In our last post, we summarized some of the biggest takeaways from the ATRI’s annual Critical Issues in the Trucking Industry report. Today, we want to dig a little deeper into one of the key insights from the report, and how it is the biggest opportunity to reduce costs in the industry: maintenance and repairs due to overloaded trucks.
Axle overloading and shifting, unbalanced cargo are responsible for over 50% of all overweight violations in the US, but the damage these unoptimized loads inflict on the vehicles transporting them is even more costly.
Siphoning away anywhere between 10-15% of a motor carrier’s annual budget, truck maintenance expenses are at an all-time high. But they can be drastically reduced by investing in Air-Weigh on-board digital scales that protect against overloading by guaranteeing optimized payloads for every trip.
Increasing Maintenance Costs
CMV maintenance costs have been increasing for some time now, due to several challenges facing the industry:
- Driver shortage (which leads to overloading)
- Diesel mechanic shortage (increases repair labor costs)
- Rising parts prices (newer vehicles & new trade tariffs)
These are industry-wide problems that cannot be solved by a single company. The labor shortage is a persistent and incredibly complicated issue, and the parts price hikes may never come back down.
But overloading is something every company can control, and understanding why it’s so costly is the key to big savings.
Overloading is the #1 Cause of Unscheduled Maintenance
Preventative maintenance and other scheduled costs repair are unavoidable. Tires, brakes, and clutches wear out, but with good PM policies and procedures in place, the overall expense is relatively low, even with the price increases.
Unscheduled maintenance, on the other hand, is very expensive, especially for roadside repairs, which can cost up to four times as much as a shop repair. Throw in unexpected truck downtime and the losses pile up fast.
And year after year, industry surveys verify that the leading cause of these roadside events is overloading.
Signs of Overloading
Trucks have many visual and performance-related signs that can tip off fleet managers and drivers that they are being overloaded.
Increasing roadside repair events is the big indicator, but also, declining operational performance, more roadside citations, and more accidents are all tell-tale signals that trucks are being overtaxed with too much cargo or improperly distributed loads.
Strictly in terms of maintenance issues, some specific clues to look for are:
- Sagging rear end
- Accelerated or irregular tire wear
- Premature brake wear or failure
- Loose suspension
- Drivetrain failure
- Transmission failure
Of course, the safety and risk management aspects of these symptoms deserve a mention here, too. Though they aren’t the focus of this post, any of these overloading issues could lead to a severe accident. Besides putting lives at risk, motor carriers jeopardize their operating authority and their company by exceeding legal limits.
And while recognizing these signs is a step in the right direction, motor carriers are investing in LoadMaxx digital onboard scales that allow them to optimize every load without having to worry about roadside repairs, roadside violations, or causing accidents.
How LoadMaxx Optimizes Every Load
Most transportation companies rely heavily on guesswork when loading their trucks. Some might have a scale onsite, but even those rarely weigh individual axle groups. As a result, trucks end up under- or, more often, overutilizing their available shipping capacity, which as we’ve seen, drives up vehicle maintenance costs.
Simply put, LoadMaxx scales eliminate the guesswork.
Using patented deflection and air sensor technology, LoadMaxx provides real-time truck and tractor weights, meaning they can be loaded to their maximum capacity without exceeding legal or OEM limits.
Displayed on the in-cab display, through the LoadMaxx app or an onboard computer, steer, drive, trailer, GVW, and net payload weights are all provided. If the net payload feature is zeroed out before loading, the driver can also see the cargo weight.
Knowing exactly where to increase or decrease cargo on a trailer or flatbed ensures that each load is perfectly balanced while fully utilizing the available shipping space, completely eliminating overloading.
LoadMaxx ROI on Maintenance Costs
Most Air-Weigh customers see an ROI on their digital scales after the first or second trip, and that’s just the time and fuel saved not having to look for scales or return to the shipper to redistribute loads.
Factor in the long-term value of precision-optimized shipments that protect major truck components, reduce roadside repairs, and improve overall vehicle performance, and the return on investment grows exponentially.
LoadMaxx delivers all these benefits consistently and reliably. Along with a user-friendly interface that takes only a few minutes to learn, the improvements to a company’s operations are immediate, and the savings will continue to grow.
As we’ve seen, overloading is the main cause of preventable maintenance and repair costs. As diesel tech and parts prices continue to rise, companies that can find ways to reduce expensive roadside repairs while maximizing their payload capacity safely and legally will have the advantage.
LoadMaxx scales help motor carriers save in many ways, but the maintenance and repair ROI is immense and lasting. It protects trucks and trailers from the damages of overloading, which in turn lowers unscheduled repair rates, drives down costs, and boosts the bottom line.