The True Cost of Low Tire Pressure on Fleet Trucks

Tire inflation is, to the surprise of many, one of the single most impactful metrics on the performance of a truck and a fleet across the board. It can have an incredible effect across the board in terms of performance, operating costs, and even safety. Unfortunately, most of those effects are at the fleet level and across the long term, so it's easy for individual drivers to ignore them for the time being, never knowing the full extent of the cost. Tires are one of the most expensive individual components of a truck, so treating them right is paramount to long-term success. Let's dig deeper into the issue and see what the best practices are for a fleet manager. The Replacement Cost for a Truck Tire First, let's consider the cost of replacing a tire when it wears out or, worse, goes flat or blows out in operation. Individual tires of average quality can cost between $250 and $600; however, premium-tier high-quality tires or specialty tires can cost $1,200 or even more. If your trucks operate in areas with special conditions, like snow and ice, steep hills, or particularly rough roads, those tires can cost even more. Factors that influence... Read more

Diesel Exhaust Fluid Locator: 5 Ways to Find DEF Near You

Diesel has often been misunderstood in the past. Many people's impressions of diesel engines are tied to trucks emitting noticeable emissions. However, it's important to note that these visual emissions are mostly associated with older truck models or those few who modify their trucks to "roll coal" for show. Thankfully, with advancements in technology and the EPA's 2010 mandates requiring diesel vehicles to be equipped with an SCR system, which utilizes DEF, the emissions from diesel engines have significantly reduced. So, let's dive deeper into what this entails and its implications for fleet managers. SCR, DEF, and More: What Does it All Mean? The SCR is the Selective Catalytic Reduction system. It's a means of converting diesel exhaust into something a lot cleaner, reducing both nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide emissions, both of which are dangerous greenhouse gasses that contribute to a variety of environmental hazards, including acid rain. In fact, the introduction of the SCR system to power generation plants over 50 years ago is a large part of what made acid rain no longer a modern-day concern. The SCR process is a three-stage system; the engine burns diesel fuel and produces exhaust as a byproduct, and that exhaust... Read more

6 Tips to Help You Grow Your Truck Repair Business in 2023

Fleet mechanics and truck repair businesses face ongoing challenges, but one of the most important is business growth. In order to provide the best possible service to the largest number of customers, you need to grow your truck repair business, but it can often be difficult to know how to stimulate that growth. 2023 and beyond is a time of opportunity but also a time of challenge. Economic growth and increasing domestic shipping means there's a larger than ever demand for trucks and, consequently, the people to keep them in good working order. Companies looking to cut costs are switching to "just in time" or "breakfix" scheduling for maintenance, meaning that truck repair is less about routine maintenance and more about larger, more complex repairs. Increasing investment in green technologies, electric or hybrid trucks, and trucks equipped with more complex computer systems all means that the job of a mechanic is more complex than ever before. Many companies are shifting to prefer smaller, more local or regional repair companies rather than national chains, with the assumption that those smaller businesses are more reliant on their fleet business and thus provide better services and support. Truck and fleet repair businesses are... Read more

The Benefits of GPS Vehicle Tracking for Fleet Management

Fleet management has come a long way with modern technology. There was a time when tracking the locations, destinations, and travel times of fleet vehicles was a matter of paperwork – lots and lots of paperwork. Today, computerized systems can keep track of everything with ease and can even use real-time traffic condition information to make dynamic adjustments to routes, arrival estimates, and more. One powerful tool in the arsenal of any fleet manager is fleet tracking using GPS modules. Sometimes, these are built into the vehicle; others, they're modules you install on your own. Either way, by linking to a system of satellites in orbit, accurate location information can be sent to a centralized computer system at all times. Some people question the utility of these systems, so today, we're going to run through the many benefits of GPS vehicle tracking for fleets. Benefit 1: Route Optimization Perhaps the biggest benefit to comprehensive GPS vehicle tracking across your fleet is the ability to use software to optimize routes and planning, and all of the many ways that can benefit your fleet across the board. For example: When picking a driver and vehicle for a job, you can automatically identify... Read more

5 Effective Strategies for Fleets to Improve Fuel Efficiency

Fuel costs are one of the largest ongoing expenses for any fleet, whether you have a few trucks tooling around a local area or a massive logistics network spanning the continent. Fuel is an ongoing expense, and it's fickle, with diesel prices rising and falling according to factors far outside of our control. It stands to reason that you'd want to reduce these costs as much as possible, but how can you do so as a fleet manager? Here are five potential strategies you can try. 1: Optimize Routing Depending on the kind of fleet you manage, you may be able to put some serious effort into optimizing the routes your trucks take. This is difficult in cases where you're working on an ad hoc basis, sending trucks to destinations on call or as needed. On the other hand, when you have possible planned routes in advance, you can plan routes that optimize fuel usage. And no, shorter, more direct routes aren't always better. Anyone who has gotten stuck on a backed-up highway waiting for a traffic jam to clear when a longer but faster surface road route would have long since sufficed can attest to that. One of the... Read more

The Current and Upcoming Regulations on Fleet Management

Operating a commercial fleet is no easy task. From ongoing maintenance to logistics to dispatch and location tracking, there’s a seemingly never-ending number of details that need to be monitored and handled appropriately to avoid disaster. As if all of that wasn’t enough, there’s always the government here to step in and add more burden to the pile. Regulations are important, of course – they generally revolve around safety and broad concerns like environmental impact that companies on their own often ignore – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or that you have to like it. Managing a commercial fleet means paying attention to laws, regulations, and ordinances that govern what you can and can’t do. These include everything from laws about drug testing for drivers to regulations on working hours to controls over emissions and vehicle maintenance. There’s a lot to know. Moreover, it’s never static. These regulations tend to change every few years, and the direction they change is often determined by which political party is in control of the national government. How Important is Regulatory Compliance? Complying with regulatory instructions is a matter of money, but more than that, it’s a matter of safety. Regulations exist to... Read more

How to Shift from Reactive to Proactive Fleet Maintenance

You've probably heard the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." The aphorism is meant to represent the fact that taking care of yourself proactively will prevent doctor visits from built-up, unaddressed problems; in other words, proactive maintenance versus reactive repairs. The same holds true of fleet vehicles. Consider the humble tire: It's faster, easier, and cheaper to replace worn tires in between dispatches than it is to have to fix a blow-out on the side of a highway, right? Reactive maintenance, or reactive repairs, is when you wait until something breaks to address the problem.  Whether it's worn-down tires, loose couplings, failing electronics, or an engine about to blow, it's chaotic, unpredictable, and often expensive. Fleet managers often feel like these things come in waves, and once one thing breaks, everything around them starts failing, and the list of necessary repairs becomes mountainous. Proactive maintenance periodically inspects and maintains fleet vehicles according to schedules.  Even little things like tightening bolts on mounts, changing the oil, and running through a comprehensive inspection sheet can make a huge difference. After all, it's a lot cheaper in both money and time to perform regular oil changes than it is to... Read more