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diesel truck fleet

Don’t Rely on the Dealer to Prevent Expensive Repairs and Downtime

Apr 25, 2017

It was not that long ago that maintaining a mid/heavy-duty diesel engine only required regular oil changes and an occasional wrenching. Unfortunately, today’s emission compliant engine features a complicated array of parts and sensors that work together to reduce pollutants. If one piece of the puzzle fails, the entire system suffers. Maintaining today’s diesel engine has become a huge burden and expense. However, with a new perspective on maintenance it is possible to achieve maximum fleet efficiency, manageable downtime, and reduced expenses.

gap in information

A Gap in Information

The rapid change in diesel mechanics that was necessary to meet strict emission standards has outpaced the working knowledge base of most mechanics. This is not a knock on mechanics. The simple fact is that maintenance and repairs on diesel trucks has shifted away from being entirely mechanical. Today, it requires a combination of electronic and mechanical expertise. This requires a very strong understanding of available technology combined with a mechanical understanding of how modern Aftertreatment components work.

Unfortunately, most working mechanics don’t get the opportunity to re-train/re-school. The little bit of “training” they do get is usually in the form of a lengthy, ineffective DVD that usually stays sealed to the inside of a new engine manual.

A similar problem applies to mechanics coming straight out of vocational Diesel Technician schools. The curriculum at most schools teaches a fault-code based diagnostics approach to repairs. This, at least, introduces some of the available technology and tools needed for today’s diesel maintenance. However, it teaches a “parts changing” mentality to maintenance, rather than a proactive, preventative mentality.

“Although no hard data exists, some fleet managers say that diesel vehicles average 2.5 to 4.5 more downtime days per year (compared to gas vehicles). This is primarily due to either the lack of parts availability or to a shortage of qualified technicians, either at the dealership or fleet level.”

— Government Fleet

Warranty Repairs Are Not the Solution

This issue has led many fleets to over rely on the dealership for maintenance and repairs. After all, the dealership is the direct link to the engine manufacturer. As such, they “should” have all the education and training needed to maintain and repair the trucks they are selling. However, the information gap applies to the dealerships as well.
Any fleet that has gone to the dealership with a repeat repair has experienced this first hand. The dealership solution is typically to “warranty” the repair, even multiple times, on the same part. InTu Mobility refers to this as “symptom-based” diagnostics. This approach to maintenance leads to on-going repairs and downtime because simply correcting the “symptom” does not often correct the actual “problem”. The biggest problem in the industry is that this has become the accepted standard for diesel maintenance.

“Most Dealerships are really good at changing broken parts, but not at telling you why it broke or how to keep it from breaking again.”

— Master Technician

new mindset new results

A New Standard

There is a clear need to reduce the cost of maintenance and repairs for diesel fleets. The American Trucking Association recently delved into the issue looking for a solution, and concluded that “reducing maintenance costs related to exhaust aftertreatment systems requires fleets to develop their own preventive maintenance (PM) schedules and not rely solely on OEM recommendations.”

Diesel I.O. Aftertreatment Predictive Maintenance service approaches diesel repairs on Cummins, Paccar, and ISX engines with a new standard. Developed with over 10 years of Aftertreatment specific R&D, Predictive Maintenance is able to reduce on-going repairs and downtime for your fleet by preventing large scale Aftertreatment failure.

predictive maintenance chart

By combining today’s available technology and tools with an industry leading working knowledge of Aftertreatment, we are able to prevent and PREDICT Aftertreatment related failure.

When integrated into existing 90-day PM schedules, Diesel I.O. Predictive service will prevent the progressive damage that leads to costly repairs and downtime. Additionally, your fleet will be able to budget for and schedule downtime by being able to anticipate maintenance and repair needs.

identify the problem

Early Identification Saves Money

The key principle of Diesel I.O. Aftertreatment Predictive Maintenance is early and accurate identification of small issues. Correcting these issues prevents the progressive damage to other Aftertreatment components. This, in turn, prevents costly repairs and longer downtimes.  For example, did you know that by not accurately identifying the root cause of a problem a $1000.00 repair and 1 day downtime can turn in to a $9000.00 repair and 4 days downtime.

Identifying the early warning signs and correcting the small problems is not something that dealerships are able to provide. They are constrained by OEM protocol and decision trees that don’t allow for the kind of “outside-the-box” approach needed. Diesel I.O. predictive maintenance provides service in your own yard, on your schedule. In most cases, complete Aftertreatment health diagnostics only adds about 30 minutes to your existing PM check list.

Stop wasting money on repairs that can be avoided. It is time for a new approach to maintenance. With Diesel I.O. Aftertreatment Predictive Maintenance it is possible to achieve maximum fleet efficiency, manageable downtime, and reduced expenses TODAY.

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