Using an Asphalt Hot Box vs. Dump Truck With Cold Asphalt

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Uncategorized

Dump Truck for Patching AsphaltDump trucks and asphalt hot boxes are two popular ways of repairing potholes. However, one of the methods offers far greater value and benefits than the other. Read on to learn more about asphalt hot boxes vs. dump trucks and which method can save money, reduce labor, and increase efficiency.

How Are Dump Trucks Used to Patch Asphalt?

When workers use a dump truck to repair potholes, they start by shoveling cold material from the truck bed onto the ground. Several inherent problems with this method ultimately lead to wasted time and money:

  • Inefficiency—dump truck beds are often 55” in height or more from the ground, and this requires the workers to raise their arms high up in the air as they bring down a heavy shovel full of material.

The awkward physical motion results in bad overall ergonomics and can significantly prevent workers from achieving maximum efficiency and productivity.

Over an 8-hour day, the repetitive nature of the work coupled with the heavy asphalt material can cause severe injuries to the workers—and a potentially expensive worker’s compensation claim. 

  • Using cooled materialthe mixture immediately starts to cool the second the workers drive away from the asphalt plant. By mid-morning, it’s already cooled and very hard to use. 

The crew often find themselves having to dump the unused material and then head back to the plant to pick up another hot batch to complete the day’s work.

Using asphalt material that’s not at the optimum temperature is ineffective, wasteful, and costly. Many supervisors are well aware of this and simply shrug their shoulders—as this is the way it’s always been done.

In short, using a dump truck and cold mix to repair potholes will wind up costing more time and money than using a hot box for the same job.

How Do Asphalt Hot Boxes Work?

Diesel or propane burners fire up into the box, heating the asphalt and keeping it at an optimal temperature. It will stay this way for the remainder of the work day—and up to 72 hours overnight.

This means your work crew won’t have to make another trip back to the asphalt plant the following morning or take excess material back at the end of the day. Workers simply need to show up at the job site, and the asphalt is ready to go.

Here’s a quick demo of an asphalt hot box in use:

Benefits of an Asphalt Hot Box

Hot boxes tremendously increase the efficiency of pothole patching operations. In addition to saving money on labor and material, workers won’t break their backs shoveling asphalt as they would from a dump truck with poor ergonomics.

Falcon hot boxes also offer a far lower shoveling height—thereby allowing workers to move more material while reducing the fatigue and strain on their bodies. This translates into fewer workers’ compensation claims and superior employee retention metrics. You can even configure a Falcon Hot Box with a dumping capability to get material to the hole faster.

Types of Asphalt Hot Boxes

Asphalt Hot Box Repairing PotholesThere are several different types of asphalt hot boxes on the market, each with its benefits and advantages. For example, if you have a small-but-scrappy repair crew, consider a 4-ton quick ship  or truck-mounted hot box for the ultimate portability and flexibility.

Some trailer mounted hot boxes can even allow your work crew to repair upwards of 240 potholes before they need to head back to the asphalt plant for more material. With an optional dual-burner, your workers will even be able to recycle used asphalt at the job site.

Several different options will help increase efficiency and safety while decreasing repair costs.

How Much Money Can You Save With a Hot Box?

When comparing a hot box to a dump truck, it’s widely believed that the number of trips to repair the same pothole can conservatively be reduced by a ratio of 3:1 to 5:1—or 60-80% saving in material and labor. It’s also reasonable to believe you can reduce material waste by 10-20%. Read our recent blog to learn more about the Cost of an Asphalt Hot Box.

Save Money and Increase Efficiency With a Falcon Hot Box

Hot boxes offer several tremendous advantages over using a traditional dump truck and cold mix to repair asphalt. A Falcon Hot Box will help increase efficiency, save money, and allow your crew to get more work done in less time.

Learn more about equipment options:

Asphalt Recyclers & Hot Boxes

Asphalt patching is essential in maintaining roadways, parking lots, and other paved surfaces. Patch trucks are the de facto workhorse used by many municipalities and patching operations thanks to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

The downside to traditional asphalt patching trucks is that they require a CDL license to operate. Hiring CDL workers is difficult because there are few out there, and if you do find one, you’ll need to pay them a higher salary.

Non-CDL asphalt patch trucks are the answer to this costly problem. Non-CDL patch trucks look and operate the same as traditional ones. However, they weigh less than 26,000 pounds, which is the cutoff for requiring a CDL license.

Read on to learn more about Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks, their features, and the benefits they will add to your patching operation.

CDL Requirements

Part of the reason why CDL drivers are so expensive to hire and somewhat challenging to find is that it’s not easy to become one. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) Safety Act of 1986 sets forth the requirements for obtaining a CDL license.

All applicants must first apply for and receive a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). This enables them to legally drive a commercial motor vehicle while being supervised by an instructor.

To apply for a CDL, applicants must:

  • Have a valid non-commercial driver’s license
  • Be at least 21 years old (if transporting hazardous materials or driving across state lines)
  • Have proof of citizenship and residency
  • Pass all background checks
  • Pass an intensive medical examination
  • Provide a statement that certifies they’re not subject to disqualification as per FMCSA 383.51
  • Pass a state-approved written test and road test

Competition to hire CDL drivers is relatively intense and often results in very high salary and benefits packages. Many municipalities and smaller patching operations often cannot afford to offer competitive salaries and benefits commensurate with what large corporations will pay.

How Non-CDL Asphalt Patching Trucks Work

The FMCSA requires all trucks that weigh 26,001 lbs or more to have a driver with a CDL license. Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks weigh under 26,000 lbs—meaning anyone with a valid standard driver’s license can operate them.

How is that possible?

For starters, a Falcon non-CDL patch truck does not utilize an auger or conveyor belt like a traditional one. Instead, Falcon uses a gravity dump to deliver the material to the patch site.

Augers, conveyors, and the hydraulics used to run them are extremely heavy. The lack of those parts allows the Falcon patch truck to weigh less than 26,000 lbs.

Benefits of a Falcon Non-CDL Asphalt Patch Truck

In addition to not requiring a CDL license, Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have a user-friendly design that offers several other benefits, such as:

Faster material delivery

Traditional patch trucks that utilize an auger and conveyor belt are limited in the quantity of material and speed they can deliver it due to their significantly smaller unloading opening. This can substantially slow down worker productivity and cause each patch job to take longer.

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have the largest delivery doors on the market. This means workers have the flexibility to determine how much material they want and at what speeds they will get it. Those same large doors also allow for easier access to the hopper for cleaning.

Lowered lifetime cost

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks are more cost-effective than their counterparts, thanks to the lack of hydraulics, augers, and conveyor belts. Fewer components mean fewer things that can break down in the future.

Another significant cost saver is that you won’t have to hire an expensive driver with a CDL license. If that driver should suddenly resign or call in sick, you’d be scrambling to find someone qualified to drive a CDL truck.

More fuel efficient

Because Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks do not have hydraulic motors or pumps to turn an auger, they also burn less fuel. That adds up to significant cost savings over an 8-hour shift. 

Fewer trips to the asphalt plant

Workers also have the option to hold material overnight, which allows them to start working immediately the next day instead of waiting in line at the asphalt plant—which might be located on the other side of town—in rush hour traffic. 

Fewer moving parts

Due to not having an auger, hydraulic pump, or conveyor belt, Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks have fewer parts than their traditional counterparts. This directly translates into increased uptime availability and lower maintenance and operating costs over the truck’s lifetime.

Sufficient capacity

Non-CDL asphalt patch trucks from Falcon have an 8,000 lb carrying capacity—which is more than enough material to be held at the optimum temperature.  


One of the most significant benefits of the Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch truck is that it uses the same guts, hopper, and tack tank as their other highly popular and durable hotboxes, trailers, and recyclers. 

Your choice of truck

The Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch truck requires a class 6 truck. You can supply your own truck or choose from one of seven different models that we’ll provide:

  • Ford F750
  • Freightliner MD6 106
  • Hino 268A
  • International MV
  • Kenworth T270
  • Mack MD6
  • Peterbilt 536/7

The size, brand, options, etc. of the truck we supply will determine the final cost. If you have a different brand truck than listed above, call us and we’ll help you figure out if we can make it work. We’re more than happy to consider alternative truck options.

Non-CDL Asphalt Patch Truck Required Maintenance

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patch trucks require very little maintenance compared to their traditional counterparts. However, basic maintenance requirements are the same as other patchers, including burner and battery maintenance, keeping the hopper clean, and truck upkeep.


Falcon Non-CDL Asphalt Patching Trucks

Falcon non-CDL asphalt patching trucks will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run. They’ll increase productivity and efficiency while reducing the need for expensive maintenance and operators. Click below to learn more.


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