Letters for Readers

Me and my maintenance
You had a lot of good information and different perspectives on oil changes in the April issue. I do all my own service and maintenance. I choose to do so because of all the reasons mentioned in the article “Changes,” and I do so in a similar way that Bill Dancer does, no wasted time and meticulously.

There is one other reason that I chose to do my own work. I have had some very bad experiences with some of the so-called oil change experts.

The worst of all was a stripped drain plug. I stopped once to have my oil changed. I didn’t find the problem until my next oil change that I performed myself. It cost me downtime and my time in labor to remove the pan and install a thread insert and new plug. I notified the place where I had the service work done, but they pretty much ignored me. Needless to say, I will never go back there.

I have also paid for chassis grease that was not done, which to me is as important as oil service. It usually takes me all day to service my truck, but I figure that I make money by doing my own service work, because at least I am not tearing things up, and ALL of my rig is serviced, not just oil, filters and a little grease. I have at least 50 points of interest on just the tractor alone. If I paid for what I do to my truck at an oil change place, it would break the bank.
Zach Beadle
Devine, Texas

What about us little guys?
You say in your article that mandatory fuel surcharges would only prop up the weak carriers [“Leave the Market Alone”, May 2005]. If that’s the case, why don’t all the major carriers drop their fuel surcharges? Let’s see how long they can survive. Besides, they already have advantages, such as being able to buy in bulk.

You failed to mention that the highway bill allows states to choose to make any interstate a toll road. More toll roads equals more taxes, and high fuel prices equals huge profits for big oil.

It seems to me that the government is slowly getting rid of the owner-operator as we know it. That’s the hypocrisy of this current administration that supposedly campaigned on being for small business owners, when in fact everything it does seems to put us out of business.
Jason Bialous
Riverside, Calif.

Standing up for surcharge
I respect your opinion on fuel surcharges not being mandatory [“Leave the Market Alone,” May 2005], but letting smaller companies and owner-operators fail just to equalize the trucks versus freight numbers is wrong. After all, if we allow the government to supplement the farmers and pay unemployment to a Ford or General Motors worker when he or she gets laid off, then I think wanting a little security with a mandatory fuel surcharge is not being unreasonable.

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I can accept a business failure because of low freight rates, because as a business owner you can refuse to haul it. But fuel cost is something I have no control over, and neither does the consumer.

We need some regulation, because people are not always understanding in business. Unless some are forced to do something, they will not comply. I like the free market as much as the next guy, but small businesses in trucking cannot weather the storms as well as the large companies can. We provide services that people need, and yet the small guy struggles while the big guys take over.

Government is certainly involved in trucking; it’s one of the most regulated industries! So why not accept a little more regulation and get a mandatory fuel surcharge that benefits us?
John Scott
Mount Morris, Ill.