Semi truck roadside assistance is a professional tool that drivers of large vehicles can utilize. It is not the same as standard roadside assistance or AAA. In fact, AAA won’t cover semi trucks.
Whether you have got a flat tire, an electrical issue or problematic brakes, roadside assistance can save you time by getting you back on the road faster. For truckers who know that every minute counts, the best roadside assistance and truck repair service can help ensure on-time deliveries.
How Does Semi Truck Roadside Assistance Work?
Semi truck roadside assistance is often a membership program where you pay a monthly fee to get 24/7 roadside assistance. This is similar to other roadside assistance for private individuals. Other roadside assistance programs allow you to pay as you need.
Whether you choose a subscription or a pay-as-you-need program, the difference between services for semi trucks and those for individual vehicles is in the type of services that are offered.
Roadside assistance covers all of the standard issues that you might face as a trucker on the road. From fuel delivery and tire replacement to replacement parts and towing or jump starting, roadside assistance can help you in many ways.
While the exact service will vary from one provider to the next, here are the general steps you will follow when you are in need of roadside assistance:
- Place a call for assistance.
- Someone will arrive at your location, ideally in 30 minutes or less.
- They will assess the situation and offer support.
- If they can fix the problem, they’ll perform the necessary maintenance.
- If not, they will tow the vehicle or return with the necessary replacement parts.
- They may also jump-start or pull-start the vehicle.
- If the repair requires an overnight stay, they may offer hotel discounts.
- For expensive repairs, roadside assistance may offer financing options.
What Does Roadside Assistance Cover?
All semi truck roadside assistance is different, but there are some coverage basics to consider. For example, the U.S. General Service Administration suggests roadside assistance for fleet-lease customers. These customers have to contact individual vehicle manufacturers for after-hours support.
Generally, semi truck roadside assistance cover the following:
- Towing of the tractor and trailer together
- Flat tire assistance, including tire repair or replacement
- Fuel delivery
- Mobile mechanic services for assessment
- Delivery of water, oil or fluids
- Key replacement and lockout assistance
- Delivery of replacement parts
- Battery replacement or jump-start
- Hotel discounts
- Financing on expensive
- Engine overhaul financing
- Truck Financing
- Lease buyout financing
How Many Times Can You Call Roadside Assistance Per Year?
Different roadside assistance services have their own sets of limitations. While the most comprehensive services are unlimited, most have a maximum limit. Freight companies need to check their limitations.
Remember that even if it’s unlimited, it might start costing more for each additional call-out. However, some freight companies choose to get roadside assistance through their insurance. In this case, it might be considered an insurance claim.
How Long Does it Take For Roadside Assistance To Arrive?
Ideally, roadside assistance will arrive within 30 minutes or less after you place your initial call. The exact time will depend on the location of the breakdown and the breakdown insurance provider.
Generally speaking, if roadside assistance consistently takes over 30 minutes, it’s worth considering another provider. Roadside assistance programs that offer an app usually provide better real-time updates, but that is not necessarily a guarantee. Just remember that it is not unreasonable to expect timely service, especially if you are located close to a town or metropolitan area.
Example of Semi Truck Roadside Assistance
Semi truck roadside assistance arrives when you need it. For example, let’s say your truck driver is passing through Arizona on their way to the industrial units of Ontario, CA, at which point they break down.
They inform you and then call roadside assistance, which arrives 15 minutes later. The company is able to replace the tire and the headlight that both burned out. The driver is then back on the road within 45 minutes of placing the first call.
As another example, let’s say you’re driving your vehicle from Los Angeles, CA, to Portland, OR. Within four hours of departure, you hear a loud clunk and the steering starts to feel unstable. You call roadside assistance, and they arrive in about 28 minutes.
They perform a vehicle assessment and offer to tow the vehicle to a repair shop. As it’s getting late, they offer you a hotel coupon so that you can stay the night in a nearby hotel. They perform the assessment and repairs the next morning, getting you back on the road as soon as possible .
Things to Consider with Semi Truck Roadside Assistance
If you’re still trying to decide which roadside assistance provider is best for you, take a look at this list of things to consider.
Monthly or Yearly Costs
Owner-operators and freight lines need to budget for semi truck roadside assistance. If you don’t pay, they don’t come. Western Truck Insure, for example, offers services for $399 per year. Alternatively, you can put $159.99 down and pay $49.99 per year instead.
This might sound expensive, but out-of-pocket costs to tow a semi truck can be closer to $2,500. More complex truck systems have typically resulted in more expensive repairs for several years now, too. For that reason, roadside assistance costs are an investment that can save you in the long run.
Truck Driver Support
Truck driver support is even more important than having access to service providers who can perform basic repairs. Truck drivers should be provided with information about what they should do as well as a safe place to wait while their truck is being repaired.
But what do truck drivers do in the interim? It is best for truckers to have a procedure that they know they should follow in situations like this. The solution needs to keep them safe and comfortable while they wait.
Safety procedures include putting out reflective cones, using flares, wearing a reflective vest, staying away from the road, remaining visible behind the vehicle and taking other measures to improve overall safety. If repairs require an overnight stay, truck driver support should include transportation to a hotel paired with a hotel discount.
Another essential service you will want to have access to when you need it is a towing service. You need to know who will tow the truck as well as where it will be taken. What does the driver do in the interim? In addition to implementing the list of aforementioned safety procedures, if a vehicle goes in for repairs, drivers need to know where they can stay and how long it will take until they have their trucks back.
Advantages of Semi Truck Roadside Assistance
There are a lot of major advantages for semi truck roadside assistance. For professionals on the road, the cost of roadside assistance is often more important than the hassle and cost of handling repairs privately. Remember that time is money and being stuck with a breakdown is rarely worth it.
Here are a number of advantages:
- Support on the road
- Handling a range of items without a lot of organization
- Prevents your business from setting up a new division for roadside assistance
- Ability to tell your clients that you have solutions when breakdowns occur
- Security and safety to protect drivers on the road
- Faster deliveries
- Fewer delays
- Peace of mind
Disadvantages of Semi Truck Roadside Assistance
While there are a lot of pros that support the use of roadside truck assistance, there are a few disadvantages of semi truck roadside assistance as well:
- You still have to do a lot of legwork to get ready to use the service.
- The service doesn’t include repair costs.
- Repair pricing could be greater than sourcing roadside assistance yourself.
Putting It All Together and Using Semi Truck Roadside Assistance
For owner-operators or larger fleets, commercial truck roadside assistance is a necessary budget expense that can save time and money in the long term. In the trucking industry, on-time delivery is essential. Roadside assistance can help you assure end customers that you offer maximum value and deliver items on-time, regardless of what happens on the road.