Maintaining your equipment

| August 01, 2001

You should also keep a schedule of future work to be done: oil changes, oil analysis, major inspections, coolant-system service and so on. This schedule will help you avoid overlooking something vital.

Keep receipts on repairs and keep old parts in case of a warranty dispute.

Also, keep a record of your out-of-pocket expenses, such as cab fares, meals, motel stays and other things related to time lost due to repairs. Otherwise, you won’t be able to file warranty claims properly, and your profits will suffer.

Good maintenance records can help you determine average miles per gallon, expenses on a per-mile basis, average miles for a quart of oil and average speed for each hour of vehicle operation. Accurate maintenance and repair records not only give you good data on your rig, but also can help you decide how to spec your next truck.

Time to trade
No magic formula tells you when to upgrade, but industry experts say you should consider replacement when your fuel mileage drops 2 mpg or more in spite of your conservation efforts, or if truck technology develops to the point that a new truck would get you an additional 2 mpg. Another indication to trade is when your total maintenance costs reach 15 percent of your gross revenue.

One other approach is to create a maintenance budget and track your maintenance expenses. When they begin to reach the limit, consult with your advisers. Your accountant can help you determine how much your fuel consumption has risen and how much your maintenance costs have increased due to the age of the truck. Your insurance agent can help determine how an equipment upgrade will affect your premiums. Your financing source can discuss various options for the purchase of a new truck. With all this information, you should know when it’s time to trade your rig.



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