Better fuel efficiency and fewer vehicle breakdowns are a fleet operator’s dream. But how proactive are you when it comes to fleet maintenance? Keeping vehicles maintained improves their fuel efficiency and life expectancy, but when caught up in the busy routine of running your business, it’s easy to overlook routine maintenance. Consider these fleet maintenance tips to help ensure that your vehicles are in the best possible shape.
Decide Who Is in Charge
Sometimes vehicle maintenance doesn’t get taken care of simply because everyone assumes someone else is in charge of it. Avoid this mistake by clearly dictating who is responsible. It often works well to put drivers in charge of their vehicles, since they have the most control to monitor and manage them properly. But this decision will be fleet-specific. The key is to put a system in place that ensures proper accountability for the needed maintenance of each vehicle.
Create a Maintenance Checklist
One way to ensure that you don’t overlook important maintenance tasks is to create a checklist. Your checklist might be unique to your fleet’s needs, but should include these:
• Checks of all major systems (fuel, auxiliary, braking, exhaust, etc.)
• Checks of cabin comfort controls
• Checks of tires, wheels and rims
• Checks of all fluids
• Exterior and interior lights
• Frame and undercarriage
• Horn, seat belt and other safety features
• Drive shafts
• CV joints
• Belts and hoses
You also may want to add an overall tune-up to your checklist.
Include Preventive Maintenance in the Fleet Schedule
Waiting until a fleet vehicle breaks down to perform maintenance is simply inefficient and can lead to scheduling nightmares in addition to incurring unexpected repair costs. Take a proactive approach, and schedule preventive maintenance. At these appointments, your repair professional can check for signs of wear and tear that could lead to future breakdowns. They can be proactive and ensure that problems are taken care of before they hamper your business.
Make Use of Technology
Managing maintenance requires data. Mileage, reports on what maintenance has been performed, and budgetary reports all need to be collected and managed. Fleet management software makes this task easier, turning piles of paperwork into digital files that are easily managed and saved. As a bonus, going digital with your fleet maintenance data means you can get automatic alerts when it’s time to perform maintenance.
Draw ‘Best Practices’ Ideas From Drivers, Maintenance Pros
No one knows your fleet’s vehicles as well as the drivers who rely on them every day, so ask them about maintenance and what they believe is needed to keep their vehicles running well. Also, check with your maintenance professionals to make sure you are creating a maintenance plan that will work well for them. By creating a team approach to maintenance, you can improve compliance and effectiveness.