Spotlight on an American Trucker: Roy Richards

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Roy Richards

Owner-operator Roy Richards was honored as AMSA’s 2014 Super Van Operator of the Year—Lifetime Achievement Award. Richards earned the award because of his illustrious 35-year career as an Allied driver and owner of Farley Brothers of Lancaster Inc. His company has three tractors and seven trailers and runs 48 states. The truck he uses is a 2009 KW T2000 pulling a 1996 53-ft. Kentucky trailer.

Q: How are maintenance and repairs handled? Do you use an OEM shop (truck dealer or engine manufacturer shop) or an independent truck repair shop?
A: For any minor repairs, I take my trucks to a local independent truck repair shop. Routine PMs are done while I’m on the road by TA/Petro Truckstops. Major repairs are done by the OEM manufacturer’s dealer of the truck, i.e., Kenworth, Freightliner, Volvo.

Q: What are the major challenges you face with your maintenance/repair program? How do you handle them?
A: I really don’t have issues with maintenance/repair programs. I don’t drive equipment that is unsafe, and I don’t allow my employees to drive unsafe equipment either. I know things break, so I get them fixed ASAP through an aggressive PM program.

Q: What do you do regarding maintenance and repairs to minimize downtime?
A: I do daily pretrip inspections and evening post-trip inspections. I am under and around my truck at least twice a day looking for any problems that may arise, checking for leaks (oil, fluid, or air), checking brakes, and wheel seals.

Q: What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
A: The PM on my truck is done between 10,000 and 12,000 mi. Depending on how busy I am, this could be every four to six weeks.

Q: Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?
A: I purchase as needed.

Q: How do you ensure good mileage from tires? Which brand of tires do you prefer? Do you use retreads?
A: I never use retreads on my tractors or trailers. I would rather pay for new tires than take a chance of peeling a cap in hot weather. If you want your tires to last, you must check the tire pressure at least once a week. Also, if you see abnormal wear, this is a good sign that the tire is underinflated. I use Michelins as my steer tires, Bridgestones as my drive tires, and BF Goodrich on my trailer.

Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
A: When it costs you more each month to repair your equipment than it would cost you for a monthly payment for a newer piece of equipment, it’s time to replace it.

Q: What are your specs for your trucks? Are you able to find these on the used market? Do you purchase used and customize them to your specs?
A: I always purchase good used equipment. I make sure it has low miles, 400,000 to 500,000; an APU unit; and a sleeper. The motor must put out at least 475 hp. I prefer a manual transmission. They’re available and I usually purchase them through Arrow Truck Sales.

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