Shorter equipment life cycles are easier on a fleet's bottom line, according to a new study by Fleet Advantage.  Photo: Arrow Truck Sales

Shorter equipment life cycles are easier on a fleet's bottom line, according to a new study by Fleet Advantage. Photo: Arrow Truck Sales

How much trucks cost to operate as they age is a question as old as trucking itself. And now, fleet maintenance professionals have some additional data to chew over as they consider optimal first-life and disposal options for their equipment.

Fleet Advantage, a truck fleet business analytics, equipment financing, and lifecycle cost management firm, has publicized its latest report showing the impact aging trucks have on maintenance & repair (M&R) costs, and the savings fleets realize when replacing with newer equipment. The report also provides various M&R data comparisons, actionable tips to lower M&R costs and can be used by fleet executives to benchmark their fleet M&R data and determine how their vehicle lifecycle strategy impacts their overall operation.

According to a section in the report on lifecycle strategy, M&R costs on a 2012  model-year sleeper total $23,100, compared with $2,070 on a new, 2019 model-year truck, providing a savings of $21,030.

According to the report’s findings, a shorter lifecycle produces long-term savings beyond the first-year. When fleets adopt a three-year lifecycle for their trucks, replacing with new technology in year four, they realize a savings of $42,830 in M&R calculated in years four through seven when compared to a fleet driving the same truck for the full seven years.

In addition to the sections above, the report outlines the following:

  • In-depth breakdown of maintenance components and costs
  • Additional “variable” maintenance costs, including technicians
  • Opportunities to prevent M&R issues
  • Understanding where shorter asset lifecycles benefit the bottom line
  • Comparing costs of newer trucks versus older trucks
  • Why newer trucks reduce maintenance costs

Various M&R comparisons in the report are important in helping fleets identify each truck’s “Tippingpoint” - the point at which a truck reaches economic obsolescence, and costs more to operate than to replace with newer equipment. By adopting this approach for each individual truck unit, fleets can better manage and predict replacement cycles while avoiding variable costs, which can also help manage truck orders and avoid lengthy in-servicing time frames.

“A shorter lifecycle can benefit operational strategies since maintenance is more preventative on newer trucks rather than unpredictable breakdowns and recoveries,” said Michael D. Spence, CTP, Senior Vice President, Fleet Services for Fleet Advantage. “Additionally, newer equipment instills more confidence in the driver, and less stress in the cab reduces the number of accidents and incidents, while also increasing driver retention.”

The full report can be accessed here: Mitigating Rising M&R Costs for Class-8 Truck Fleets – Effective Data & Strategies