As an owner operator, keeping your operating expenses low lets you keep more of your hard-earned money in your bank account — and that’s always a win. Trucker Tools recently spent some time getting to know owner operator and Redneckanize co-founder Rob Moore, who also happens to be a former mechanic. In our conversation with Rob, he shared how doing simple repairs to your rig yourself as an owner operator can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Rob also offered tips for truckers who may be looking to get started with do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs, which we share here below.
For truckers who are interested in working on their trucks, what are three of the easiest repairs they can learn to do themselves?
“It’s good to have a little tool kit to bring on your truck. You can get truck kits or tool kits from Home Depot, Lowe’s or some truck stops. It’s always good to have some hand tools for fixing an airline, a taillight or a marker light, if you can get to it. Little hand tools are good to have on the truck. If it’s an easy fix, like lights or an airline that you can fix really quickly, you should try doing it yourself. Lights are the easier fix.
You don’t want to be waiting at a repair shop and getting four or five hours behind when that load needs to go where it needs to be, especially with dry van freight right now. We’re trying to get stores restocked during the pandemic. We’ve got deadlines. We’ve got to get the freight there, through thick and thin and the weather.
If you don’t have the tools, ask another driver in the parking lot to loan you tools. I’ve done that and stood right there and helped them out. No question is a bad question in a truck stop. You might be able to learn something and become friends eventually.”
What’s your worst/best story about breaking down on the road?
“I just had a breakdown last week. I was trying to get to a shop. I got lucky because I have some family near where I broke down. They have a decent sized shop. I had to take the front of engine apart just to fix it. I normally can make it somewhere, to a friend’s house or a family member’s house to work on my truck, or I try to do repairs at home, if possible. I haven’t been on a tow truck yet, so knock on wood. That’s a good thing.”
Can you give us some examples of the cost of common repairs, having a mechanic do it vs. doing it yourself?
“If you do a repair yourself, it’s just whatever the light or part costs for your truck. Lights range in price from a couple of bucks to $20 or $30. The labor at a shop for a light replacement could cost you anywhere from $100 to $150. There’s a big cost savings, and that’s just one repair. Already this year, I’ve probably saved $15,000 in five months on just what I’ve had to fix on my truck. My last major repair was just a couple of weeks ago. I had the tools and I did a lot of Googling and researching on how to fix it myself. I also asked a few friends of mine about doing the repair. I saved myself $5,000 to $6,000 just on that one repair. It adds up really quick.”
For the rest of our interview with Rob, read Owner Operator Rob Moore on DIY Repairs, Redneckanize and Why Trucking Is an Everyday Learning Experience. To download Trucker Tools’ all-in-one free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.
Trucker Tools does not accept any liability resulting from following the DIY repair tips mentioned in this post.