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Reliable trucks become even more critical with advent of HoS rules

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- A reliable, quality truck with dependable uptime is more important than ever, especially with th...

KIRKLAND, Wash. — A reliable, quality truck with dependable uptime is more important than ever, especially with the new Hours of Service rules right around the corner, said Jim Bechtold, Kenworth’s chief engineer.

“Under the new HOS rules, the clock starts ticking as soon as drivers go on-duty and continues counting up to 14 hours, whether they are driving or waiting at the loading dock,” Bechtold said. “This will put more pressure on drivers and their equipment to make on-time deliveries,” he said. “Deliveries and unloading will need to be scheduled down to the minute, so if a driver shows up late, it will cost everyone money. That’s why running a reliable truck is so important – it will help maximize uptime and productivity and minimize unexpected repairs. And for those who want to make a profit, it’s simply the smart way to go.”

Bechtold feels Kenworth is ahead of the curve thanks to the company’s history of paying attention to the smallest of details to make a better, more reliable truck. “As an example, if you look at the way we wire and plumb our trucks, it’s evident that ease of maintenance and reliability were the main motivators. Same with the way we use threaded steel spring pins and bushings to extend the front suspension and improve steering.

At the factory level, Bechtold says employees are encouraged to suggest ways to improve the assembly process.

“Our plant people are vital to quality control and they have a tremendous amount of pride in producing the highest quality truck possible,” said Bechtold. “Every year, dozens of improvements are made at the plants which gives our customers a more reliable truck.”

“The thing we’ve noticed over the years is Kenworth’s cab quality,” added Dick Terpening, of Terpening Trucking, based in Syracuse, N.Y. “With other trucks, it’s door hinges, window cranks, fuel gauges that break down – little things, really, but things that Kenworth has paid attention to. I was shown a hood hinge on another make of truck recently and this truck builder used a half-inch pin. Kenworth’s was seven-eighths of an inch. And it went all the way across. They’re little things, but they make a big difference.”

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