New Study Shows a Huge Spike in the Costs of Truck Repairs


Recent data shows that truck repairs are getting more expensive, but especially in the last year.

Maintenance and repairs are a constant worry for owner-operaters, but even company drivers shouldn’t be happy about this news. No company driver wants extra revenue going to just fixing the truck instead of wages or benefits.

Let’s take a look at the new numbers and see if there’s a way to reverse the trend.

What We Know

The Vertical Benchmarking Program was started in 2017 by FleetNetAmerica and the Technology & Maintenance Council, or TMC. In case you are not familiar with TMC, they are part of the American Trucking Association.

Based on the data the program has collected so far, the average cost for roadside repair was over $400 during the third quarter of 2019, which is 28% higher than it was in 2018. To put that into perspective, the price of repairs only rose 24% from 2012 to 2018, or an average increase of 4% per year.

The staggering 28% jump in repair costs in a single year is obviously unsustainable.

According to Robert Braswell, TMC Executive Director, “Cost per repair looks like a permanent headwind our industry is facing, and it would be advantageous to fleets to seek to address this”.

To identify these stats, TMC and FleetNet America analyzed all reported roadside repairs, such as the following.

  • Tires
  • Brakes
  • Lights
  • Cooling systems
  • Power issues

If their estimates are accurate, the data they collected should reflect roughly 64% of all roadside repairs completed in the trucking industry.

An Unusual Trucking Trend

Of all the repairs documented, an unusual trend emerged among tanker, truckload, and less-than-truckload sectors. The number of repairs was far larger for the truckload group, but drivers in this field drove fewer miles between each one.

Yet despite these numbers, the carriers with the lowest repair frequency and fees was part of the truckload sector. So even though the overall TL segment required the most repairs, the top TL carriers required the least repairs. This is a good sign because it shows a lot of room for improvement.

Jim Buell, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing at FleetNet America, acknowledged this by saying, “There is a wide variance between the performance of the average fleet and the best-in-class carrier in each vertical”.

Buell went on to say that “This is a pretty good indication that our industry has room to reduce maintenance costs by closing the gap between the average and best-in-class fleets.”

If you would like to contribute your roadside repair expenses or more information on how your company can contribute to the Vertical Benchmarking Program, go here.