How many hours of business downtime does a business with a fleet of vehicles face because of refueling, washing and maintenance each?
Hello! Thanks for your question about the breakdown of fleet vehicles' business downtime. I understand that you will be using this research to inform fleet owners about the opportunity cost of down time in general. In short, the answer is :1) fleet owners spend 62 hours a year per vehicle to refill gas tanks, OR 3% of working hours; 2) 12.4 hours a year per vehicle on washing, OR 0.6% of working hours in a year; and at the very least 28 hours a year per vehicle on preventive maintenance, OR 1.35% of working hours in a year. These figures will likely need to be adjusted upwards for heavy-duty fleet cars such as tankers/lorries/large trucks, and adjusted downwards for cabs, taxis and rental cars. Below you will find a deep dive of my findings and methodology.
I began my research by broadly surveying some articles available online regarding fleet maintenance, preventive maintenance and the cost per downtime hour to obtain a better understanding of the topic at hand. After that, I looked at journal articles, industry reports, recommended federal and state preventive maintenance plans as well as articles on commercial fleets and fleet washing companies to obtain the necessary statistics to triangulate the number of hours. For this analysis, I have decided to focus on trucks as they are considered the average fleet vehicle, wedged in between light cars and large lorries/tankers in terms of size and haulage.
NUMBER OF WORKING HOURS
A fleet driver commonly works 260 days a year, 8 hours a day. In other words, a fleet driver works : 260*8= 2080 hours a year. This figure can be used as a proxy for how many hours on average is a fleet vehicle 'on the road' in a year.
The average truck/SUV holds between 27-35 gallons of fuel. For this analysis, I have decided to use 30 gallon midpoint as the average fleet vehicle's fuel capacity.
According to this article, a 30 gallon fleet vehicle takes 20 minutes to be refueled, and their fuel tanks need to be refilled five nights a week. In other words, the number of hours taken by the average fleet vehicle to refuel their tanks is:
(20 minutes*5 nights * (260 working days/ 7 days in a week))/60 minutes in an hour = approximately 62 hours a year spent on refueling one fleet vehicle.
62 hours a year/2080 working hours a year * 100%= 2.98%= Approximately 3% of working hours per vehicle.
Fleet vehicles are often sent to specialized fleet washing companies (such as this) that clean several vehicles at one time, and cleaning usually takes twenty minutes a batch. According to the sample preventive maintenance plan by the Oregon state government, a fleet vehicle should ideally be cleaned at least once a week; more frequently if needed. Therefore, the number of hours spent on cleaning is:
(20 minutes * (260 working days/ 7 days in a week))/60 minutes in an hour= 12.38= Approximately 12.4 hours in a year.
12.4 hours/2080 working hours *100%= 0.596%= Approximately 0.6% of working hours in a year per vehicle.
According to the Irish Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing Authority, the frequency of preventive maintenance intervals depends on the load of the fleet vehicle and miles traversed in a year. Generally, a medium haul vehicle (a truck) should be sent for preventive maintenance at least once every 10 weeks.
Generally, every vehicle 'touch' (maintenance procedure) undertaken during preventive maintenance requires a minimum of an hour's labor.
Therefore, the number of hours spent on preventive maintenance a year is:
1 hour *((365** days in a year/ 7 days in a week) / 10 weeks per interval)= 27.18 hours = Approximately 28 hours as maintenance hours cannot be reasonably reduced into a few minutes (0.18 of an hour).
28 hours/2080 working hours= 1.346% = Approximately 1.35% of working hours a year, AT THE VERY LEAST. This figure will likely need to be adjusted upwards according to the mileage of the vehicle in question.
**365 days is used instead of 260 working days as vehicles need to be regularly maintained regardless of how much time is spent on the road -- this is because some parts deteriorate over time.
To wrap it up, 1) fleet owners spend 62 hours a year per vehicle to refill gas tanks, OR 3% of working hours; 2) 12.4 hours a year per vehicle on washing, OR 0.6% of working hours in a year; and at the very least 28 hours a year per vehicle on preventive maintenance, OR 1.35% of working hours in a year. These figures will likely need to be adjusted upwards for heavy-duty fleet cars such as tankers/lorries/large trucks, and adjusted downwards for cabs, taxis and rental cars.
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