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Optimizing Bus Warranty (2014)

Chapter: Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
×
Page 15
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
×
Page 16
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Responses: Warranty Specifications, Coverage Periods, and Repairs ." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Optimizing Bus Warranty. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22410.
×
Page 17

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

12 from the traditional one-year period to two years; miles were extended to 150,000, were made unlimited, or not specified. For those agencies surveyed and not following the SBPG recommendations for body and chassis warranties, coverage periods were extended from three years to 12 years, with miles extended to as much as 600,000, were not specified, or were made unlimited. Of those surveyed that do not follow the SBPG recommendations for primary load members, coverage periods were reduced to a low of only one year/300,000 miles, or in one case extended to a high of 600,000 miles. Diesel Bus: Drivetrain Table 3 presents agency practices for adopting SBPG drive- train warranties for diesel buses, including those that prefer the standard warranty coverage period of 2 years/100,000 miles for engine, transmission, and differential and axles, and those that choose the SBPG’s extended coverage of 5 years/300,000 miles. Regarding engines, 74% follow SBPG guidance either for standard or extended coverage, consistent with those who use SBPG guidance for complete bus and chassis coverage. Nearly half of all respondents (48%) favor the extended engine war- ranty coverage option. Engine warranties used by those going outside the SBPG’s recommendations varied from one to three years, to unspecified mileages, or making them unlimited. Agency selections for diesel bus transmission warranty cov- erage are nearly identical to those expressed for engines, with 56% favoring the extended coverage. Regarding diesel bus differentials and axles, 50% of participating agencies favor the standard warranty coverage period of 2 years/100,000 miles compared with 38% that favor extended coverage. As presented in chapter two, FTA recognizes the SBPG as an industry standard and has stated that general warranty and extended warranty are both eligible capital costs. However, FTA also encourages agencies to exercise sound business decisions in structuring broader warranties such as extended warranty where such warranties are advantageous and cost- effective. Such business decisions must be based on market research and price and cost analysis. As discussed in the chapter five case example, Rockford MTD satisfies this require- ment and is prepared for FTA triennial reviews by having documentation prepared to justify its extended engine war- ranty. The agency could not, however, justify the extra costs associated with extended transmission warranty and therefore does not specify it. INTRODUCTION This chapter reports on the survey results as they pertain to procurement specifications, warranty coverage periods, and whether warranty repairs are made in-house by agency personnel or vendor representatives. APTA PROCUREMENT SPECIFICATIONS: WARRANTY SPECIFICATIONS Of the participating agencies, nearly all include a section dedicated exclusively to warranty in their bus procurement specifications. While the majority of agencies follow war- ranty coverage periods listed in the SBPG for full-size buses, responses for specific items varied depending on the bus system and component. APTA WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS As described in the previous chapter, the SBPG recommends warranty coverage periods for the complete bus and for several individual bus components and systems. Chapter two also noted that FTA considers the standard warranty provi- sions contained in the SBPG as an industry standard, whereas extended warranties need to be justified. This section presents agency practices regarding the SBPG’s recommended war- ranty coverage periods beginning with the complete bus and ending with specific bus components. Complete Bus, Body and Chassis, and Primary Load Members Table 2 compares agency practices for adopting the SBPG’s recommended warranty coverage periods for complete bus, body and chassis, and primary load members. The SBPG’s complete bus warranty recommendation of 1 year/50,000 miles is used by 70% of the agencies surveyed, 79% use the SBPG’s recommended 3 years/150,000 mile body and chassis warranty period, and 77% use the SBPG’s recommended warranty period of 12 years/500,000 miles for chassis primary load members. Those that do not follow the SBPG’s recommended coverage periods for these items modified them by typically increasing the time and mileage requirements. For those not following the SBPG’s recommended coverage period for the complete bus, warranties were extended in some cases chapter three SURVEY RESPONSES: WARRANTY SPECIFICATIONS, COVERAGE PERIODS, AND REPAIRS

13 CNG Bus: Drivetrain When it comes to the drivetrain of CNG buses, responding agencies again favor APTA’s guidance. As shown in Table 4, CNG engine warranty periods are divided equally, with 36% favoring the standard warranty period and the same percentage favoring extended warranty. Regarding trans- missions of CNG buses, 40% prefer the extended coverage, while only 19% opt for extended coverage for differential and axles. Again, those modifying SBPG coverage periods did so by not specifying mileage limits or making them unlimited. Hybrid Bus: Drivetrain Warranty coverage practices for hybrid drivetrain compo- nents differ from those expressed for diesel and CNG buses, SBPG Other Complete Bus 1 year/50K miles 1–2 years/50–150K, not specified, or unlimited miles Response 70% 30% SBPG Other Body and Chassis 3 years/150K miles 1–12 years/150–600K, not specified, or unlimited miles Response 79% 21% SBPG Other Primary Load Members 12 years/500K miles 1–12 years/300–600K miles Response 77% 23% Source: Survey responses. TABLE 2 WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS: BUS AND CHASSIS SBPG Other Diesel Bus— Engine Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 1–3 years/300K, not specified, or unlimited miles Response 26% 48% 26% SBPG Other Diesel Bus— Transmission Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–4 years/150–200K or unlimited miles Response 26% 56% 18% SBPG Other Diesel Bus— Diff./Axles Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–5 years/ unlimited miles Response 50% 38% 12% Source: Survey responses. Diff. = differential. TABLE 3 WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS: DIESEL BUS DRIVETRAIN SBPG Other CNG Bus— Engine Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2 years/unlimited miles Response 36% 36% 28% SBPG Other CNG Bus— Transmission Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–5 years/not specified or unlimited miles Response 27% 40% 33% SBPG Other CNG Bus— Diff./Axles Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–5 years/200K or unlimited miles Response 38% 19% 43% Source: Survey responses. Diff. = differential. TABLE 4 WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS: CNG BUS DRIVETRAIN

14 Other Specified Components and Systems The SBPG also has recommended warranty coverage periods for a variety of specific bus components and systems such as brakes, door systems, starters, and alternators. The recom- mended coverage period for these items is 2 years/100,000 miles. Table 6 shows survey respondent practices for adopting with 64% of the respondents favoring extended hybrid engine warranty coverage and 50% extended warranty coverage for hybrid drive motors and generators as listed in the SBPG. As with diesel and CNG buses, most participating agencies (56%) choose standard differential/axle coverage over extended coverage. Table 5 shows agency warranty coverage practices for hybrid drivetrain components. SBPG Other Hybrid Bus— Engine Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2 years/200–300K or unlimited miles Response 7% 64% 29% SBPG Other Hybrid Bus— Drive Motor/Gen. Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–3 years/not specified or unlimited miles Response 39% 50% 11% SBPG Other Hybrid Bus— Diff./Axles Standard 2 years/100K miles Extended 5 years/300K miles 2–5 years/ 150K or unlimited miles Response 56% 28% 16% Source: Survey responses. Gen. = generator; Diff. = differential. TABLE 5 WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS: HYBRID BUS DRIVETRAIN SBPG Other Brake System (exclude friction surfaces) 2 years/100K miles 2–3 years/50–150K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 48% 52% Destination Signs 2 years/100K miles 1–12 years/50K, not specified, or unlimited miles Response 38% 62% AC Unit and Compressor 2 years/100K miles 2–5 years/50–100K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 37% 63% Door System 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years/50–150K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 57% 48% Air Compressor 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years/50–200K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 50% 50% Wheelchair Lift and Ramp System 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years (5 years parts only)/50–150K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 50% 50% Starter 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years/50–350K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 50% 50% Alternator 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years/50–150K, not specified or unlimited miles Response 48% 52% Fire Suppression 2 years/100K miles 1–3 years/50K, not specified or unlimited miles, or parts only Response 46% 54% Source: Survey responses. TABLE 6 WARRANTY COVERAGE PERIODS: OTHER SPECIFIED COMPONENTS AND SYSTEMS

15 the SBPG warranty coverage period for other specified com- ponents and systems. As shown, respondents were nearly evenly split between using the SBPG recommendation as is and modifying the SBPG’s coverage periods. Two notable exceptions are destination signs, where 62% of respondents diverge from the SBPG, and air conditioning, where 63% specify other coverage periods. Regarding destination signs, of those responding that diverge from the SBPG recommendation 25% specify less time/mileage coverage and 75% specify coverage periods extending beyond the SBPG’s 2-year/100,000-mile standard coverage period. Many opt for three-year coverage, with one agency specifying 12-year destination sign coverage. For those agencies that deviate from the SBPG’s air condi- tioning warranty recommendations, all choose more stringent coverage that includes 2 years/unlimited mileage or three years with 150,000 miles, unspecified mileage, or unlimited mileage. WARRANTY COVERAGE: REPLACEMENT PARTS Drivetrain Components In addition to warranty coverage specified for buses and related components negotiated with new bus procurements, responding agencies also purchase replacement parts with warranty coverage. Regarding new and rebuilt drivetrain components such as engines, transmissions, and differentials and axles, these agencies specify a wide variety of warranty coverage periods. Table 7 presents those practices. This table shows that most participating agencies report a two-year coverage period with varying mileages for replacement engines and transmissions whether purchased new or rebuilt, which follows the SBPG’s standard coverage period for these com- ponents when part of new bus procurements. The responses are understandable since many agencies buy spare engines and transmissions as part of new bus procurements. When it comes to differentials and axles, responding agencies favor two-year coverage for new units; however, coverage drops to one year for rebuilt units. Some agencies reported that they rebuild their own drivetrain components for which no warranty is provided. Other Replacement Components For non-drivetrain replacement components purchased sepa- rately as spares, responding agencies provided coverage periods for light emitting diode (LED) lights, destination signs, and camera systems as shown in Table 8. The 10-year coverage required for LED lights stems from the extended life offered by these products that replace traditional incandescent lights. Replacement Engines: New 1 year/100K, not specified or unlimited miles 2 years/100K, not specified or unlimited miles 3 years/ 100–300K miles 5 years/300–350K or not specified miles 18% 46% 12% 24% Replacement Engines: Rebuilt 1 year/12–100K or unlimited miles 2 years/100K, not specified or unlimited miles 5 years/ 300K miles 33% 59% 8% Replacement Transmissions: New 1 year/ not specified miles 2 years/100–150K, not specified or unlimited miles 5 years/300K or unlimited miles 7% 64% 29% Replacement Transmissions: Rebuilt 0.5–1.5 years/ 100K, not specified or unlimited miles 2 years/100K, not specified or unlimited miles 3 years/unlimited miles 5 years/ 300K miles 43% 43% 7% 7% Replacement Differentials/Axles: New 1 year/ not specified or unlimited miles 2 years/ 50–100K, not specified or unlimited miles 3 years/ 100–300K miles 5 years/ 300K miles 15% 55% 15% 15% Replacement Differentials/Axles: Rebuilt 1 year/50–100K or unlimited miles 2 years/ not specified miles 5 years/ 300K miles 60% 20% 20% Source: Survey responses. TABLE 7 WARRANTY COVERAGE: REPLACEMENT PARTS

16 IN-HOUSE VERSUS VENDOR WARRANTY REPAIRS When the need for warranty repairs arises, agencies either make them in-house with their own technicians and submit warranty claims for these repairs or call in the bus OEM or particular component vendor to make the repair. The vast majority of agencies surveyed (87%) make some warranty repairs and call in vendors to make others. Only two of the very large agencies make all of their warranty repairs; two agencies reported that they call in vendors to make all warranty repairs. Determining who makes the repairs depends on several factors; for most agencies (68%), it is determined by the nature of the repair. In some cases, engines in particular, the ven- dor requires agency technicians to be trained and authorized to perform warranty repairs on their equipment. For 32% of survey respondents, procurement specifications determine who makes warranty repairs, while labor agreements with unions determine who makes warranty repairs 19% of the time. Other factors reported include availability of technicians and parts, availability of the vendor within the required time frame, and the need to meet service requirements (i.e., making pull-out). In cases where vendors are called in to make repairs, the top three bus component areas are engines, transmissions, and air conditioning. Table 9 shows the major bus component areas where responding agencies have vendors come on site to make some warranty repairs. Nearly all responding agencies, 97%, have vendors make warranty repairs to engines, 87% use vendors for transmission repairs, and 84% use vendors for air conditioning repairs. Other areas not shown in the table where vendors are used for warranty repairs less frequently Replacement Part Purchased Separately Warranty Coverage LED Lights 10 years/miles not specified or lifetime Destination Signs 5 years/miles not specified Camera System 2 years/miles unlimited 3 years/miles unlimited Source: Survey responses. TABLE 8 WARRANTY COVERAGE: OTHER REPLACEMENT PARTS include automatic passenger counters (APC), radio, automatic vehicle location (AVL), wheelchair ramps, and Wi-Fi. Vendors are typically called in to make engine, transmis- sion, and air conditioning repairs because this equipment is also manufactured in large volumes for the trucking industry. Because their market penetration is so extensive, dealerships and repair facilities for this equipment are typically close by and convenient to agencies such that service representatives can easily be dispatched to make warranty repairs. When vendors are called in for warranty repairs, most sur- vey respondents (87%) report having them made at a combina- tion of on-site agency and off-site vendor facilities. The others either have vendor-made repairs done at the agency’s facility or have the vendors take vehicles off site to make repairs. In some cases, vehicles must be sent off property because the agency lacks specialized equipment such as a chassis dynamometer or wheel alignment equipment. As noted by Rockford MTD in chapter five, going off site can add cost because the bus needing to be transported between locations costs labor time that neither party wants to pay. Having vendors make warranty repairs has both advan- tages and disadvantages. Doing so relieves agency personnel of having to make the repair and submit claims, allowing them to work on other maintenance functions. However, having vendors perform warranty work deprives agency technicians of work and the training opportunity that comes with doing their own repairs. After warranty coverage ends, agency technicians will need to perform the repairs for the remainder of equipment life. Nearly all agencies surveyed take advantage of vendor repairs as a training or learning opportunity; 60% do so when time permits and 33% do so more than half of the time. One agency noted that the vendor is required to work with its technicians when making warranty repairs. As noted in chapter five, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) closely moni- tors on-site vendor warranty work and uses it as an opportu- nity to understand what went wrong and the steps taken to correct it. Rockford frequently uses vendor-made repairs as a learning opportunity for its own technicians. The agency also En gi ne s Tr an sm iss io ns A ir Co nd iti on in g H yb rid D riv es M ajo r H yb rid Co m po ne nt s D iff er en tia ls & A xl es Ca m er a Sy ste m s Fi re S up pr es sio n D es tin at io n Si gn s 97% 87% 84% 52% 52% 48% 48% 35% Source: Survey responses. TABLE 9 BUS COMPONENT AREAS WHERE VENDORS MAKE REPAIRS

17 schedules vendor training toward the end of bus warranty periods so that technicians can more readily put that training to use. One small agency reports not using vendor repairs as a learning opportunity because it simply cannot spare a tech- nician for the extra vendor training. One agency mentioned that, in some cases, the vendor does not allow agency techni- cians to work alongside its staff. Another agency believes the vendor may be withholding information as a way to retain business after the warranty ends. When it comes to feeling prepared to make repairs on their own when warranty coverage ends, 48% of responding agencies reported that their own technicians are adequately prepared, while 52% admitted that their technicians are only margin- ally prepared to make repairs after warranty. A few agencies expressed reservations about making repairs responsibly for more complex systems such as engines, transmissions, and hybrid-drive systems after warranty coverage ends. After warranty coverage ends, a majority of agencies (74%) reported that they do not continue with original warranty service providers, whereas 26% do. Responding agencies that continue to use the warranty repair vendor after warranty do so because their technicians are not adequately trained to make the repairs, or because they do not have the time to make the repairs in their own shop.

Next: Chapter Four - Survey Responses: Warranty Management »
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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 111: Optimizing Bus Warranty explores how some transit agencies address key aspects of their warranty programs. The report examines the steps taken to more accurately monitor warranty coverage periods, optimize the warranty process, and maximize warranty reimbursement to fulfill U.S. Federal Transit Administration requirements and taxpayer expectations.

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