Any business with a fleet knows just how central the fleet is to business operations. Although fleets are the backbone of most company operations, managing the fleet is only easy on paper. On the ground, fleet managers have arguably one of the toughest jobs on the company’s roster.
One key role of the fleet manager is to maintain the vehicle fleet throughout the entire operation period. This entails arranging for inspections, servicing, and repairs to prevent any potential problems in the future. The type of maintenance where fleet managers or drivers act fast to prevent or address future problems with the fleet is known as preventive maintenance.
In this post, we’ll highlight ways in which to maintain your vehicle fleet to cut down on overall company expenses and work more efficiently. Here’s what to do to keep your fleet in tip-top shape.
Track the Total Cost of Ownership of Your Vehicles
The more you stay with a vehicle, the more expensive it becomes to maintain it. During the first few years of vehicle ownership, the warranty will cover most of the repairs. However, after that, you’ll have to foot the repair bill.
This shouldn’t be an issue until the cost of repair gets out of hand. The older a vehicle gets, the more problem it’s bound to encounter. Past some age, it becomes economically unfeasible to retain ownership of the vehicle.
This means that the vehicle is costing you more than it brings in for the company. If that’s the case, then you’re better off selling the vehicle for a better and newer vehicle. Keep track of how much it costs to repair and maintain each vehicle in the fleet.
If a vehicle is a financial burden, then do away with it and get a better vehicle. You’ll end up saving the company a bundle in the long run.
Create a Service Maintenance Checklist
Reactive fleet maintenance is when you service based on the parts of the vehicle with problems. It’s a seemingly logical approach, but it doesn’t do much for the vehicle lifespan. Instead, you should have a service maintenance checklist that covers all important areas during the vehicle service.
Some of the areas you should have on lock include:-
- Engine oil and filter changes
- Transmission and engine mounts
- Fuel and cooling system
- Braking, steering, and suspension system
- Electrical system components
These are just a few of the areas you should have on your service maintenance checklist. Don’t forget about the tires, wheels, and exhaust system. If you have all these on lock, then you’ll have a comprehensive vehicle service.
Communicate Vehicle Fleet Policy to the Drivers
Are all your drivers aware of the company’s vehicle fleet policy? If not, then it’s up to you to make sure every driver is well-versed with the company policies. These policies include anything from maintenance policies, accident policies, and the likes.
Remember, your drivers are your first line of defense against accidents, unexpected breakdowns, and other situations. That’s why it’s super important for all your drivers to understand the relevant company policies. That way, they can act accordingly in case of any unexpected event on the road.
Carry out driver training sessions and forums regularly where you can communicate these company policies. Fleet operations run much more smoothly when your drivers are aware of the necessary company policies.
Establish Preventive Maintenance Intervals
Preventive maintenance intervals or PM intervals are service intervals that the vehicle manufacturer stipulates. You’ll find the PM interval on the owner’s manual, or you can ask the car seller if you can’t find it there.
The PM interval isn’t a fixed period but depends on the extent of vehicle usage. Therefore, there’s a PM interval for normal usage and another for severe usage. A vehicle under severe duty is one that you have used for:-
- Towing a trailer or another vehicle
- Commercial activities like a cab or patrol car
- Offroad driving in muddy or dusty roads
- Extensive low-speed driving
Most drivers service their vehicles for severe duty. However, if you have any qualms about the type of service duty for your car, you can confirm from here.
Don’t Forget About Tire Pressure
About 12 percent of all passenger vehicles made between 2004-2011 have at least one under-inflated tire. You’d be surprised just how important having well-inflated tires is important for your fleet vehicles.
Over-inflation could lead to tire blow-outs, which could then lead to accidents. Underinflation translates to poor handling, which could also cause accidents. Underinflation also decreases the tires’ grip on the road, which reduces fuel economy.
So the next time you want to overlook tire pressure, you better think again. Installing a simple TPMS system is enough to keep the tire pressure in check on all the vehicles on the fleet.
Give Each Vehicle Its Correct Specifications
You don’t want to either under-spec or over-spec any vehicle on the fleet. Under-specing a vehicle could lead to a host of maintenance issues down the line. Over-specing a vehicle, on the other hand, is just pouring money down the drain on needless maintenance.
Keep a clear record of vehicle usage and its particular demand based on usage and the load it carries. Properly specing your vehicle prevents maintenance issues and wastage of resources. To monitor vehicle usage and mileage, you can consider using AVL systems.
These systems keep track of your vehicle and give vital information on location, fuel usage, and any other information you need from the vehicle. An AVL system is invaluable for your fleet preventive maintenance.
Proper Fleet Maintenance Starts With You
A vehicle fleet is only as good as the fleet manager in charge of the fleet and the drivers. Proper fleet maintenance could save the company a lot of money and extend the life span of vehicles in the fleet. However, good fleet maintenance takes plenty of diligence, commitment, and teamwork on the drivers’ part.
Fleet maintenance is just the tip of the iceberg. For more informative reads, be sure to check out the other pieces on the site.