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2nd October 1923, Page 22
2nd October 1923
Page 22
Page 23
Page 22, 2nd October 1923 — THE HAULIERS' INQUIRE WITHIN.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

Further Criticism of Actual Running Costs of a Ford Tonner, a 30-cwt. Maxwell and a 3-4-ton Corn mer Car.

FOR A proper understanding of the following article it will be necessary for the reader to have by him a copy of that which appeared last week, in which some tables of actual operating costs of a Ford tonnes, a 30-cwt. Maxwell and a 3-4-ton Commer Car were given at length. In the same article I remarked on the confusion of the accounts, but deferred discussion until later. Part ofthat confusion was the result of the omission of essential items; to that aspect I referred, enumerating the items. The remainder of the confusion was mainly caused by the inclusion of the driver's wages in the schedule of running costs, whereas, since they do not vary with differences in the mileage covered by the vehicle, they should be included with the standing 'charges. The separation of maintenance as a distinct heading is a curious feature, too, in a way, although possibly the user may have some par

ticular reason for this. .

In dealing with any running costs or operating charges, we have the advantage of a well-tried tsystem as a standard by which we may judge others 'and by which the mistakes of others may easily be rectified. The following table sets out the running costs only for the three types, blanks being left where information is lacking. The totals, of course, include assumed figures. For purposes of comparison, the corresponding figures from our average tables are inserted between brackets:— The standing charges are ' al, as may be seen, assumed, except as regards the garage rents and the driver's wages, which my correspondent has wrongly regarded as a running cost. I have again left blanks, and, in order to arrive at a total, have made use of our average figures, as in the running costs:—

Dismissing first the running cost; these are in every case above the average ; in the case of the Commer they are tremendously high ; absurdly so, iu fact. A very casual investigation shows that all the extra cost, so far as our information goes, is due to excessive petrol consumption. Now, about the accuracy of the figures for this consumption there appears to be no doubt whatever. They are not useless statements based on short runs and quoted at so many miles per gallon for ever and a day on the basis of one run. The total mileage is given and B36

the total consumption of petrol. That is the only true and practical way of .arriving at the fuel cost of any motor vehicle. The question is—why are they so high? For none will _dispute that for a Ford tonner to run only 8.52. miles per gallon is ridiculous, as is also 7 r_n.p.g. on a 30-cwt. Maxwell, and equally 3?„m.p.g. on -a Commer Car. There may be a certain amount of leakage going on, but it must be admitted that it is hardly likely that the same characteristic would apply to all three drivers; they would hardly be likely to have girl together" for that purpose inside the short time during which the vehicles had been at work when the figures were submitted to me. Lack of acquaintance with the conditions of working makes it difficult to say how likely it is that the fuel is being misused, 'but if the vehicles were mine I should immediately make a personal investigation of their fuel consumptions, on several distinct occasions, as one method of checking this probability. If theft does seem likely, tken there may be several sources of leakage. At any rate, I can go no further along that line of thought and, as the maintenance item has a bearing on this particular matter, I will postpone the discussion of fuel consumption until I have dealt with it.

As regards cost of lubricants, there is nothing of note. The consumption is not great ; even the Coin. mer Car, which exceeds our average, may not be criticised, for the simple reason that it has not been long enough in service for us to be able to judge if this consumption of oil is likely to be regular, or whether it includes extra. quantities which would naturally be censumed in starting to use a new or reconditioned vehicle.

Maintenance Costs that Appear High.

The maintenance Cost is high. This statement is made notwithstanding that, in the case of the two smaller machines, it is apparently less than our average. I say so'beeause, as the vehicles have been in use for such a. short time, they have obviously not yet been overhauled, and our average figures are intended to cover the cost of an annual overhaul. As a matter of -fact, the maintenance cost of these machines, considering theshort time in which they have been in use, should be practically nil. The expenditure on the Ford appears to be made up, for the most part, of ignition and lighting fittings— apparently the owner has chosen, so early in the life of his machine, to have it equipped with a special type of commutator and some lamp fittings. Whether we may take this as a testimonial to the efficacy of the new-type commutator, or as a reflection on the standard one, I leave to The Commercial Motor Ford specialist to say. There has been some expenditure on bearings for the front wheels, for what reason I cannot guess, and, finally, two sets of brake and transmission linings have been fitted. Two sets in a little over four months! The consumption of brake linings per mile appears to be excessive.

On the Maxwell the maintenance costs are made up of repairs to gearbox, and-'-again brake linings! I do not understand what the repairs to the Commer Car consist of at all. There is noreference to pieces of phosphor-bronze and lengths of angle-iron in any book of spare parts that I have, and the Car people issue some very nice and complete . spare parts books. I am afraid that I shall have to leave the Commer Car out of this discussion, again remarking that its service has really been too short for us to venture on any useful criticisms.

That we have to notice is that maintenance costs and petrol consumptionn are both high, and also that outstanding items in the Maintenance costs in both cases are for brake linings. The obvious assumption (but I may be wrong) is that the drivers apparently have the habit. of driving on their brakes, which is a bad thing for the brakes, for the lorry and for the petrol consumption. No doubt, if the carburetters were overhauled, and if the utmost care were exercised in the driving of the machines, both petrol and brake-lining consumptions would be considerably reduced.

On the question of standing charges I have little to say. Little, as a matter of fact, is there for us to criticise ; but I do note, with great concern, the absence of any charge for insurance. .I ant of opinion that every vehicle ought to be insured, both for the sake of its owner and also for the sake of the general public, as only by regular third-party insurance is it possible for any unfortunate victim of an accident to be assured of proper compensation. Incidentally, the item of for repairs to garage door could not appear if the vehicle were insured, since, as the damage wase presumably the result of an accident, the cost of the repair would be borne by the insurance company, the garage door belonging not to the insured, but to a third party. This latter point, by

the way, is often overlooked. TEE SKOTCB.


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