The troubles of truck accident repairs
Getting your commercial vehicle back on the road, as soon as possible after it has been in an accident, is a major benefit in this tough economic environment. What factors stall the repair work and how can you get it completed as quickly as possible?
In these tough economic times, where profit margins are under the spotlight, no commercial vehicle operator can afford to have vehicles standing, while the panel beater waits for parts or the go-ahead from the insurance company, as vehicle standing costs are extremely high.
For example, a three-axle truck tractor that is coupled to a set of super-link trailers costs an estimated R4 000 a day while the vehicle is in the repair shop. An owner still has to pay the vehicle instalment, crew, insurance, licence and overheads – irrespective of whether the vehicle is on the road working or standing in the repair shop. Plus, it is not generating any profit.
Lack of parts is one of the major factors that can stall a vehicle repair. On investigation, it was found that some truck and bus manufacturers provide a quick and fast parts service while others don’t.
My advice is to investigate the availability of parts when buying a new commercial vehicle. Your investigation should include the common panel parts that may be necessary to get your vehicle back on the road quickly.
As most truck and bus manufacturers now insist that genuine parts be used, if the vehicle is still within the vehicle warranty period or on a maintenance contract, your investigation should include the price of the genuine parts from the manufacturer.
Repair parts pricing should also be investigated, as this could have a direct effect on your insurance rate and the lifetime operating cost of the vehicle. The difference in prices of common parts between one truck supplier and another can be as much as 20 percent.
A quick response from your insurance company, and examination of the work to be done to repair the vehicle, is another important factor. Time is often lost while waiting for the insurance assessor, getting the approval to do the job and guarantee of final payment.
Another factor that can cause a delay is the panel shop that you and your insurance company select to do the repair. Good repair shops know the importance of providing a fast turnaround time and pride themselves on offering a seven- to ten-day delivery period. Ensure that your insurance company selects a professional accident repair shop.
The quality of the repair will also have a direct effect on the resale value of the vehicle. To ensure that the work has been done professionally, get involved together with your insurance company in the final inspection and acceptance of the vehicle. It is not only the quality of the cosmetic appearance of the vehicle that is important.
Often vital components like radiators are not replaced, but are instead poorly repaired to save costs; this could result in an expensive engine failure later on once the vehicle is back on the road.
One of this country’s most respected commercial vehicle industry authorities, VIC OLIVER has been in this industry for over 50 years. Before joining the FOCUS team, he spent 15 years with Nissan Diesel (now UD Trucks), 11 years with Busaf and seven years with International.