Efficiency Enterprises, Inc. 6300 Efficiency Way Baltimore, MD 21225

This Is Your Average Truck’s Wear and Tear

Whether for personal use or work, every truck experiences wear and tear as time goes on. This is especially true when the vehicle is used for tough jobs requiring a lot of driving and mess which can accelerate this process. When renting trucks and vans, it’s essential to be aware of the condition of the vehicle and to know the difference between major damage and average wear and tear.

On the Outside
The outside of the truck or van includes the paint, the body, the bumpers, tires, and the glass. Average wear and tear on the outside of the vehicle can come from natural causes that aren’t related to the use of the truck itself. Proper storage can eliminate factors like rain and direct sunlight that can accelerate fading and rust.

Body and Bumpers
Minor dents 2 inches or less in diameter or scratches less than 3 inches in length are considered average wear to the body and bumpers. It’s important to note that any dent in the body of the vehicle must also not affect the panel’s structural integrity.

Glass
Average wear can look like minor scuff marks, light scratches, and a maximum of two minor chips that aren’t within the field of vision. Due to the nature of glass, these types of damage can quickly escalate to larger problems that can impede vision and become a dangerous liability. It’s important to attend to wear on glass promptly to avoid more severe issues.

On the Inside
The interior of the truck can get just as messy as the outside and routine driving will cause the mechanical parts within to experience normal wear.

Carpet, Upholstery, Dashboard Controls
Scratches, scuffs, minor stains, and dirt is expected on the inside of the vehicle, especially one used for loading and unloading or transportation between work sites. You can expect to see this on the seats, carpet, floor mats, and even the ceiling. Buttons and controls on the dashboard can fade over time with regular use, and hinges and handles for doors will begin to wear.

Trunks, Truck Beds, Cargo Areas
These are areas that are intended to experience scuffs, scrapes, fading, and weathering. Any damage that affects the structural integrity of these places is considered past average wear and tear.

Brakes
Brake lines, brake pads, shocks and struts, and springs are pieces of the system that will slow down your vehicle and bring it to a stop. Heavy loads and quick stops can cause accelerated wear and tear, leading to frequent maintenance and replacement.

Clutch and Transmission
The clutch is responsible for connecting and disconnecting the engine from the vehicle’s transmission and is an area that experiences a lot of wear and tear. You can expect to find slight wear on the clutch disc, pressure plates, and flywheel.

Cooling and Electrical
Cooling includes air conditioning and internal cooling systems like the water pump and radiator. Commonly, the average wear to a cooling system is minor rust and leaky pipes.

Electrical pieces within your vehicle like the battery, fuses, and the computer system can wear with use over time. On average, car batteries are the most common part of the electrical system to experience wear. A new battery can last up to 3 to 4 years but will need replacing when it begins to fail. Common signs include dim interior and exterior lights, corroded connectors, and an engine that is slow to start.

Overall
Renting your work fleet has many benefits that can be an asset to your financials and your quality of work. Assuring that your fleet is maintained and cared for guarantees the best outcome in the long term, and knowing what your truck’s average wear and tear is will prepare you for it.

Whether you need help with maintaining your fleet, or acquiring a new one, Efficiency Enterprises can help. Contact us today.

Read more

8 Ways to Cut Down on Fleet Operation Costs

Managers are always looking for ways to bring down fleet operation costs and make their businesses more efficient. Luckily there are easy, cost-effective ways to bring down fleet costs while also improving the longevity and safety of your trucks.

1. Proper Driver Training

The easiest way to bring down fleet costs is to invest in training your drivers in fuel-efficient driving practices. Bring in defensive driving instructors to teach your drivers to drive slowly and cautiously. Instigate penalties to discourage aggressive driving, which can cost you up to a dollar per mile on some trucks. Multiplied across your entire fleet, driver training can make a big difference for your bottom line.

2. Carefully Monitor Tire Pressure

 Tire pressure can have a very large impact on your fleet’s fuel economy. The farther away from the manufacturer’s recommended PSI your tires are, the less fuel-efficient your vehicles will be. Weekly or daily checks can ensure that you are staying within the ranges recommended by tire manufacturers.

3. Run Vehicles in Shifts

Every driver does not need their own vehicle. Having your fleet vehicles operating in a morning and afternoon shift reduces the number of vehicles you need to operate while increasing fuel economy (reduces fuel used on startup and warm-up, especially in colder climates). If you move to a shift system, be aware that increased run time on vehicles will lead to slightly increased maintenance costs.

4. Reduce Miles Driven 

The fewer miles your vehicles cover, the less fuel and maintenance they will require. Investing in a quality fleet vehicle tracking and maps software can greatly reduce miles driven by avoiding inefficient routing. The better organized your fleet is, the more efficient it will be.

5. Lower the Cost of Your Fuel

Research the different company fuel cards that you give to your drivers. Depending on the company you get your cards from, you can receive discounts on fuel and other benefits that will help you reduce costs. Several cards will give you as much as 0.15$ off a gallon which can add up to big savings when multiplied by the size of your fleet.

6. Consider the Lifecycle of Your Vehicles 

 Often companies will mandate to keep vehicles in service for longer than they are operationally viable to avoid the cost of buying new vehicles. This increases overall fleet costs because as vehicles get older their maintenance costs will increase exponentially. New vehicles will require less maintenance and will have better fuel economy, making getting the lifecycle of your vehicles right a top priority for reducing fleet costs.

7.  Consider Resale Value

When buying fleet vehicles, consider what will allow you the best resale value. The easiest way to ensure a higher resale value is to buy trucks in neutral or high-demand colors. White vehicles are proven to have the highest resale value of any color. Keeping detailed maintenance records that can be provided to potential buyers is also proven to ensure a higher resale value.

8. Buy or Rent Vehicles in Volume 

Buying or renting your fleet vehicles in volume allows you to negotiate a lower price per vehicle than if you were to buy vehicles in smaller groups or individually. Volume purchasing requires good forecasting of your business’s needs and requires more capital, so make sure you are prepared before attempting to buy in volume.

Decreasing the operating cost of your fleet is a great way to make your business more efficient and increase profits. Implementing any of the simple solutions provided above will go a long way to making your fleet safer and more cost-effective. Let Efficiency find the best solution for your business!

Read more

Commercial Truck Production Delay: Expected Through 2023?

The production of Class 8 trucks is showing some signs of improvement, but freight truck production won’t truly rebound until well into 2023, most experts are saying. COVID 19 has caused an assortment of issues in the OEM markets, and these issues have been further compounded as new variants have cropped up all over the world, leading to further shutdowns and labor shortages. The demand for Class 8 trucks and freight trailers has not gone down; quite the contrary, it has grown significantly. However, the industry has never fully recovered from the original COVID 19 lockdowns, and new lockdowns and infection rates of the Delta and Omicron variants have continued to put the OEMs further and further behind.

Labor and Parts Shortages

Despite the demand, many OEMs have had to place significant caps on the orders, as the fulfillment of orders has been difficult for the previous years. Many companies had to resort to laying off and furloughing employees at the start of the pandemic, and many of those employees have not returned. Don Ake, FTR Vice President of Commercial Vehicles, stated that “suppliers need workers desperately.” While there are shortages in truck components, specifically semiconductors, improving the supply of parts will not necessarily lead to drastically improved production. Ake continues by stating, “even if the semiconductor issue was solved on the Class 8 side, you still wouldn’t be able to get up to maximum production.” Labor shortages are affecting many industries across the globe, and freight truck production is no less a victim of this than any other industry.

The lack of parts, specifically semiconductors, is still a major issue, though. Countries like Malaysia and Japan, major producers of the vital component, have experienced new lockdown protocols and have been ravaged by intense infection rates of the newer COVID variants. Further compounding the issue is the fact that semiconductor production focused more so on household goods as trucks were taken off the road with new national and state limitations on travel. With both production of the necessary components down, and with the reallocating of where the parts go, this has led OEMs to begin making ‘red tag units’, trucks and trailers made without certain components. However, even with some of these corners being cut, the production of trucks is still running at a deficit of over ten thousand, with trailers only doing slightly better.

Optimism for 2023

There is some reason for optimism on the horizon, though. FTR projects that nearly two hundred and seventy-five thousand Class 8 trucks will hit the market this year, possibly rising to three hundred and thirty-five thousand. 2023 should see the largest increase in production, with estimates of Class 8 trucks breaking three hundred and fifty thousand and higher. Again, Ake speculates that “this is going to keep the OEM build rates elevated into 2023 and maybe into 2024.” He clarifies, though, that, “we’re in catch-up mode and we’re going to be in catch-up mode for a while.”

Despite the labor shortages and the bottle-necking of production caused by a lack of components, there is reason to be hopeful for the future of freight production. After all, the decrease in production that the industry has seen over the last couple of years is not from lack of demand, but rather from lack of production ability. As the component industries start producing at their usual rates, and as workers begin to return to the industry, the demand to get Class 8 trucks and trailers on the roads will be staggering. Most industry experts are pointing to some time into 2023 as the point where these shortages will be fixed.

Looking for a solution to your fleet shortage? Let Efficiency Enterprises help as your fleet management partner! Contact us

Read more

These Tips Can Get You More Miles Per Gallon Of Diesel

Diesel fuel is far more economic than gasoline when utilized properly. On a fundamental level, it packs more of a “punch” per gallon than gasoline does. There is one exception to this; those who more frequently drive inner-city will not benefit from diesel, even when these tips are used to their fullest potential.

Categorically, there are two main principles to adhere to if you want to save as much money on diesel fuel as you possibly can. One is equipment maintenance and the other is user-consciousness.

Equipment Maintenance

No matter what you drive, you should always be sure to check your equipment frequently to ensure that the vehicle is running as efficiently as possible. To maximize your fuel economy, you’ll want to be certain to keep an eye on some specific details.

  • Tire Pressure & Tread

At first glance, it may not seem like something as menial as a few PSI can make a difference in your fuel economy but over a distance and period, it will become apparent.

Low tire pressures cause your tires to spread their surface area wider, subsequently gripping more of the road, causing your vehicle to have to work harder to pull itself.

The same concept governs the reason you wouldn’t want the wrong tread on your tires. If you drive in warm climates but equip your vehicle with tread designed for winter conditions, this can cause a noticeable drop in fuel economy.

  • Suspension

If something doesn’t feel quite as it should as you drive, there’s a fair chance that you’re right. Something as subtle as a pull to one side can mean the difference in saving money or burning it up.

User-Consciousness 

It’s not always easy to make discernable choices that will benefit a specific aspect of your vehicle. However, if some of these simple tips can be made into habits, you’ll see a noteworthy jump in your overall fuel economy.

  • Resist The Air Conditioner

This is one of those hard habits to break. You start to feel a little toasty and instinct kicks in for you to crank up the AC. The only issue is that air conditioning can affect your fuel efficiency far more than you might realize.

This isn’t to say that if it’s over a hundred degrees you should force yourself to suffer a heat stroke for a few extra MPG. Simply be mindful of the instinct to overuse the AC.

  • Slow Acceleration

Make an effort to gain speed at a slower pace. It’s okay to have time between your gear shifts, you’re not racing anyone on the express way. Punching your throttle can drastically eat away at your fuel efficiency. Sacrifice the little bit of excitement you feel when powering through gears; your vehicle will thank you.

  • Cruise Control

This is one of the single greatest innovations in automotive technology since antilock braking systems. For long-distance driving, you want to fluctuate your speed as minimally as possible. Therefore, cruise control can help alleviate the need for you to focus too hard on your speeds.

Be mindful of your attentiveness while utilizing cruise control, however. Taking that one task away from your conscious mind can be a slippery slope into becoming complacent behind the wheel.

  • Turn The Vehicle Off

Contrary to popular belief, unless you’re stopping for less than a minute, it doesn’t pay to leave the vehicle running. The longer your vehicle is running, the more fuel economy you’re losing.

  • Shore Power

When stopping for the evening or taking breaks at truck stops, use their 120v hookups and turn off your engine. If you have any electronic appliances or anything else that runs on a 120v, that is more than enough of a reason to use the shore power feature.

  • Lower Your Average Speed

Every mile per hour over fifty-five that you average will cost you in fuel economy. Sure you want to save time but if fuel is any concern to you whatsoever, then it’s a valuable piece of information to have.

  • Stop Less

The less you have to come to complete stops, the more you save on fuel. This can translate in many ways, from anticipating traffic lights to following those vehicles in front of you at a wide distance.

Any amount of complete stops you can shave from your trip will save you valuable fuel economy.

  • It’s All Downhill

Similar to the idea of not hammering the throttle or forcing your vehicle to overwork; when you stop at truck stops or anywhere else for that matter, stop at the crest of hills if you can help it.

This helps you to alleviate unneeded throttling because you can coast to regain much-needed momentum so that you can get up to speed without using the throttle.

Less throttle = better fuel economy!

Read more

Readying Your Fleet for Winter: Why It’s Important

Harsh winter conditions and frigid temperatures are hard on vehicles, especially fleet vehicles which spend hours on the road. To help avoid repairs and costly downtime during winter, you need to ready your fleet for winter in the following ways.

Pay Close Attention to the Tires

Cold temperatures affect tire pressure as it causes tires to deflate. If unnoticed, deflated tires will adversely affect the tire’s durability, fuel economy and pose a threat to overall safety. Therefore, you need to keep tabs on the tires to minimize these risks.

Besides, the freezing temperature during winter causes rubber compounds in tires to harden. Since tires are made of rubber, they become less effective in gripping the road.

As part of tire preparation, rotate the tires and set reminders to keep rotating them. Consider switching from rib tread to lug tread tires to enjoy better stability and vehicle handling to drive smoothly on challenging roads. Additionally, install valve caps on the tires to avoid ice and build-up on the tires.

Change to Winterized Fuel and Protect Your Brakes

A major complaint during winter is vehicles that don’t start when the temperature goes below zero. Fortunately, you can make use of winterized fuel which operates at extremely low temperatures. You can also make use of a special additive package to increase horsepower and reduce fuel costs.

Brakes are also crucial for highway safety, especially during winter. With snow on the roads, the road gets slippery and needs your brakes to be optimally functioning. Check on your brakes and the brake chamber for any tears or signs of corrosion. Consult your mechanic and ask them to add some lubricant to the brake adjusters for reliable stopping power.

Frequently Service Your Fleet and Check Fluids

Cold weather can damage the wearable components of your trucks. Therefore, during winter, you need to be proactive about your fleet maintenance. Frequently check on brake pads, worn belts, and hoses to catch problems in time and avoid expensive repairs. You should also check the glow plug operation for diesel trucks.

Pay close attention to your vehicle’s fluid levels. Since engine oils are not the same, using the wrong oil, especially during winter, can result in excessive engine wear. Besides, heavy oils tend to be highly viscous in cold weather, thus don’t offer the same lubrication as in warm weather.

Therefore, for an easy fleet startup, consider using full-synthetic oil with low viscosity that can operate effectively under different temperatures. As a fleet rental service, you can consult us for recommendations on the best cold-weather fluids to use.

Why You Need to Prepare Your Fleet

Since vehicles are manufactured to survive harsh weather conditions, why should you get your fleet ready for winter? Winter comes with extremely harsh conditions, and ignoring preparation tips means you will be risking antifreeze failure, breakdowns, and low tire traction, which can cause accidents and losses.

Preparing your fleet for winter is important because, first, it saves you money. Although you will spend money getting your fleet ready for winter, it will help save money you would have otherwise spent making repairs or paying for accidents you could have avoided with proper procedures.

Second, preparing for winter helps preserve car tires. Tires are expensive, and it is essential to enhance the durability of your current tires. Besides, failing to take care of car tires during winter could also affect your vehicle’s alignment, causing more inconveniences.

Lastly, preparation helps your fleet remain safe with minimal chances of damage and loss. You wouldn’t want to lose merchandise during transportation. You can avoid this by ensuring your fleet is ready for the harsh winter conditions.

With the above tips, you can easily take care of your fleet during winter. Contact Efficiency today for all of your fleet needs.

Read more

How to Remove Stress Out of Commercial Truck Leasing

For many companies, commercial truck leasing has been nothing short of a highly stressful affair. Instead of enjoying and experiencing the joys of truck leasing and realizing business dreams, what they experience is just a protracted nightmare. Fortunately, there are several tips that you can employ to ensure that you don’t end up too stressed by truck leasing.

Do Thorough Research on Truck Leasing Programs

Most of the mistakes you will make when it comes to truck leasing are a result of trying to do things at the last minute. Therefore, you must avoid doing that and ensure that you know everything you must know ahead of time. In fact, the more details you find out ahead of time, the better your decisions will be when it comes to getting into lease agreements.

One of the best things you can do is talk to experienced operators about best practices when it comes to leasing trucks. There are several questions you can ask. For instance, you can inquire about their monthly or weekly rates or down payments. You can also find out if they handle any maintenance, towing, or repairs? The trick is to know as much as you can before you sign anything. Find out what’s in the lease contract. If everything is clear before you sign, then the chance that things will go wrong becomes slimmer. The truck leasing service should be able to answer all of your questions.

Read the Terms of Service

If you are regularly transporting heavy loads, it means you will likely need to lease trucks for a longer period. So before you agree to anything, ensure that you read the terms and conditions thoroughly, so you don’t get into an agreement without proper understanding. You need to know the kind of support the leasing company is promising to offer. This will help clear things if something unexpected happens. You also need to find out if there are any distance limits placed on the trucks. Failure to abide by some of the conditions listed in the terms and conditions can result in penalties.

Consider Prices

As with all your expenses, you need to compare several offers and pick the one that best serves your interests. You must never jump at the first deal you will find. Some service providers might just charge you a lot of money even if their service is no better than the next. The first thing you need to do is set a budget and ensure that you stick to it. Hiring services rarely negotiate, so you need to find a provider with a price that you are comfortable with.

Check the Type of Trucks

Another thing you seriously need to look into is the size of the trucks you’re looking at leasing. Older vehicles will probably not be as efficient as you want, and they need more maintenance. If you are planning to purchase the trucks at the end of the lease, it is not advisable to pick trucks that will be difficult to maintain and upgrade.

Accessible Service Centers

It’s not uncommon for vehicles to break down. Sometimes even the best-maintained vehicles can have problems. Before you sign the lease agreement, you must find out how quickly the provider can address the problem and where their service centers are located. You need to get your trucks from a service that takes the safety of its customers seriously and offers 24/7 roadside assistance. Some of the best service providers will provide you with a replacement truck at no extra cost to ensure that there are no delays on your part.

These are some of the things you must look into to ensure that you don’t end up in a tricky spot after leasing trucks. The idea is to be well informed when it comes to how lease agreements work and what you should be looking for in a service provider. Let Efficiency Enterprises make your leasing experience easy! Contact us today to learn more.

Read more

4 Ways To Minimize The Risk Of Risky Drivers In Your Fleet

Statistics show that on average commercial fleets have a disturbing 20 percent yearly accident rate – and that human error is behind nearly 80% of all these accidents. A high-risk driver can cost your firm as much as $70,000 in a single accident. To put this into perspective: it’s nearly double the cost of the average workplace injury.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that fleet managers are under increasing pressure, not only to identify risky drivers, but also to boost safety levels by doing whatever is necessary to remedy the situation.

If the safety of your fleet is a top priority, it’s imperative to change the driver issues that are causing all these accidents. But where do you start? Continue reading to find out.

Start by identifying high-risk drivers

If you only have three vehicles in your fleet, you will already know which one of the three drivers is a higher risk than the others. If you have 300 vehicles, things are much more complex. Work methodically. Start by checking all the drivers’ accident histories. Also, check every vehicle record. This will help to identify those drivers who have been involved in the highest number of accidents or who have abnormally high numbers of traffic violations on their record.

Classify these drivers into risk categories

Let’s say that, after studying all the vehicle and driver records, a list of 40 drivers who have an above-average number of infractions on their record emerges. That does not mean they are all in the same risk category. The next step is to classify them into risk groups.

At the bottom would be those with one or two equipment violations. The next group could be those with three or four violations, including breaking traffic rules. In an even higher risk group could be those with more than four violations, including serious speeding and other moving violations.

Right at the top should be those who have committed serious offenses like driving under the influence, ignoring stop signs or traffic lights, or exceeding the speed limit by more than 25mph.

Train and re-train problem drivers

Once it becomes clear who the high-risk drivers are and where the problem areas lie, the next step is corrective training. Whether this happens online, behind the wheel, or in a classroom, it should specifically focus on eliminating problem areas.

Some issues can easily be fixed by making sure the drivers in question get a refresher course that covers topics such as following distances, the dangers of speeding, driving in bad weather, etc. In other cases, the driver might have to be monitored behind the wheel to pinpoint and eliminate bad driving habits.

Create a culture of safe driving in your firm

While a once-off ‘drive safely’ campaign might be useful, in the long run, more will be needed. To keep the issue of safe driving on your drivers’ minds, consider doing the following:

Involve managers. Managers are in closer contact with drivers than the top management team. Start by making sure safe driving is one of their top priorities and request them to regularly stress the importance of this whenever they are in contact with drivers.

Safety meetings. Safe driving is important enough to warrant a regular meeting where you, for example, get someone from outside the firm to give a talk on this topic. It will also go a long way to keep safe driving on everyone’s mind.

Memos, emails, and newsletters. On their own, these are not enough. But when used as part of an ongoing safe driving campaign, they can help to keep the message alive. If one of your drivers, for example, celebrates 10 violation-free years, use one or more of these to make sure everyone knows about it.

Sources:

https://www.mixtelematics.com/safety
https://www.transpoco.com/blog/how-to-reduce-fleet-vehicle-accidents-starting-with-these-5-tips
https://www.automotive-fleet.com/340207/how-to-deal-with-high-risk-drivers
https://www.wilmarinc.com/blog/8-steps-to-handle-risky-drivers-in-your-fleet
Read more