What Are the Biggest Problems With Patching Potholes?

by | Mar 9, 2022 | FalconNOW

As pavement ages, it tends to distress in certain areas due to traffic and environmental factors. If these minor potholes aren’t remedied quickly, they grow into even bigger holes.

Ask any mayor or city council member—potholes are one of the most frequent complaints that they hear. As the election day draws near, the pothole situation is fresh on voters’ minds as they head to the voting booths.

Members of the community like seeing public works departments who are out fixing roads with purpose-built equipment—they can see immediate results of their tax dollars put to good use.

When it comes to repairing potholes, there are several challenges that often present themselves. Read on to learn more about the biggest problems faced when patching potholes—and the correct way to solve them.

Pothole Repair Issues

Pothole repair is a relatively simple process. The exact method chosen to do the repair depends on the size of the crack or hole. But the most popular repair methods include “crack sealing” or filling the pothole with cold mix asphalt or hot mix asphalt.

However, several issues often manifest themselves when patching or repairing a pothole:

Using Cooled/Cooling Material 

When workers use material (either cold mix or hot mix) that is not at an optimal temperature, it’s inefficient and causes waste. Repairs that are made with this material are less effective, and within days, weeks, or months, the potholes reappear seemingly out of nowhere.

Even if the material was at a usable temperature to begin the day, it cools fast and becomes increasingly difficult to work with as the clock ticks. Workers are often stuck in the “it’s always been done this way” mentality of putting hot asphalt in the bed of their trucks. By the time they get to the pothole it has already cooled and is harder to work with

In the end, supervisors usually chalk up the extra asphalt expense as the cost of doing business, and crews repatch the same potholes over and over. 

Ergonomic Problems

Shoveling material from raised truck beds requires the workers to lift the shovel above their shoulders and at awkward angles to scoop up asphalt material and then bring it back down to the ground. 

This process causes tremendous stress on the worker’s backs and upper bodies, which can  lead to disability or workers’ comp claims. It’s also highly inefficient—the guy with the shovel full of heavy asphalt tends to work at a much slower pace.

Benefits of Using a Falcon Hot Box

A Falcon hot box is the ideal solution to all of the above problems. When using a hot box to keep the material at the correct temperature, you will increase the efficiency of your operations—saving money on material and labor.

The repair(s) will last longer. This means fewer trips back and forth to the same pothole, and fewer trips mean less material used and more money saved. With a Falcon hot box, you can also hold material overnight for up to 72 hours and save unused material versus wasting it.

Your workers will also thank you—as a Falcon hot box is specially designed to allow for ergonomic loading and unloading of asphalt material. This directly translates to increased efficiency, fewer workers’ comp claims, and better employee retention. 

How Hot Boxes Can Save Money

Generally speaking, you can conservatively reduce the number of trips to repair the same pothole by a ratio of 3:1 to 5:1 or a 60-80% savings in material and labor. 

It is also reasonable to believe you can reduce material waste by 10-20%. Falcon hot boxes also reduce operator fatigue—thereby increasing efficiency and operator safety.

Types of Hot Boxes

Falcon makes several different types of hot boxes, each with its own unique benefits:

Dump Box

The Dump Box is our most popular asphalt hot box and recycler. With the push of a button, it cleanly dumps asphalt onto the ground. We construct the Falcon dump box trailers using two hydraulic cylinders that prevent twisting from uneven loads. Available in 2, 3, 4, or 6-ton capacities

Truck-Mount Hot Box

You don’t have to run out and buy a trailer to keep your asphalt warm—Falcon truck mount hot boxes slide into the bed of a standard pickup truck. They’re available in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, or 10-ton capacity. We can also configure it with a self-dumping capability or customized sub-frame for hook-life, roll-off, or chassis-mount systems.

Trailer Asphalt Hot Box & Recycler

Our trailer hot box uses a stationary hopper and comes in 2, 3, or 4-ton capacities. You have the option of having it built with either one or two burners, and it comes with a full line of customized options.

Solve Your Asphalt Patching Problems with a Falcon Hot Box

A Falcon hot box can save time, money, and eliminate the most common problems faced when repairing asphalt potholes. 

Click below to see our asphalt repair 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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