Article

2007 Breakdown Guide

HDT's annual guide to services that offer help for roadside breakdowns and emergencies

February 2007, TruckingInfo.com - Feature

by Deborah Lockridge, Senior Editor

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The way Old Dominion Freight Line used to handle breakdowns and other emergencies out of its Greensboro, N.C., facility was simple: Stick the power shop supervisor with the job.

"One person per shift, seven days a week, with two telephones and a computer trying to do this," says Tom Newby, director of field maintenance. "We were very fortunate," he jokes. "They all survived."

The system wasn't very cost-effective, Newby admits, saying it took major growth pushing the company into unfamiliar areas of the country that finally forced them to seek help. About three years ago, they started using FleetNet America, a major breakdown service provider, to supplement their efforts. Two years ago, they turned over all their breakdowns - what Newby calls road occurrences - to FleetNet.

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Doing this had several benefits, Newby explains. First, because FleetNet actively manages its supplier database to ensure quality, "we feel confident that whoever's working on our equipment will do a satisfactory job."

Second, instead of dealing with individual invoices from each vendor or having to use Comcheks, the company gets an electronic invoice once a week, thus saving time and money.

Third, the change allowed the company to decrease the management staff at the shop location that had been handling the work, "and get them more focused on managing the power shop floor rather than staying on the phone all day taking care of road occurrences."

BREAKDOWN HELP

FleetNet America is probably the largest and oldest independent road breakdown management company for the trucking industry, operating as the breakdown department for Carolina Freight Carriers for more than 35 years. In 1993, this breakdown department evolved into a separate subsidiary of Carolina Freight, and FleetNet America was born.

Today, there are more and more options available to help fleets deal with equipment emergencies on the road. At one end of the scale, there are full-fledged breakdown support companies such as FleetNet America. In general, breakdown services offer a toll-free number that drivers or dispatchers can call 24 hours a day every day of the year in the event of a breakdown or other equipment problem on the road. Many systems also allow communication via mobile tracking systems such as Qualcomm and via the Internet. The call center will collect information on the problem and locate the nearest vendor that can help, usually from an extensive database of vendors that the service monitors for quality. Most services will keep your fleet's equipment information and preferences on how breakdowns should be handled in their system, as well.

The service typically will manage the entire breakdown or roadside event, following up throughout the process, helping the vendor if parts or technical information is needed. These services may charge per incident or involve a subscription/membership program. Centralized billing, parts discounts or standardized pricing, and detailed analysis and reporting are among other features that may be offered. If you lease trucks or use contract maintenance provided by a leasing company, this type of service is usually included.

At the other end of the scale, free dealer locator services and online database services of providers make it easier to handle breakdowns in-house. As high-speed and wireless access to the Internet becomes nearly ubiquitous, this is a good option for many fleets. In fact, Yokohama, which offers an emergency roadside assistance program for customers, reports that it sees more fleets taking care of road service in house, using emergency road service web sites that have geographic service locators.

One such service is the National Truck & Trailer Services Breakdown Directory. President Lane Goebel started the guide in 1989 as a sort of national Yellow Pages for services on the road. Over the years, he has taken advantage of new technology to improve his offerings, as CD-ROMs came into use and then the Internet.

Today the NTTS web site averages more than 13,000 searches a day, a number that has been growing 25 to 30 percent a year for the last few years. Last year NTTS added a mapping feature that lets users choose a facility that's most effective for keeping the truck moving in the right direction.

TruckDown, another major online resource for finding repair services, recently made it easier to access its web site from the road. TruckDown Wireless allows drivers to use an Internet-enabled cell phone to search the TruckDown database of 34,000 vendors for the ones nearest to the truck or trailer you need serviced. When a wireless device connects to www.truckdown.com, the network detects the "footprint" of the device and routes it down a path optimized for wireless access and smaller viewing screens.

In between full-fledged breakdown services and do-it-yourself options, there are enough different types of services in enough different price ranges to suit nearly every need.

And the options keep growing, what with Freightliner announcing a new program last year for owner-operators and small fleets, TravelCenters of America beefing up its mobile service truck fleet, and Volvo making its service standard on new trucks.

"I think part of [the increased activity] has to do with the increased technology - it's easier now than it was 10 years ago to provide that service," says John Diehl, director of Penske Truck Leasing's S.O.S. service.

TOUTING TECHNOLOGY

There's no doubt technology has massively changed how roadside emergencies are handled, and it will continue to do so.

Cell phones, the Internet and other communication technologies make it easier to not only find vendors to handle your breakdown, but also to maintain communication throughout the breakdown event. Fast computer databases allow easy searching of vendors and access to customer information. GPS and sophisticated mapping software make it easy for services to locate the truck in question, and to locate the nearest service provider. Fault codes on driver displays may allow call centers to troubleshoot problems over the phone.

For instance, Newby notes that Old Dominion is easily able to keep track of what's going on with a road occurrence being handled by FleetNet. He can pull up a screen on his laptop, dispatchers can access the same information on their computers, and regional people in the field can log in on the road, and find out what's happening within 10 minutes of real time.

Telematics, which allow the truck's electronics to communicate diagnostic information in real time, may revolutionize the whole business of managing breakdowns - and help prevent a problem from becoming a breakdown situation.

Volvo Trucks North America announced last year that it would make its Volvo Action Service standard for three years on Volvo trucks equipped with 2007 engines. But taking things a step further, VAS integrates with the Volvo Link Sentry, also standard on the '07-engine models. Sentry allows remote monitoring of driver and truck, transmitting information from the truck to Volvo technical personnel while the truck is in operation.

"This system combines early warning of potential trouble with technical counsel and a round-the-clock customer support system," explains Scott Kress, senior vice president, sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks. Sentry reads fault codes involving the truck or engine electronic control units. The system then transmits that information to Volvo Action Service. In most cases, the driver will notice the fault code first and contact VAS. But Sentry also allows VAS to take action first, if the situation requires it. If the VAS experts decide a fault code dictates action, the service will contact the driver, either by cell phone or through the Volvo Link communications display in the cab, make recommendations and help schedule service at a Volvo dealership if needed.

The next step for accessing breakdown information, predicts NTTS' Goebel, will be in-cab navigation systems. While providers, he says, are still getting the bugs out as far as making sure trucks don't get routed incorrectly (through residential streets, for instance, or across mountain passes where they shouldn't be), these systems have great potential to make breakdown management better than ever.

"A guy's going to be able to put in that he needs to get a tire fixed, and the system will show him the closest tire repair place and how to get there," Goebel says. The newest navigation systems being introduced give turn-by-turn directions by voice, so the driver doesn't have to take his eyes off the road. In the future, Goebel predicts, we'll see systems that can take commands from the driver by voice, as well.

As a side note, Goebel says navigation systems should help reduce the number of roadside emergencies caused by drivers getting lost or taking routes not suited to heavy trucks - perhaps the most expensive example being trucks getting stuck under low overpasses.

BREAKDOWN TRENDS

Technology, such as the Internet, has made managing breakdowns easier, including web sites that allow you to search for vendors yourself, such as National Truck & Trailer Services.

Technology's not the only thing that continues to change in the world of breakdown management. As more and more players enter the arena, some are working to differentiate themselves by offering additional services. Some examples:

• NTTS and TruckDown both offer the ability to find more than just repair services, such as truckstops, truck-friendly hotels and truck washes.

• Volvo's service will also help with finding a hotel, cash forwarding and rental equipment if repairs are extensive.

• Bridgestone Firestone offers published, guaranteed tire prices.

• FleetNet America's Select Towing and Recovery Program offers nationwide access to preferential towing and recovery providers at competitive prices.

• Peterbilt's TruckCare digitally records calls and can e-mail an audio file.

• Freightliner's new Exclerator program for small fleets includes Excelerator Preferred and Preferred Plus plans, where a membership option gives you lower breakdown event fees, a tire program and other discounts.

Meanwhile, new 2007 engines are on the minds of those running breakdown assistance services, as they train phone coordinators and technicians about the new low-emissions engines.

FleetNet America speculates that in the latter half of 2007, new engines and drive components may bring about new issues for roadside assistance and increase towing incidents.

TravelCenters of America notes that 2006 was a record year for tractor sales, as fleets purchased new tractors in advance of the January 2007 implementation date for new federal emissions rules. "In the short term, this means companies are experiencing fewer breakdowns. As we move through 2007 and beyond, and the age of trucks increases, the industry will see a surge in roadside repairs."

Because tractors are so technically complicated and fewer roadside repairs are practical, more trucks need to be towed in for service, says Bridgestone, which is working to expand the towing resources in its service provider list.

At the same time, notes TA, diagnostic repair capability will continue to gain importance, both in the service bays and as part of roadside service.

BREAKDOWN SERVICES

Bandag Emergency Tire Assistance Program (ETA)

Who it's for:

Preferred Customers (small to mid-sized fleets and owner-operators signed up by a Bandag servicing dealer); National Account Customers (larger fleets signed up by Bandag); outsourcing customers

Cost:

$25 dispatch fee

Features:

ETA focuses on dispatching service from its network of 1,600 Bandag dealers, but will go outside the dealer network if needed. If necessary, customers can be tied in with the service provider on a three-way call. After the service takes place, Bandag sets up billing arrangements and closes out the call. Customers can choose between replacing tires with new tires or Bandag retreads. Retreads use in the program meet or exceed an "ETA tire spec." If the retread tire fails within 60 days, customer gets a complete refund for the product and the service. For new tires, ETA can bill the customer through their national account agreement with the new tire manufacturer. Must sign up in advance.

More info:

(800) 8-BANDAG, www.bandag.com

Bridgestone National Fleet & Fleet Support Center

Who it's for:

North America's larger fleets may qualify

Cost:

$27 service fee for each tire breakdown. For mechanical breakdowns, $54 plus 7.5 percent of all charges incurred.

Features:

A service expert can give you the number of the nearest authorized Bridgestone dealer or truckstop, send roadside assistance to you, work with your dispatcher or fully manage your breakdown incident. For non-tire problems, he can locate towing or mechanical service from a list of 50,000 authorized providers. National Fleets receive personalized tire purchase programs and guaranteed prices for tire repair, wheel changes, mounting/demounting, balancing, valve stem replacement and more. No contract. No monthly minimum. Fees and charges are based on the services required for each case. The Fleet Support Center will only match you with Bridgestone dealers and truckstops who are authorized to sell to National Fleet customers and can access your pre-arranged tire and billing requirements. Breakdown Manager, a comprehensive Internet-based service, helps manage breakdowns in progress, breakdown recordkeeping and reporting.

More info:

(866) 819-0105, www.trucktires.com

Bridgestone Firestone National Preferred

Who it's for:

Mid-sized to smaller fleets and owner-operators enrolled in National Preferred program

Cost:

$27 service fee for each tire breakdown. For mechanical breakdowns, $54 plus 7.5 percent of all charges incurred.

Features:

Service expert can give you the phone number of the nearest authorized Bridgestone dealer or truckstop, send roadside assistance to you, work with your dispatcher, or fully manage your breakdown incident. For non-tire problems, can help you locate towing or mechanical service from a list of 50,000 authorized dealers, mechanics and towing providers. Guaranteed, published prices on Bridgestone and Firestone truck tires. Members get a booklet that lists tire service prices, regular and after-hours service rates. No contract. No monthly minimum. Fees and charges are based on the services required for each breakdown incident. Bridgestone bills your account. Breakdown Manager, an Internet-based service, helps manage breakdowns in progress, breakdown recordkeeping and reporting.

More info:

(866) 464-2912 (OOIDA members, (866) 464-2914), www.trucktires.com

Caterpillar Truck Engine Call Center

Who it's for:

Caterpillar customers

Cost:

Free

Features:

The people answering the phone are Caterpillar employees, and they are able to answer many questions right over the phone, decipher fault codes, etc. Drivers need to have engine serial number handy. Good idea to call in advance and make sure engine is registered for warranty purposes.

More info:

(800) 447-4986, www.cattruckengine.com

CDI Services

Who it's for:

Transportation fleets or leasing companies with one or more units; fleet maintenance providers for 1,000 or more vehicles

Cost:

Dispatch fee is based on average volume of breakdown calls per month.

Features:

Customer or driver makes one call to report the breakdown to an experienced CDI service adviser. Using database of more than 50,000 vendors, CDI handles authorization, setting up repair or towing services, obtaining estimates, tracking breakdown progress until completion and advising all parties as requested. Internet access to real-time breakdown information and to reports in XML or PDF format. Breakdown calls may be recorded for quality assurance. Must sign up in advance.

More info:

800-FOR-A-FIX, www.911roadrepair.com

Cummins QuickServe

Who it's for:

All Cummins customers

Cost:

No charge for the QuickServe process. Repair charges depend on the nature of the engine problem and warranty coverage.

Features:

The goal is to give customers same day turn-around for in-shop repairs with a repair time of four hours or less. For on-site service, a factory-certified technician is dispatched within four hours of the call. Cummins QuickServe is available at all Cummins distributor branch locations (nearly 200 in North America). You can phone, e-mail or just show up at any Cummins distributor branch to obtain services.

More info:

800-DIESELS, www.cummins.com

or www.everytime.cummins.com

Detroit Diesel

Who it's for:

Owners of Detroit Diesel On-Highway Products (Series 60, MBE 4000, MBE 900)

Cost:

Free

Features:

Detroit Diesel has been providing an 800 number on the rocker cover of its engines in case of breakdown since the late '80s. Technicians at DDC call center will try to talk customer through an issue to get truck running again. If that's not possible, they will coordinate the support to get the truck in for repairs. Detroit Diesel also offers online advice for a down truck. DDC receives the notification online from the fleet via a secured site, then contacts the repair facility to see if diagnostic assistance is required. If necessary the DDC service engineers assist the repair facility. In addition, offers factory assistance to ensure any part ordered is in the system properly to keep downtime at a minimum.

More info: www.detroitdiesel.com

FleetNet America

Who it's for:

Any owner of a Class 3 through Class 8 vehicle. Accounts preferred; however, can handle COD/walk-in accounts as well

Cost:

Flat per-occurrence fee in addition to the negotiated vendor invoice

Features:

The nation's largest independent emergency roadside service provider, providing breakdown service for more than 50 years. Call coordinators average more than 20 years of truck maintenance and repair experience, with access to a network of more than 60,000 truck repair vendors. Select Towing and Recovery Program offers nationwide access to preferential towing and recovery providers at competitive prices. Vehicle Securement Program secures abandoned equipment to minimize risk of loss or damage. New TMcare (Total Maintenance Care) offers management of scheduled maintenance needs for tractors and trailers, ranging from PMs to pre-trip yard write-ups. Extensive maintenance reporting and analysis capabilities. E-mail notifications, satellite communications, maintenance software interfaces, alert customizations, integrated electronic billing.

More info:

(800) 972-8872, www.fleetnetamerica.com

Freightliner Customer Assistance Center

Who it's for:

Owners of any Freightliner LLC vehicle

Cost:

Free for basic service. Fleets of 25 or more signed up for Fleetpack or Pinnacle pay $35 per incident but also enjoy open parts accounts, centralized billing, labor rate caps and times, parts price cap

Features:

As a free service for Freightliner LLC brand owners, CAC will locate a service provider appropriate to handle the breakdown. Does not monitor repair progress.

More info:

1-800-FTL-HELP (for Freightliner trucks), 1-800-STL-HELP (for Sterling trucks), 1-800-WS-HELP (for Western Star trucks)

Freightliner Excelerator

Who it's for:

Owner-operators and fleets up to approximately 25 units, all brands

Cost:

Starting at $36 per breakdown

Features:

24/7 call center is staffed by experienced Freightliner personnel who are experts at assessing drivers' needs, finding the best local service providers, expediting repair parts and assisting with towing and other roadside services. Monitors repairs and provides updates on progress until repairs are complete; provides recap of breakdown for customer records. Three packages available. On Call offers pay-per-event breakdown services. Preferred membership, for a one-time $99 membership fee per vehicle, offers reduced fees on breakdown assistance. Preferred Plus offers unlimited breakdown assistance and up to three tows and one extraction for $299 per vehicle per year. Both Preferred and Preferred Plus include special tire program, extra discounts and specials, members-only web page for tracking repair progress.

More info:

(800) 238-8063, www.ExceleratorServices.com

GE Commercial Finance Fleet Services' Emergency Breakdown Service

Who it's for:

Included in GE's TruckVantage maintenance program or available as a stand-alone product; for commercial vehicles rated over 10,000 pounds GVW

Cost:

Per-usage transaction fee, or included as part of TruckVantage monthly fee.

Features:

Uses ASE-certified truck technical advisers averaging 19 years of experience. Offers complete management of the emergency breakdown situation, including assistance with keeping a delivery or service on schedule. Provides logistics and options to address roadside repairs, mobile repair, tow-to-delivery-point or rental unit options. GE transaction volume provides enhanced recognition and repair priority with vendors. Real-time incident reporting, repair tracking and status trucking via Internet. Coordination of preventive maintenance and unscheduled maintenance services. Must enroll in advance.

More info:

(800) 256-0053, www.gefleet.com

Goodyear 4-Tires-Now

Who it's for:

All customers

Cost:

$35 per occurrence

Features:

Emergency road service coordinator contacts a servicing dealer, then calls driver with estimated time of arrival. Repair or replace tires with full line of new and retread products. Network includes both Goodyear dealers and Pilot Truck Care Centers. Advance registration not needed. In addition, you can sign up for Fleetwise at www.fleetwise.net

to get comprehensive report of service work performed and other information.

More info:

877-4TIRESNOW, www.goodyear.com/truck

HD America Roadside Service

Who it's for:

Anyone

Cost:

Free

Features:

If you experience a breakdown, you call the toll-free number, and the customer service representative will put you in touch with the closest HD America member - more than 1,500 service providers nationwide. No need to sign up in advance. In addition, National Preferred Fleet Advantage Card facilitates warranty and expedites service throughout the HDA Parts Network, taking care of drivers' billing, credit and pricing on the road.

More info:

(800) 949-3580, www.hdamerica.com

International Emergency Breakdown Service (EBS)

Who it's for:

EBS is included with the Heavy Diamond Spec two-year warranty for International customers and is available to Fleet Charge/ Diamond Advantage cardholders who may own other brands.

Cost:

Free for two-year Heavy Diamond Spec customers. $35 per call for Diamond Advantage/Fleet Charge cardholders

Features:

Live service coordinators are trained to quickly determine whether a situation merits towing a unit into the shop or whether roadside service can rectify the problem. The call center has the latest repair information on customers' International trucks, which they can provide to the repair facility. They actively manage the repair process until the work has been completed.

More info:

Diamond Spec (888) 342-7600; Fleet Charge/Diamond Advantage cardholder, (800) 327-4364; www.internationaldelivers.com/site_layout/service/ebs.asp

InterStar National Breakdown Service

Who it's for:

Any truck operator, from owner-operators to large fleets Cost:

All-inclusive flat pricing, includes tire, labor and service call if necessary. Flat mechanical rate for labor and service call.

Features: Tire, mechanical and towing services. Managed vendor network covers U.S., Canada and Mexico available 24/7/365. All conversations digitally recorded. State-of-the-art mapping system. Internet job submission available to increase efficiency of road service repair. Fleet data analysis to identify breakdown problem areas. (800) 888-1001, www.interstarna.com

Kenworth PremierCare

Who it's for:

Any truck owner, regardless of brand

Cost:

Free

Features:

Handles emergency roadside assistance calls and schedules service for preventive maintenance. The Customer Center uses mapping software to pinpoint customer's location and nearest help, whether that's a Kenworth dealer or one of thousands of independent service providers in Kenworth's database. Pre-registering not necessary, but will give customer care personnel instant access to a complete vehicle profile and your preferred payment options for service and emergency repair work. More info:

800-KW-ASSIST, www.kenworth.com

(click on "parts and service")

Mack OneCall Complete Care Center

Who it's for:

Any driver or owner of a Mack truck

Cost:

Free

Features:

Staffed by trained technicians with an average of 20 years industry experience, who can help the dealer with parts procurement or technical help if needed. Mack promises that it will identify the problem, troubleshoot and arrange for roadside repairs or towing within an hour. If a live person is not immediately available, it's faster to leave a message than to remain on hold. No need to register in advance.

More info:

(800) 866-1177, www.macktrucks.com

Michelin ONCall

Who it's for:

Anyone

Cost:

$25 per breakdown

Features:

Michelin or other network service providers are dispatched depending on service requirements. Handles not only tires and tire service, but also roadside mechanical and towing. Offers service for intermodal equipment. Complete case management and complete data capture. Standardized pricing for all customers for tires and tire-related services nationwide. Online incident tracking and reporting services available. If you are a Michelin national account, your account will be charged. Others will be charged by credit card. National accounts need not sign up in advance; others should call (800) 847-3911, press 1, then press 4.

More info:

(800) 847-3911, www.michelintruck.com

National Truck & Trailer Breakdown Directory Who it's for:

Anyone Cost:

Free web site with mapping; $39.95 for paper directory; $249 for CD that allows you to add your own vendors to database Features:

This is a do-it-yourself option, offering fast web searches for vendors by state, city and category (trucker repair, towing/recovery, tire sales/repair, trailer repair, transport refrigeration, truckstops with repair). 800-page softbound directory and CD versions also available. NTTS doesn't allow companies to advertise if they overcharge or are dishonest or unethical. No login or password required to use the site. More info: (800) 288-0002, www.nttsbreakdown.com

North American Technology Corp.

Who it's for:

Any size fleet

Cost:

Monthly subscription charge, varies by size of fleet

Features:

NATC sells an Internet platform of its extensive vendor database, which allows users to add/edit/delete vendors and enter comments visible only to your company's authorized users. Public vendor rating system. Links to favorite vendors, favorite searches and search history. Search by city/state, latitude/longitude, interstate exit/mile marker, zip code, area code and exchange, or by vendor name. Mapping of search results and vendor location. Not a complete breakdown management service. Must set up account in advance.

More info:

(866) 288-7111, www.service-locator.com

Penske Truck Leasing S.O.S. Emergency Roadside Assistance Center

Who it's for:

Customers of Penske Truck Leasing, both leasing and contract maintenance

Cost:

No additional charge for Penske Truck Leasing customers

Features:

More than 70 over-the-road coordinators, 95 percent with previous mechanical experience, can access your vehicle's detailed maintenance and repair information from a computerized database. More than 800 Penske-owned service facilities and more than 22,000 independent roadside providers are available to provide service. Every phone conversation is recorded. Formal road call report is provided for every call, with Internet access for customers to monitor active road calls. E-mail and text message notification.

More info:

(800) 526-0798, www.pensketruckleasing.com

or www.gopenske.com

Peterbilt TruckCare Customer Assistance

Who it's for:

All medium- and heavy-duty truck owners, regardless of how many vehicles they operate or the make and model of equipment.

Cost:

Free

Features:

Paccar Customer Call Center will locate the nearest Peterbilt dealer and contact the dealer to set up an appointment, dispatch roadside assistance or tow truck. If a nearby dealer is not available, the system provides information on alternative service providers. Fleet managers can track real-time activity via the Internet. All conversations are digitally recorded and can be sent via e-mail. Do not need to sign up in advance, but pre-registering will expedite future use of the service.

More info:

800-4PETERBILT, www.peterbilt.com

PHH Arval Vehicle Maintenance Assistance Call Center

Who it's for:

PHH clients and their drivers

Cost:

Varies; per unit per month.

Features:

PHH's Call Center is part of an overall maintenance consulting service. Drivers receive a PHH Service Card for all maintenance and repair charges. For emergency roadside assistance, ASE-certified service specialists with extensive experience and instant access to vehicle information will diagnose problems, negotiate repair work and authorize all transactions according to the client's policy. All transactional and trends information is available online in real time. Using telematics to help clients lower maintenance costs and address problems before they turn into breakdowns.

More info:

800-ONLY-PHH, www.phharval.com

Ryder Customer Response Center

Who it's for:

Ryder leasing, rental and logistics customers

Cost:

Varies

Features:

Can track repairs in real time via the web and create historical reports with items such as average assign time, breakdown time, breakdowns by type, by driver, etc. Extensive call detail, including voice recordings of each call. Enrollment automatic for Ryder customers, but can include special instructions for special needs. Guaranteed averages of 15 minutes for dispatch time, two hours to get truck back on road.

More info:

(888) 715-7272 U.S., 1-877-550-7272 Canada, www.ryder.com

TA RoadSquad

Who it's for:

All professional drivers, from owner-operators up through national account fleets.

Cost:

No fee for central dispatch of service truck

Features:

Customers call the 800 number; a trained TA dispatcher locates the nearest TA and dispatches a qualified technician. TA offers the same services roadside that it does in its service bays, including fuel, oil, water, tire and mechanical breakdown service. Roadside diagnostic capability is available at select locations. (A/C and radiators not repairable roadside.) No membership or advance sign-up needed. Consistent pricing across the network.

More info:

800-TA-4-SHOP, www.tatravelcenters.com

TruckDown!

Who it's for:

Anyone

Cost:

Free for basic web search services; $20/month Advanced membership provides additional features

Features:

You can search a database of 34,000 U.S. and Canadian vendors via the Internet, using regular computer or a web-enabled cell phone or wireless device. Vendors include heavy-duty towing companies, truck and trailer repair facilities, tire service, truckstops and other services. Registered and Advanced users can identify preferred vendors, record private vendor-specific notes, rate vendor performance. Advanced users can search by latitude and longitude, see ratings assigned by other TruckDown users, search for vendors by zip code, get search activity reports, and other features.

More info:

(866) 562-4081, www.truckdown.com

Truck Repair Network

Who it's for:

Targeted at medium fleets, but will work with owner-operators and fleets of all sizes

Cost:

$45 per breakdown; smaller fleets (less than 50 vehicles) also pay annual maintenance fee of $90

Features:

Custom-designed dispatch system with high-tech mapping capabilities. Flexible payment options. Billing available for fleets with excellent credit. Preferred Fleets get road service call report after each incident, as well as monthly and annual maintenance reports and special pricing. New fleet maintenance reporting data to help fleet managers detect any weaknesses in preventive maintenance program now available for fleets that tender all of their breakdowns through TRN. Must enroll in advance.

More info:

800-HELPRIG (800-435-7744), www.helprig.com

Truck Tire Service Corp. (TTS)

Who it's for:

Truck and bus owners of all sizes, from owner-operators through large fleets

Cost:

Pre-established national tire rate schedule for all tire-related calls; highly competitive rates for all mechanical and towing-related calls. Discount programs for large fleets. No membership or registration fees.

Features:

One of the oldest truck emergency road service companies in the country. Provides mechanical, towing and tire-related emergency road service, as well as preventive maintenance services at designated customer locations or TTS vendor locations, anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. Published national labor and tire service rates for tire-related breakdown service. Customized reports show usage history. Membership registration recommended but not required.

More info:

800-DIAL-TTS, www.ttsroadservice.com

Volvo Action Service

Who it's for:

Any truck operator, no matter what truck brand, for both power units as well as trailer and refrigeration units.

Cost:

$40 per case for Volvo power, $48 for non-Volvo power, or pay no case fees with membership-based program, starting at $99 per year per power unit. Comes standard for three years with Model Year 2008 Volvo trucks.

Features:

Upon request for assistance, identifies the closest, most-qualified service provider from network of 13,000 Volvo dealers and other providers. With its order for service, VAS issues the provider a Guarantee of Payment, eliminating the delay caused while finances are resolved. Manages every detail involved in getting the truck back on the road, from locating and hiring qualified service providers to arranging hotel accommodations; from forwarding cash to arranging rental equipment if extensive repairs are required. Invoices audited to ensure charges reflect guaranteed labor rates and preferred pricing. In-depth reporting available. Breakdown information available via the Internet.

More info:

(800) 52-VOLVO, www.myactionservice.com

Yokohama Emergency Service (YES)

Who it's for:

All Yokohama authorized national accounts in good standing

Cost:

Free

Features:

YES operator will do all of the work of locating the proper service, including assistance with issuing purchase orders and handling necessary paperwork. The nearest Yokohama dealer will be dispatched, or non-Yokohama dealer if there is not one in the area. "We are more concerned about getting the customer back on the road as soon as possible than making sure they purchase a Yokohama tire." The company is in the process of updating its service to make it more efficient and user-friendly.

More info:

800) 282-1570, www.yokohamatire.com/tbs_yesprog.asp

While we have tried to make this listing as complete as possible, there may be providers we have overlooked. If you would like to alert us to another breakdown service provider for possible inclusion in next year's guide, please e-mail

dlockridge@truckinginfo.com

FLEETNET AMERICA GETS INTO MAINTENANCE

FleetNet America has spent decades building trusted relationships with truck maintenance and repair facilities nationwide for its breakdown management program. Now it is using that vendor network as the foundation for a contract maintenance offering it calls the FleetNet TMcare Program.

The TMcare program, launched last year, provides management of scheduled equipment maintenance for fleets. FleetNet will provide all elements of a fleet equipment maintenance program, including the establishment and oversight of preventive maintenance programs and the scheduling and tracking of annual federally required safety inspections.

The service relies heavily on the independent maintenance facilities that make up much of the FleetNet America network and that "actually make up the majority of the service availability out there today," says FleetNet President Oren Summer, and range from small, single proprietorship shops to multi-shop regional networks.

"These facilities are the ones we deal with for the majority of services due to the management of pricing, availability, responsiveness and - believe it or not - level of expertise."

In addition, the mobile service that makes these vendors so well-suited to take care of emergency breakdowns also gives them the ability to handle preventive maintenance at the customer's location.

"Data capture and component failure assessment is paramount in this venue," Summer notes, with exponential drill-down VMRS and component data available. Also available is special component feature tracking, warranty extrapolation, component campaign administration, and ECM J1708 data extraction development currently in FleetNet's IT development.

Highly customizable data assemblage and IT interfacing, he says, helps set FleetNet's program apart from many other contract maintenance services.

Summer says the program has been well received, projecting about 4,000 units to be enrolled by the end of this year.

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