A robust preventive maintenance program clearly maximizes a carrier’s return on investment by extending uptime and equipment life, but it can also improve a heavy truck’s fuel economy by 5-10%, according to a new report issued by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE).
“The reason you do maintenance is to keep trucks up and running,” said NACFE’s Mike Roeth on a conference call with Truck News and other trade media. “Our major finding is there’s a secondary benefit with respect to fuel economy.”
AS Truck News reports, NACFE examined 10 components and systems as part of its study. They included: lubricants/engine oil; intake/exhaust system and DPFs; engine cooling; air compressors; wheel alignment; tires; fuel filter systems; aerodynamic devices; electrical systems; and air-conditioning.
The report found that proper maintenance can address 30-50% of the fuel consumption related to those parts and systems.
“Certainly no truck will ever have problems with all 10 of these components at once, but the massive size of that figure is indicative of just how significant the opportunity is to use maintenance to improve fuel efficiency,” NACFE reports. “In short, proper maintenance saves fuel.”
Fleets surveyed as part of the study said they have seen a 5-10% fuel economy improvement after implementing rigorous preventive maintenance practices.
NACFE came to four key findings through the study: That fleets value maintenance but tend to look at it as a means to reduce downtime rather than improve fuel economy; there is strong evidence that well maintained trucks will enjoy improved fuel economy; that increased fuel economy can be used to justify investing in preventive maintenance technologies, tools, etc.; and that there are many sources available to help with decision-making.