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Why buy a new truck?


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Owner/Driver  /  April 5, 2017

Queensland-based owner-operator Phil Riseley can’t see the point in forking out for a new truck, as long as he keeps up the maintenance on his 2004 Freightliner Columbia.

Phill Riseley's first ever truck was a Scania T113H, operating it in a truck-and dog configuration. He later traded it in on the Freightliner Columbia. Now he’s the proud owner of a 13 year-old Freightliner which has clocked up more than 1.7 million kilometres on the clock. The Columbia pulls a new Barker trailer.

"It has been an unreal truck for me; it’s very comfortable and rides like a car," Phill says.

"It’s ideal for me as an owner-driver.

Phill says the super single tyres on the trailer are a cost effective way to operate.

"All my mates have super singles on their steer and when they get worn out, they give me a call.

"I take them and run them out on my trailer."

"I had the old trailer for seven years and I think I paid for one or two tyres," he smiles.

As well as the savings on tyres, Phill says he gets better fuel economy. And he needs every advantage to stay competitive against the big fleets.

Phill sought help from CPF Detroit Specialists in Brisbane. It’s paid off as, from the early days with the Freightliner and up until now, his average fuel bill is around $3,500 a month or less.

"I’ve spent a lot on the truck to get it to be as fuel efficient as possible," he explains.

"I’m competing against companies that have a fleet of trucks, each making 2 percent profit. I can’t survive on that amount."

In addition, Phill had Caloundra-based Torquegass (http://www.torquegas.com/) fit a gas system to the Freightliner, which he says uses between 7 and 11 litres per 100km, depending on the load.

"It’s been trialled and 100 percent safe," he adds. "It gives you a slight increase in power and sizeable increase in torque.

"But what it does do is burn all the residual diesel, so I’m getting almost 100 percent burn. I’m burning everything I put in my tanks."

While his previous trailer tared in at 21 tonne, Phill says the new one comes in at 18.5 tonne, which is another saving.

Although he regularly runs Melbourne to Adelaide, Phill calls Queensland’s Sunshine Coast home nowadays, although he says he makes it back there only once or twice a month.

He has no plans to replace the Columbia any time soon, believing it’s better to maintain and rebuild than pay out another $300,000 for something newer.

"The new trucks are meant to be better for the environment but they actually use more fossil fuel in order to be cleaner.

"You can’t get the same fuel economy and I would go backwards and lose my profit margin.

"The cab itself is alright, I’ll touch it up every couple of years."

Phill believes that if he looks after the rig, it will look after him.

"That’s what my dad instilled into me," he adds. "Grease and oil are cheap whereas repairs are expensive."

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