Why 2020 showed telematics are necessary going forward

One thing that every trucking company has in common, no matter the size, is dealing with truck repairs.

It’s a cost that can’t be avoided, but can be minimized if dealt with at the right time. However, not only is truck maintenance and/or repairs costly but throughout the last couple of years, the costs for each have begun to trend upward.

In 2020, the trend only continued, as the cost for truck repairs hit a record high. In quarter 3, specifically, the cost of mechanical repairs flew up to $500, which is the highest amount that’s ever been recorded, according to a report by FleetNet America.

To put the increasing costs into perspective, the previous record high was $407 and was reported in February 2019. 

In fact, from 2008 to 2018, there’s been a 66 percent increase in repair and maintenance cost per mile. 

With the cost of maintenance exponentially increasing each quarter in 2020, that does not fare well for costs in 2021. 

But why does the cost continue to grow? The increase is due to a variety of reasons. One of which is the kind of truck you have.

For owners of older trucks, you may be paying more because you have more failing parts. While for newer truck owners, you may be paying more because your truck has more sophisticated technology, making it harder to repair. 

Either way, it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation. And to add insult to injury, the infrastructure in the United States, or lack thereof, also doesn’t do truckers any favors.

In 2018, the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) conducted a survey of its members, where they found that OOIDA members spend about $5,000 annually on damage repairs caused by suboptimal road conditions. 

Another factor that impacts a truck’s need for repair is miles driven. The fact is, the more miles you drive, the more often you’ll find yourself needing maintenance or repairs.

According to the American Transportation Research Institute’s 2019 Operational Costs of Trucking (ATRI) report, “increased mileage directly impacts preventative maintenance and repairs on equipment.”

In 2019, there was a 2.7 percent increase in miles driven, which comes after yet another 2 percent increase the year prior, per the ATRI report. 

It’s also important to remember that the brunt of the cost increases is mostly felt by small and medium-sized fleets. Per the ATRI 2020 report, “Repair and maintenance costs are also dependent on fleet size. Large fleets typically have their own maintenance facilities which can mean lower costs as opposed to using outside providers for repair and maintenance.”

So, what can be done by companies to make sure that they minimize costly repairs? Prevention.

By preventing issues from happening, or at least from becoming worse, small to medium-sized companies can potentially save thousands annually. 

One preventive measure that has grown in popularity in recent years is truck diagnostics or telematics. By utilizing truck diagnostics, companies are able to scan and diagnose their vehicles, allowing them to make the appropriate repairs in a timely manner.

With this convenient function, companies can interpret fault codes, which they can use to detect and solve issues affecting their vehicles. They also have access to key vehicle parameters such as fuel economy, fuel usage, fuel level, idle time, driving time, battery voltage, engine oil pressure, coolant temperature, and much more. 

Truck diagnostics can ultimately play a pivotal role moving forward for companies looking to lower their repair and maintenance costs. By keeping track of your truck’s various key parameters, they can make decisions before they become costly.

In the case of GPSTab, powered by UTECH, truck diagnostic data can be easily accessed in the app’s admin portal. 

GPSTab is a comprehensive suite of tools to manage a trucking operation of any size. Developed by Chicago-based UTECH Inc., the solution allows carriers to leverage accurate and relevant data to improve safety and efficiency throughout their fleet.

If you’d like to learn more about GPSTab’s truck diagnostic capabilities, you can visit our website here.

So, what do you think about truck diagnostics and the increasing costs of repairs and maintenance? Let us know in the comments or on social media!