Outsourcing HGV maintenance is industry’s top choice, according to latest parts and repair survey


Outsourcing of vehicle repairs is now industry’s preferred choice when it comes to maintaining their HGVs, according to the latest CM Special survey produced in collaboration with Motor Transport.

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of operators surveyed chose to send vehicles off-site for repair, with one-third of those picking main dealerships as their preferred option.

The research also highlighted that larger operators would be more likely to opt for a main dealership, while smaller businesses would be more likely to pick a third-party maintenance firm.

There is a big variation in the way operators choose to pay for outsourced R&M. More than half (54%) prefer a price-per-truck based contract. The next most popular method is a price-per-month (34%). Only 7% prefer a price-per-km based contract.

Larger fleets tended to prefer a price-per-month model, while smaller fleets tended to prefer a price per truck.

Not surprisingly, the reasons operators made their choices were varied, but one factor stands out – the ability to budget with a fixed-cost solution.

Other factors commonly cited included keeping costs consistent over a fixed term and the fact that there is a clear cost structure.

Toutes Directions still favours both old and new Mercedes-Benz'

Toutes Directions Mercedes

Toutes Directions has purchased a pair of 66-plate Mercedes-Benz Actros, an 1824 ClassicSpace 4x2 rigid and a 2545 StreamSpace 6x2 tractor unit.

The used trucks, which were supplied by City West Commercials in Bristol with a year’s MoT, have covered 56,000km and 65,000km respectively.

Explaining the decision to buy pre-owned, transport manager Tom Harrison, said: “In addition to specialist transport, we carry a fair amount of time-critical air freight. The vehicles assigned to this work can quickly rack up substantial mileages, and over five years we can easily put one million kilometres on them. So, we prefer to pick up a nearly new chassis, on which someone else has taken the initial hit.”

The new additions, which will be maintained in-house, have been painted in the Sheffield-based haulier’s distinctive blue and silver livery.

Toutes Directions has also placed an order for a new generation Actros, following a successful week-long trial of a demonstration vehicle. Although Oliver Harrison, Toutes’ garage manager, revealed that some of the drivers weren’t overly impressed with MirrorCam, it has still been specified on the new truck. He said: “They struggled to get their heads around all of the technology in the cab, and MirrorCam proved hard to use at night, as car LED headlamps would flash in the screens, proving a distraction.” But Oliver is confident that they will soon get used to the new technology, stating: “It’s a new thing on the market which we haven’t seen before, so it’s going to be a shock at first.”