safety

Equipment that isn't operating properly or being maintained can lead to accidents and injuries, which is why Gorey said he values the safety component Penske Truck Leasing brings to the table. "We want to make sure we have all of our safety measures in place each time our trucks leave our yard."

Improved Compliance

If equipment isn't properly maintained, a fleet runs the risk of equipment-related violations being found during roadside inspections. Those violations can have a negative effect on fleet operators' scores under the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program.

Inspections and Regulations

In addition to ensuring equipment is maintained, Penske helps Foundation Building Materials manage its DOT inspections, Gorey said.

Penske also monitors federal and state regulations to ensure equipment meets all the standards. "[Penske] helps us keep up with our fleet."

Penske's 24/7 roadside assistance is available to full-service leasing and contract maintenance customers any time, day or night.

Our experts are equipped with everything they need to protect your vehicles, drivers, and cargo. We handle breakdowns, flat tires, towing, accident remediation, emergency permitting and more. Take a look and see how Penske can help you.

Qualified Call Center Specialists

Penske works with the most qualified vendors to handle every need our customers have when they're unable to stay on the road and on schedule, from load transfer to towing to repair.

And we'll keep you and your driver informed throughout the process. Some of the ways call center specialists help our customers include:

  • Ensuring the driver and product are safe
  • Identifying the problem and dispatching emergency roadside assistance
  • Communicating with you and your driver and providing online visibility of road call status
  • Providing a comparable substitute delivery vehicle if needed
  • Putting drivers back on the road, typically within two hours

Roadside Assistance Tracking with Fleet Insight™

Penske operators begin logging roadside assists as soon as they get that first call. Their detailed reports keep you informed of the changing status. With Fleet Insight, our online suite of fleet management tools, you can:

  • See ongoing call updates
  • Track breakdown and repair details
  • See detailed charges for easy verification
  • Identify and address recurring issues
  • Predict downtime more accurately