Many large trucks are equipped with an auxiliary motor, or pony motor as they’re sometimes called. These motors are typically used to power additional equipment on a truck.

For example, an auxiliary motor might be used to operate a bucket or cherry picker on the back of a utility truck. This means the main truck engine can be switched off without affecting the operation of the bucket.

Why monitor use of the auxiliary motor?

Why would a fleet manager want to monitor auxiliary motor usage? There might be several reasons, but two primary ones are:

  • Reducing fuel costs
  • Reducing maintenance overhead

How can monitoring the auxiliary motor help to cut gas bills and maintenance expenses?

Auxiliary motors play a very important role in reducing the burden on a truck’s main engine. As a smaller motor, they use less fuel. This means the main engine is not being overused, which could add to maintenance costs. It’s good to note that larger engines don’t perform at their best when a truck is stationary, so excessive idling could add to the wear and tear on the motor.

Obviously, it’s important for fleet managers to know that auxiliary motors are being used as much as possible to reduce both fuel and maintenance costs.

Why auxiliary motors are not always used

But while it’s a great idea for fleets to make the most use of a truck’s auxiliary motor, sometimes mobile workers don’t always agree. Perhaps the auxiliary motor has broken down and the driver hasn’t bothered to get it repaired, or maybe they just find it easier to use the main engine instead of starting up the auxiliary motor.

Without monitoring auxiliary motor usage, it can be very difficult as a manager to coach your staff to use it whenever possible. How can you monitor usage across a fleet of thousands vehicles?

How to monitor auxiliary motor use

For large fleets, it’s vital to take advantage of an automated system to monitor auxiliary motor use. Fleets running Telogis Fleet can easily track usage by setting up their hardware to check engine operation. An alert can be set so that if a truck reports excessive idling and no auxiliary motor usage, it can generally be assumed that the main engine is being used instead of the pony motor.

In one actual case, a fleet with over 10,000 bucket trucks used Telogis Fleet to check which trucks had inoperable auxiliary motors. They set up the solution to create alerts for trucks that did not use their pony motors for an entire working day. This allowed them to identify which trucks had auxiliary motors that weren’t being used, get those motors repaired, and remind the drivers of the importance of using them. With gas hitting the $4 a gallon mark, a change like that across a huge fleet can have massive benefits in fuel savings alone.

Do you know how effectively your pony motors are being used? How much could you save if your entire fleet utilized auxiliary motors as often as they should be? It’s worth thinking about!