Truck Ownership/Operating Costs

Discussion in 'Storage Trailer' started by Aligator, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. Aligator

    Aligator Light Load Member

    Jun 21, 2005
    Daydreaming and planning...........

    For you O/O's......what do you shell out in maintenance costs? I know it varies a lot from year to year, but overall, what's it shake out to be annually?

    Tractor and Trailer both..
    buddyvuk Thanks this.
  2. The Bearded Canuk

    The Bearded Canuk Bobtail Member

    Oct 14, 2005
    I'd be real interested in your thoughts too. I'm away on a long and well earned vacation, but am thinking about starting up on my own when I'm back out there.
  3. TurboTrucker

    TurboTrucker Road Train Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    Rossville, Georgia
    I have been pouring over my records, to obtain some concise and definitive figures on this question, and I think I have a decent answer for those that desire to know about the costs of operating a truck, and trailer.

    Over the past four years, I operated two trucks, trading the one I had in on a new one in August of 2004, which I then ran until February of this year. All the figures below will represent an average of the operation of the two trucks. The trailer costs will be derived from costs incurred during part of that time, as I sold the trailer at the time I bought the new truck, and leased the new truck on with a Motor Carrier, and operated their trailers. I've broken it down into as many categories as I can. Naturally, some items will not apply for each and every year, but budgeting for them is not only wise, it's essential.

    All figures are the average PER YEAR costs.

    The Tractor:

    Oil Changes (full pm's): $1,044.00
    Tires: $1333.00 (recaps on rear axles)
    Drivetrain maintenance (other than engine): $245.00
    Lighting replacement: $43.00
    Brakes: $312.00
    Miscellaneous: $550.00

    (miscellaneous category includes incidental expenses for items such as a waterpump and alternator replacement, and clutch and brake adjustments)

    The Trailer:

    Routine maintenance: $340.00
    Electrical maintenance: $80.00
    Damage repair (walls): $140.00
    Brakes: $196.00
    Tires (recaps): $587.00
    Lighting replacements: $46.00
    Miscellaneous: $120.00

    Miscellaneous category includes incidental expenses for replacement of two brake chambers and a damaged air line).

    Average miles covered over the three year period come to 89,234 miles per year.

    Maintenance costs per year averaged a total of $3527.00 for the truck, and $1509.00 for the trailer.

    This translates into an average per mile cost of .039 for the tractor, and .017 for the trailer, or a combined average maintenance cost of just under 6 cents per mile. I always budgeted 10 cents per mile, in case of a catastrophic maintenance expense, and left it alone to build in a separate account, tied to a bank debit card for use on the road.

    I am very easy on a truck, in that I don't push it, and I drive at speeds that are often less than the limits allowed. I credit my lower costs than average to "babying" my equipment. Still, things are going to wear out, so I could just as easily spend more than the ten cents per mile, if the unexpected happens, which encompasses so many things, like a rear end or transmission failure. A wheel bearing burning out and not caught before it ruins a spindle will eat you alive. If you have to be towed to a shop or have to call for road service, it will eat into that precious reserve of cash. A couple of blown tires can set you back $700 to $800. I will not buy recaps on the road, because I've been down that road, and had them blow two weeks later, a thousand miles from where I purchased them, and lost every cent paid for them.

    OOIDA has been actively conducting surveys of Owner Operator's costs for the past three years, and there is alot to be learned in what they have had submitted to them. It fits right in line with some of what I've posted elsewhere in other sections of the forum about what little there is to be expected in running a truck of your own.

    You can see the 2003 results here:

    As you will see, the average NET profit per mile is around 36-39 cents per mile, and that isn't something to brag about. It's a pittance compared to what was made up until the turn of the century.

    With fuel a today's costs, the expectation is even less, and I wouldn't advise a soul to jump into it today. I'd wait until the cost of fuel stabilizes, which might take some time to come.

    I know...I'm stepping outside the scope of the question, but I think it's important to keep other costs in mind, because it is the variable costs, such as fuel and maintenance, that will sink you in a minute...if you are not prepared for them in advance.
    Rideandrepair and buddyvuk Thank this.