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The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association recently surveyed its members about fleet maintenance. The individual results indicate a wide difference among producers. But, when grouped together, the data offers managers an idea of how their fleet maintenance costs compare with those of other producers.

The number of truck mixers to mechanics is a key ratio in budgeting, assuming an older fleet demands more maintenance and more mechanics. This is not always true. Several older fleets get by with a modest number of mechanics. However, the relationship between fleet age and maintenance costs can indicate when to purchase new trucks. While the results indicate slightly lower costs for the newest fleets, the difference from one end of the fleet age spectrum to the other is not dramatic. Many variables affect the survey results.

One discussion item among mechanics is establishing a crankcase drain interval. Our survey suggests that most producers use engine hours. Calendar days are the second most common PM interval criteria for managers. Some producers indicated that they are evaluating oil analysis and even fuel consumption as possible alternatives to setting their PM schedule.

In this initial survey, the rear-to-front-discharge fleet cost comparisons were quite competitive, but only five of the reporting companies ran entirely front-discharge fleets. Seven companies had mixed rear- and front-discharge fleets.

The survey data found a wide operating range on front-end loader maintenance.

Forty-five U.S. and two Canadian companies participated in the NRMCA survey, representing fleets ranging from 6 to nearly 800 concrete trucks. The data was sorted by region, but not enough data was pooled from each region to be considered statistically representative.

The association will send out a shorter version of the survey to its members this winter.

The article includes a table of 1998 NRMCA fleet cost survey results.

Keywords: survey, truck, maintenance, NRMCA