3 Keys to Unlocking Usage-Based Maintenance Opportunities with Telematics


Of all the variables used to calculate the total cost of ownership, maintenance is likely to be among the costliest over the life of the vehicle.

According to consulting firm Ernst & Young, maintenance costs increase exponentially with each year that a vehicle is in service. One company that was studied spent an average of 2.1 cents per mile on maintenance during the first year of vehicle ownership. By the seventh year, maintenance costs had increased to 16.2 cents per mile.

Part of this rise in cost is due to technicians spending as much as 80% of their time working on reactive maintenance rather than performing preventative procedures, a report by software company MaintainX says, suggesting that companies can save an average of 12-18% in costs by investing in preventative maintenance.

By installing telematics hardware and sensors onto their trucks, fleets can take advantage of telematics software as one of the most effective ways to ensure regular and effective upkeep of maintenance due to its ability to target maintenance opportunities. Here are three tips to get the most out of your telematics:

1. Data-Based Trailer Usage Metrics

Using today’s telematics software, fleets can add usage-based maintenance to their repertoire – maintenance triggered by the actual utilization of a vehicle. Telematics software can send a fleet notifications based on when a certain mileage point is reached or when a predetermined component-related milestone is hit.

At the same time, data-based maintenance can bring to light maintenance issues that might not have been caught otherwise.

“Data-based preventative maintenance allows you to look at the whole picture of use for your trailers,” says Chris Hoyt, FleetPulse product manager at Great Dane. “For example, look at the overall mileage and average weight on the trailer. If the average weight exceeds the fleet average and the miles are also higher than average, it’s a good indicator to check wear items like brake pads and tires.”

2. Prepare Your Fleet for the Weather

Fleets watching the weather can use telematics to prepare for poor road conditions before they affect the reliability of the truck’s components.

“Road salt and poor road conditions can affect components on a trailer,” Hoyt says. “Knowing where your trailers have been and how long they’ve been in those locations can give you indicators to what components need to be maintained sooner than others.”

So, if snow is in the forecast and telematics data says a truck’s air lines are approaching “marginal” territory for air discharge, a fleet can have them looked at or replaced early.

3. Identify Trailer Maintenance Patterns

Fleets that use data-based maintenance have an advantage over those relying on schedule-based maintenance because of the ability to identify component wear patterns early on.

“For example, being able to know if a tire inflation system has been inflating too often is a sign the tire may need a repair,” Hoyt says. “Combine that with total miles, and you can get a sense if the tires need to be checked and/or repaired.”

With the right telematics solution, fleets can get ahead of maintenance opportunities before they become a financial burden down the road

Learn more about Great Dane’s telematics solution.