Featured Article: Buy new or redo?

Max Kvidera | April 01, 2010

Maintenance consultant John Dolce uses cost per mile as a way to compare the merits of repair, rebuild or replace. In this example, a new alternator would last 150,000 miles, while the rebuilt part would last 100,000 miles. The cost per mile for covering the truck’s remaining longevity of 300,000 miles is slightly less when using the rebuilt components.

NEW: Parts: $600 x 2 alternators = $1,200

Labor: $75 x 4 hours = $300

Total cost $1,500

Cost/mile $0.0050

REBUILT: Parts: $300 x 3 alternators = $900

Labor: $75 x 6 = $450

Total cost $1,350

Cost/mile $0.0045

DolceWatch John Dolce explain how to calculate the best option for dealing with a failing engine, part or truck on the free webinar, “Repair, rebuild vs. replace,” at www.TruckerWebinars.com.

California regs encourage replacement

Upgrading to a new or newer used truck may become necessary if you’re running in California, whose proposed emissions regulations are likely to get stricter and stricter.

“In the next five to six years, California’s going to be a big consideration if they get these regulations in place,” says ATBS’s Bill McClusky. “It’s going to be tougher to run older trucks in there — the pre-2004 trucks, even up to 2007 models. It’s going to be a big expense to retrofit those trucks.”

What’s more, California emissions regulations have in the past been readily adopted by up to 13 other states.

McClusky says he works with ATBS client owner-operators to stretch more miles out of their existing rigs to allow them to eventually afford, in a year or two, a 2010 truck with 200,000 to 300,000 miles. To assist owners, ATBS has developed a program patterned after the aviation industry to inspect components and catch them before they fail. The firm maintains a database of each client’s truck and its condition.

“We know what life expectancies for these components are,” McClusky says. “When they are reaching these points, the next time the operator is in for an oil change, take a look at that turbocharger to see if it’s at its wear limit. More than preventive maintenance, it’s predictive maintenance.”

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