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5 Ways to Improve Maintenance on Your Fleet Vehicle Brian Dziuk | Jan 8, 2019 1:12:00 PM

A fleet vehicle breaking down can be a costly expense for fleet managers. Time spent in the repair shop means time taken away from an organization's daily fleet operations. The best way businesses can decrease the number of unscheduled maintenance appointments is by using fleet tracking devices and management software to accurately monitor vehicle diagnostics, effectively improving the overall maintenance checks a fleet vehicle may require.

When you incorporate fleet management software into your fleet operations, you are taking the time to ensure your fleet vehicles are working to their optimum performance level. Here are just five of the helpful ways fleet management software can improve a fleet vehicle's maintenance needs.

Monitor Driving Behavior

Bad driving habits can lead to serious fleet safety risks, which can lead to an increase in fleet vehicle repairs should an accident occur. For fleet managers, the fleet monitoring capabilities of fleet management software is an essential tool to monitor the patterns and behavior of drivers.

For example, hard braking and acceleration can create heavy wear and tear on tires and brakes, causing them to require frequent replacements. Fleet drivers that use more than the necessary amount of force to stop and accelerate a fleet vehicle also run the risk of getting into an accident. With fleet management software and reliable tracking devices, fleet managers are given turn-by-turn driving record statistics, offering full visibility over their drivers’ behavior. Fleet tracking devices can accurately record:

  • When a vehicle is engaged;
  • Drivers’ turning habits;
  • Acceleration, deceleration, and idle times; and
  • When fleet vehicles reach high RPM’s.

Keep Digital Records of Fleet Vehicle Data and Analytics

A fleet manager must keep accurate and up-to-date records to know what components of a fleet vehicle require or have received proper maintenance servicing. The fleet vehicle maintenance costs will vary depending on the regular upkeep a vehicle receives, so reducing the number of avoidable repairs due to poor vehicle performance is a high priority. Fleet management software can automate maintenance reminders for performing tune-ups and oil changes, and integrate past service records to allow for easy tracking of each fleet vehicles maintenance history.

Most modern fleet tracking devices can monitor the performance of fleet vehicles, which can eliminate unscheduled repairs. It does this by connecting to each vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system and alerting the fleet manager when an issue occurs and informing them about what service is needed. Ineffective fleet vehicle maintenance strategies can lead to breakdowns and equipment malfunctions if a fleet manager isn’t proactive in scheduling maintenance checks and vehicle inspections. By utilizing tracking devices with fleet software, an organization can be sure to cut costs rather than corners on proper fleet vehicle maintenance.

Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs

According to an article by Fleet Financial, fuel is the second largest expense faced by fleet managers. A combination of factors can increase a fleets fuel costs, including:

  • Poor driving habits;
  • Excessive idling;
  • Hard acceleration and braking; and
  • Improper maintenance scheduling.

Common fleet vehicle maintenance problems that drive fuel costs, like underinflated and misaligned tires, cause the engine to work harder and burn fuel faster. Dirty air filters and worn or obstructed fuel injectors increase fuel consumption and cause a vehicle’s engine to run inefficiently, which can lead to permanent engine damage over time. Fleet management software, however, can help minimize the costs that result from these issues.

Fleet tracking devices can monitor fleet vehicles’ tank levels and send alerts regarding leaky fuel lines. Another useful tool the software offers is geofencing. With geofencing, a fleet manager can optimize fleet routes by setting boundaries on the software’s virtual maps that correspond to real geographic locations to ensure fleet vehicles remain within a specified perimeter. Fleet managers will be notified via text or email whenever a vehicle enters or leaves a geofenced area. This reduces unnecessary idling time and route deviations.

Utilize Preventative Maintenance Strategies

Implementing effective preventative maintenance strategies can reduce fleet vehicle maintenance costs and optimize overall fleet performance. Adhering to proper preventative maintenance strategies and taking advantage of the diagnostic benefits offered by fleet tracking and management software, fleet managers can accurately maintain records that:

  • Show when a vehicle’s registration needs to be renewed;
  • Help them stay up to date on fleet insurance;
  • Track vehicle inspection dates; and
  • Help them actively monitor and protect fleet assets.

In addition to these tracked diagnostics, fleet management software also acts as a great security measure to prevent theft. A fleet tracking device works in conjunction with fleet management software to monitor asset location and events. Some Rastrac tracking devices are equipped with a starter disable function that prohibits a fleet vehicle from turning on during set hours, or prevent the vehicle from being started the next time someone tries to turn the ignition. Geofencing boundaries add an extra layer of security by alerting fleet managers whenever their vehicles or assets move from their designated areas.

Follow Proper Vehicle Replacement Cycles

Using older fleet vehicles risks the safety of the driver and others on the road and increases maintenance costs. If a fleet vehicle has high engine mileage and multiple service and repair issues, or simply aged past its optimal performance life, then replacing the vehicle is the best way to mitigate any risks to safety or fleet performance.

An organization that actively looks for solutions to improve fleet vehicle maintenance can effectively maintain lower repair costs and reduce potential accidents and injuries. At Rastrac, we offer fleet management software and tracking devices to help fleet businesses in managing their daily fleet operations. To learn about Rastrac tracking systems and its software, contact one of our project representatives today!

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