Study Finds Repair Costs Rising, Especially With Engine and Starting Systems

Study Finds Repair Costs Rising, Especially With Engine and Starting Systems

​November 24, 2020                                                         

Study Finds Mechanical Repair Costs Rising, Especially With Engine and Starting Systems

Third Quarter Report from TMC & FleetNet America Shows What VMRS Systems to Focus on to Reduce the Cost of Unscheduled Roadside Repairs.

Arlington, Va. – American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) and FleetNet America, an Arcbest company, have released the executive summary report of their Truckload Vertical Benchmarking study from the July - September 2020 quarter.

“The data gathered by this project has been very instructive as to where maintenance improvements can be made.” said TMC Executive Director Robert Braswell. “We believe this TMC member benefit can help participants efficiently identify opportunities to improve their operations and reduce costs.”

Participating fleets realized the highest average cost per mechanical repair (excludes tires and towing events) since the program began.  This was also the second consecutive quarter over $500 per repair.  The LTL vertical again experienced the highest cost per repair ($642) which appears to be driven by a few high cost/high frequency repairs in that vertical.  Two of the LTL vertical’s top five VMRS systems repaired (Power Plant -- 045 and Cranking System – 032) carried significantly higher cost per repair ($734 and $545 respectively).

The average fleet participating in the program operated 34,629 miles between unscheduled roadside repairs which is largely in line with previous quarters.  The truckload vertical sustained recent gains in miles between breakdowns, generally matching the second quarter’s results and nearly doubling the miles run between breakdowns when compared to the third quarter of 2019.  The Truckload vertical has been in the program since the beginning having the opportunity to use the data the longest.

“I’m glad to see the truckload vertical continue to maintain their increase in miles between breakdowns.”  said Jim Buell, executive vice president of sales and marketing for FleetNet America Their use of data to reduce unscheduled repairs not only reduces costs but improves their ability to make on time deliveries.”

The data indicates that select fleet’s maintenance practices results in lower costs for those fleets.  The best-in-class fleet in each of the three verticals realized at least a double-digit reduction in miles between breakdowns, with the leading fleet in the tank vertical running an impressive 118% more miles between roadside breakdowns than the vertical average.

The Vertical Benchmarking Program is a benefit for TMC fleet members and a partnership with FleetNet America. In addition to the executive summary, which is available to TMC fleet members, carriers that participate by sharing their data are provided an analytic tool that allows them to drill into their data, comparing it to the industry average.

The program is a strategic collaboration between TMC/ATA and FleetNet America and is open to TMC fleet executive level members and FleetNet America customers. The analytics provided via the program will be cumulative and non-fleet specific. For information about the TMC/FleetNet Vertical Benchmarking Program, visit

By providing leadership support and opportunities to collaborate, TMC helps members develop the industry’s best practices that address the critical truck technology and maintenance issues that have the greatest impact on truck fleets. For more than 60 years, TMC’s member-driven Recommended Maintenance and Engineering Practices have been setting the standards that help trucking companies specify and maintain their fleets more effectively. Follow TMC on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

American Trucking Associationsis the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of 50 affiliated state trucking associations and industry-related conferences and councils, ATA is the voiceof the industry America depends on most to move our nation’s freight. Follow ATA on Twitter on Facebook.Trucking Moves America Forward