More Miles, Less Breakdowns

The Maintenance Department, the Operations Department, and LTI’s fleet of Truck Drivers all share the same objective – to maximize the amount of time on the road, moving loads; and to minimize the time and frequency of breakdowns.

A great metric to track this is “Miles in-between Breakdowns”. The American Trucking Association surveys a number of fleets and has determined that the average is 10,000 miles.  That means, on average an over-the-road tractor will receive maintenance intervention on the road every 10,000 miles (or about once a month).

At LTI, we track this figure as well. In the last three months, our tractor fleet is averaging 11,168 miles in-between breakdowns. Here’s a visual over the last 1-2 years. Note a dip for trailer miles in-between breakdowns due to a hot summer and a number of reefer repairs – we are seeing a nice increase in miles in-between breakdowns for September.

Miles Breakdwons

The good news is that LTI is slightly better than the industry average. However, there is a lot of room to improve – the best performing trucks and drivers can average more than 30,000 miles in-between breakdowns.

"the best performing trucks and drivers can average more than 30,000 miles in-between breakdowns."

The shop is implementing some enhanced and proactive measures to further increase these figures. We are doing more robust inspections during shop visits, especially before a truck is issued to a driver in orientation. Additionally, we are working closely with Fleet Managers to ensure tractors come through the yard on schedule with their due service intervals. Lastly, we are making some proactive repairs – for instance, we are charge testing all batteries on reefer units and swapping any battery not holding full charges to mitigate against a battery failure on the road. All of these efforts should allow us to increase our fleet’s average upwards of 13,000 miles in-between breakdowns.

Drivers, I urge you to keep these figures in your mind too. With certainty, there is a list of items you can do to increase your miles in-between breakdowns. Not only can you operate your vehicle safely, you can operate and handle it with care and professionalism – think of how you are accelerating, braking, turning, shifting, and handling the levers, buttons, and knobs of your equipment. A proper, thorough, and consistent pre-trip inspection is also a must. Ensure your equipment is topped off and running well each day. 

Together with your care for equipment and with the shop’s internal processes, we can enjoy more miles and fewer breakdowns. The fall is a great time of the year to see a major increase in miles in-between breakdowns; with mild temperatures we’ll see relief in tire repairs, reefer repairs, AC and APU failures. Keep yourself focused on maintaining a good truck and see how many miles you can go without experiencing a breakdown. Thank you for your efforts.

This article was featured in The Mile Marker 20.3. To check out more articles from The Mile Markers, click here.