Don’t Pay Twice for Your Vehicle Scale

Avoid Service Scams

Buying a bargain vehicle scale can seem like a good decision at the time. What you might not realize is that many suppliers who tempt buyers with low prices have hidden agendas. They count on high maintenance costs to force you to pay them twice for your scale.

One way that some suppliers keep costs down is to equip their scales with inexpensive analog load cells. Not only are these load cells notoriously inaccurate, they tend to have short lives. The suppliers expect to make big profits by replacing failed load cells.

analog load cells

Replacing failed load cells can be a continual requirement that ends up costing more than you paid for the entire scale.

You can expect analog load cells to start failing after a few years of use, especially in harsh environments. Since most truck scales contain 10 to 12 load cells, there are plenty of opportunities for failure. It is not unusual to have to replace every load cell in a scale within five years.

Replacement analog load cells also have short lives, so the cycle is endless. Consider how many analog load cells you are likely to replace if you plan to keep a truck scale for 20 years. By the time your scale reaches the end of its life, you will probably have replaced enough load cells to pay for the entire scale a second time.

Why load cells fail

There are many reasons why analog load cells fail. A grain-storage facility in Illinois experienced several of them firsthand. The causes ranged from lightning strikes to rodents chewing through unprotected cables. With an average of one failure per month, the facility’s maintenance costs exceeded $15,000 in a single year.

The problem got so bad that the company began stocking replacement parts to minimize downtime. After years of high repair bills, the owner decided to end the problem by converting to POWERCELL® PDX® load cells.

analog load cellsWill a warranty help?

You might assume that a warranty will protect you from the high cost of replacing analog load cells. Read the fine print. Instead of protecting you, a limited warranty can be part of a supplier’s strategy to make its service department a profit center. Too many warranties cover replacement parts only. Those warranties seem less valuable when you realize that 70 percent of the charges on the typical service invoice are for labor and travel. You get an inexpensive load cell while paying the high cost of having it installed.

What steps can you take?

Don’t fall prey to suppliers who trap you in an endless cycle of high maintenance bills. There are two steps you can take to make sure you will not have to pay for your vehicle scale twice.

First, choose a weighing technology that is built to last. POWERCELL® load cells combine exceptional reliability with a comprehensive warranty that covers the full cost. Second, choose a service provider who has your welfare in mind. Your service provider should have three goals:

  • Extend the life of your vehicle scale
  • Reduce unscheduled downtime
  • Lower your overall maintenance costs


METTLER TOLEDO offers reliable equipment backed by essential services that keep your equipment operating at peak performance. Ask us to tailor a service program that meets your needs.

Cut Unplanned Downtime

What are the best ways to eliminate costly downtime?

Download a white paper about reliable vehicle weighing to find out how advanced technology makes it possible to increase scale reliability and lower overall maintenance costs.

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