Want to know how to keep your fleet on the road, maximize your profits, and avoid unexpected costs?
You need to look into preventive fleet maintenance.
But what does fleet vehicle maintenance involve?
In this article, we’ll discover what fleet maintenance is, 6 elements to include in fleet vehicle management, how you can improve your fleet vehicle maintenance, and things to have on your fleet maintenance log.
This Article Contains:
- What Is Fleet Maintenance?
- 6 Must-Have Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Elements
- How To Improve Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
- 5 Things To Record On Your Fleet Maintenance Log
Let’s get started.
What Is Fleet Maintenance?
Fleet vehicle maintenance is the upkeep of your organization’s vehicles to keep them in optimal driving condition. The goal is to enhance fleet operation, reduce operational costs, and prevent the unexpected breakdown of vehicles.
Why is this important?
Proper fleet maintenance preserves the short-term health of fleet vehicles and saves you thousands of dollars on operational cost. It decreases maintenance cost and repair time while preventing costly downtime and even saving on the cost of fuel.
Next, let’s look at what elements should be included in fleet vehicle management to help you become a fleet maintenance pro.
6 Must-Have Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Elements
A well-designed fleet vehicle management system will help you save money on maintenance costs, prevent the unexpected breakdown of fleet vehicles, and reduce fuel consumption.
To optimize fleet operations, stay ahead of potential problems by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Do You Have A Fleet Inspector?
Hire an experienced vehicle maintenance provider as a cost-effective fleet maintenance solution to take care of fleet vehicle upkeep. This way, you’ll have time to focus on running your business and other elements of fleet management, as they handle setting up a maintenance schedule.
A fleet inspector will ensure that fleet operations run smoothly and you maintain a healthy fleet by following a well-defined inspection schedule. They’ll ensure that preventive maintenance (oil, tire, and engine cleaning) is regularly performed.
Tip: To help with fleet management, you can manually insert and receive maintenance alerts from your calendar, or you can use a fleet maintenance software. This makes following a maintenance schedule easier.
2. Do Your Drivers Give Reports Regularly?
You’ll need to constantly communicate with your drivers and schedule a routine maintenance inspection since they spend the most time with the vehicles. It’s vital to implement rotating preventive maintenance jobs; and not only do them on set dates.
Doing so helps the driver develop the best practices by checking their oil and tire pressure while on the road and then reporting back to you. These reports can be submitted manually or digitally using a fleet maintenance software of your choice.
3. Are Your Vehicles Suited For Their Tasks?
You wouldn’t show up to an F1 race with a minivan, would you?
That’s why you should always equip your fleet vehicles for their tasks. Using vehicles not suited to the task could lead to faster deterioration, and using vehicles that are too advanced for the job could incur unnecessary costs.
When buying a vehicle and assigning tasks, you’ll need to determine your vehicle‘s operating conditions and what it’ll carry. This is how you’ll optimize vehicle performance and implement a proper fleet maintenance solution.
4. Are Your Tires In Good Condition?
Did you know that tire pressure impacts your fleet vehicle’s fuel economy and general wear and tear?
Another thing to note is that tire wear will be inconsistent across your fleet as many factors impact how your tires deteriorate. The weather conditions, road surfaces, and drivers’ skills can all impact tire conditions.
Tip: If you schedule long trips, test the tire pressure before and after every journey. Also, have your driver look out for overall tire condition.
5. Are Your Vehicles Being Kept Clean?
Always keep your vehicles washed and polished to project and uphold a good business image. Tidy vehicles also help drivers experience greater job satisfaction while they work.
You wouldn’t work in a messy environment, right? So why should your drivers?
A clean exterior can help you detect rust and deterioration before they become more prominent and expensive problems.
6. Do Your Drivers Know How To Maintain Their Vehicles?
Educating your drivers on handling simple preventive maintenance is vital to maintain optimal vehicle performance. Your vehicle driver shouldn’t wait for roadside assistance for simple fixes.
Your drivers should know how to maintain their vehicles and drive efficiently by completing scheduled maintenance tasks like checking the tire pressure and tread wear, and knowing how to change a flat.
Thoroughly explain the importance of preventative maintenance and driver safety so your drivers can avoid road accidents. Improved driver safety will help prevent endangering others and the costly repairs of mishaps.
Now, let’s find out how you can improve your current fleet vehicle maintenance system.
How To Improve Fleet Vehicle Maintenance
Scheduled maintenance should be standard practice for your business, and preventive maintenance is always the best course of action.
Here are a few ways for you to improve your fleet vehicle maintenance:
A. Collect And Store Data
Collect and store important fleet vehicle information in one location. Keeping data can save your drivers and fleet manager time and prevent miscommunication.
You can use cloud computing to record, manage, and access data from anywhere, which is super convenient. Storing data helps create a clear picture of your fleet’s needs before drawing up a fleet maintenance program.
B. Draw Up A Fleet Maintenance Plan
Use the data you collected and work with fleet managers to devise a maintenance strategy and develop a preventive fleet maintenance plan. This maintenance strategy will minimize vehicle downtime and save fleet managers from missing vital components.
While you handle maintenance scheduling with your fleet manager, compile a Driver Vehicle Inspection Record (DVIR) that your drivers must follow daily.
It can include:
- Repair and preventative maintenance history
- Current mileage on the odometer
- Fuel consumption and fuel level
- Oil change history
C. Follow A Routine Maintenance Cycle
After careful consideration, draw up a preventative maintenance schedule to follow regularly.
Try to include various elements in your regular maintenance cycle like:
- The type of vehicle
- Frequency of use
- Operating conditions, etc.
Certain types of fleet management software can automate repetitive maintenance tasks — like maintenance scheduling — and drastically improve efficiency. Predictive maintenance can reduce maintenance cost and planning time while increasing vehicle uptime by preventing vehicle breakdown.
D. Have A Maintenance Checklist For Drivers
A fleet vehicle maintenance checklist will help drivers maintain uptime by discovering maintenance issues before vehicle breakdown occurs. Work with your drivers to set up a maintenance program and include the necessary points on the checklist.
Fleet maintenance software allows you to create checklists for DVIRs that remind drivers to check aspects of their vehicle regularly, such as:
- The exterior of the vehicle
- Fuel level
- Engine condition
Note: Although each vehicle – even the same model – is unique, some maintenance features will be standard across the board. Therefore, vehicle repair during downtime can be pretty standard.
E. Invest In Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Software
An effective fleet maintenance management program can be helpful to your company’s sustainability and financial health.
Fleet maintenance management programs can automatically send notifications of unsafe driving, issue warnings to drivers, and even have GPS fleet tracking options. Drivers correcting their behavior will save you the money you would have used for vehicle repair (in the worst-case scenario) and prevent downtime.
A fleet maintenance software can generate reports faster than if done manually. As such, using a fleet management software makes reporting issues, submitting reports and fleet tracking and general fleet operation easier.
A fleet management software also ensures automated data collection reduces the chances of human error, boosting efficiency and accuracy overall.
Now that you’ve taken steps to improve your fleet vehicle maintenance let’s look at what you’ll need to record on your fleet maintenance log.
5 Things To Record On Your Fleet Maintenance Log
A fleet maintenance log keeps track of what maintenance your vehicle undergoes. Not only will this information help you make critical decisions regarding your business, but it’s also beneficial by keeping your business compliant with regulations and ensuring you have reliable vehicles.
Here are the details you should have:
1. The Date And Mileage
During fleet service, note the vehicle’s mileage to keep track of oil and filter changes. Doing so ensures that your parts last their entire lifespan and tracks how much your fleet travels.
Fleet tracking can help record this data accurately.
2. Your Service Provider
It’s vital to know the person or business servicing your vehicle. Always note who does your repairs each time, with no exceptions — even if you have a regular mechanic performing proper fleet maintenance.
Record yourself as the fleet service provider for any minor fixes you perform. So if any questions arise during regular maintenance, you know exactly where to look for answers.
3. Detailed Service Description
This contains the most detail in your vehicle maintenance log. As a fleet maintenance pro, include all inspections performed by your service provider, the replaced parts, and all other relevant information.
Even include if your driver had to call for roadside assistance while on a job.
Why not use bullet points in this section?
It’ll make it easier to read and understand.
4. Condition Of Your Vehicle
Track your fleet vehicle’s future needs by noting their condition before and after servicing. Note things like the color of the engine oil or the transmission fluid. This information can tell you what issues you’ll possibly face.
Having this data can prepare you for costs you might incur and help create a backup plan to keep your fleet productive.
5. The Service Cost
Recording the cost of services rendered is crucial for business accounting purposes.
Keep track of how much you spend on each part of your vehicle so you know when it’s time to replace something. Even if you handle a repair yourself, jot down how much money you spend on materials to see when a vehicle exceeds its worth.
Fleet vehicle maintenance is an integral part of your business you need to consider constantly to avoid costly repairs and vehicle downtime. Always remember that proper preparation prevents poor performance.
With trusted mobile mechanics like AutoNation Mobile Service, you can call our technicians to your station and have your fleet vehicles serviced directly on-site.