Knowing when to Retire the Truck

It always amazes me to work for a company that still utilizes outdated, unsafe and over mileage trucks. When is a good time to retire a truck? Is it when the maintenance costs outweigh the cost of purchasing or leasing a truck? What is a good barometer of trading in the truck? When you purchase a used truck, is there a mileage limit to the useful life of the truck? I have seen many companies spend thousands of dollars per year on engine rebuilds, transmission rebuilds and other costly repairs.

In my time as an OTR driver, I have driven a few trucks with an excess of one million or more miles. Every time I drive one of these trucks, it always seems that the down time of the truck is always a major concern. I understand that companies that rely on brokered loads for their main source of income can save several thousand dollars a year on insurance and truck payments by utilizing used trucks.

I asked several questions to my current employer about the length of time they keep a truck in service. My current truck has over 1.4 million miles and has entered the truck shop once again. The problems are many, but the most important problem was a dramatic loss of horse power. I have a hunch that my truck may be due for it’s 3rd, 4th or maybe 5th rebuild. The truck started it’s career as a truck with a large, US carrier and has probably been around the “block” a few times. I am currently sitting at home because of the lack of back-up trucks and the refusal of the company owner to lease a truck until he can get his fleet back in service.

In previous posts I explained that we were a dedicated hauler for a major home improvement chain supplier. Don’t you think that the supplier has some reservations about sending loads out with a company who can’t keep their fleet on the road? Doesn’t the manager recognize the fact that we are loosing loads because of our lack of equipment? I am not sure how many “un-paid” days off I can afford before I need to look for another company for which to work.

It is very frustrating to spend 8 years in an industry that shows so much disregard for it’s drivers or equipment. I would think that a company could reduce it’s overhead, turnover and equipment costs by keeping it’s equipment updated and offering it’s drivers a livable wage.

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