VANCOUVER, B.C. - Keeping the lid on air conditioning costs has been a challenge for truck fleet managers for a number of years. And recent economic and regulatory developments in the trucking industry are expected to increase the pressure. Here a...
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Keeping the lid on air conditioning costs has been a challenge for truck fleet managers for a number of years. And recent economic and regulatory developments in the trucking industry are expected to increase the pressure. Here are five key reasons:
1. Extended Trade Cycles – Many fleets extended trade cycles over the past 18 months to avoid purchasing new, unproven engines after October 2002. By extending cycles beyond 300,000 or even 400,000 miles, fleets greatly increase the chance of air conditioning compressor and clutch failures. Protecting against catastrophic on-road failures of these components becomes a much higher priority.
2. Hotter Engines – To reduce NOx emissions, many engines built after October 2002 use exhaust gas recirculation systems and run hotter. This additional heat pools under the hood and is transferred to components such as air conditioning compressors. After less than a year of running the new engines, some fleets are already reporting premature failures of compressors and clutches.
3. More Idling Time – New driver hours of service (HOS) rules which came into effect Jan. 4 require rest periods that are two hours longer than under current rules. During warm weather, drivers will be idling their trucks longer to stay cool while they rest. Idling trucks is harder on compressors, particularly if the A/C system has lost some of its refrigerant and the compressor must cycle more frequently.
4. Worsening Driver Shortage – Fleets are predicting that more drivers and trucks will be needed to comply with the new HOS rules. That will put pressure on a shrinking driver pool, and fleets will need to do more to keep A/C systems functional so that drivers are comfortable in warmer weather. A malfunctioning air conditioning system will become a lot more expensive if the fleet loses a driver over it.
5.Equipment Downtime Becoming More Critical – More and more manufacturers are moving to just-in-time strategies and lowering inventories to reduce operating costs. That’s putting more pressure on fleets to minimize road failures and reduce truck downtime caused by sudden A/C system failures.
The HOS rules will make uptime even more important because drivers will need to make the best use of on-duty hours. Since most drivers are paid by the mile, downtime is money out of their own pocket.
The point is, failing to prevent A/C failures can undermine your operation’s productivity and hurt driver morale.
– Information courtesy of Index Sensors & Controls Inc.
Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry. All posts by Truck News