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3 Ways to Use Preventative Fleet Maintenance to Your Advantage Brian Dziuk | Feb 6, 2017 2:30:40 PM

In some of our previous blogs, we’ve talked about the benefits of using GPS tracking devices. One of the biggest benefits of these GPS tracking devices is realized when they’re connected to an asset’s onboard diagnostics system to relay that data remotely.

Regular repair and maintenance is critical for making sure that fleet assets perform at their best.

Remote diagnostics allow fleet managers and equipment owners to actively track the condition of their assets in real time. By closely monitoring assets, fleet managers can spot impending faults early on and apply preventative maintenance to fix a small problem before it becomes a bigger one.

Aside from saving money on repairs by making small fixes early, how can businesses use preventative fleet maintenance to their advantage?

The answer varies based on the asset being tracked and the business, but here are a few potential uses:

Increasing Equipment Uptime to Improve Revenue Generation

Quick question: which costs you more—taking a semi-truck in for an hour to repair a small fault, or having to ship out a replacement to pick up the trailer while you tow the original vehicle to the shop for several days to fix a major fault?

Odds are the answer is that shipping out a second truck costs way more than calling a truck to the shop to make a quick fix. To handle an on-the-road breakdown quickly, you need to send out a second truck and a tow/repair tech, pay extra fuel costs, and whatever parts and labor are necessary to fix the unknown issue.

With remote diagnostics and preventative fleet maintenance, you could spot a minor issue early on, bring it in for maintenance, and fix it in a fraction of the time. This saves on transportation costs, labor, and parts.

Additionally, you’re not tying up two revenue-generating pieces of equipment for a single customer.

Using routine maintenance on a semi-truck prevents costly on-the-road breakdowns. An hour or two in the shop each month is better than a day on the side of the road—especially with perishable cargo.

Preparing Fleet Vehicles for Seasonal Weather

Preventative maintenance for semi trucks and fleet vehicles in seasonal weather.

Another use of preventative maintenance is to weatherproof vehicles. At certain times of the year, fleet managers may want to bring in their fleet vehicles for a quick checkup to prepare for the weather in their region.

For example, transport companies operating in the northern part of the U.S. during winter may want to top off the antifreeze/coolant in all of their fleet vehicles, make sure their tire chains are in good condition, and perform other maintenance for winter conditions.

On the other hand, during summer months, fleet managers may want to bring vehicles in for checks of their coolant levels to prevent overheating issues. In rainy areas, fleet managers may want to make sure their vehicles all have all-season or rain treads that aren’t too worn out.

Performing this weather-prep preventative maintenance can reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or accident on the road.

To Reduce Fuel Costs

A well-maintained truck is capable of greater efficiency than a worn-out one on the road. Numerous factors can detract from a fleet vehicle’s fuel economy. Common maintenance issues that detract from fuel economy include:

  • Underinflated/Misaligned Tires. Underinflated/misaligned tires increase the rolling resistance of the tires, making the engine work harder. This burns fuel faster and makes the vehicle more difficult to control.
  • Worn or Obstructed Fuel Injectors. Buildup on fuel injector heads obstructs their ability to aerate fuel properly for the combustion reaction. As a result, more fuel may need to be forced into the engine to achieve the same reaction. In severe cases, permanent damage may occur to the engine.
  • Dirty Air Filters. In older vehicles that use a carbureted engine rather than a computer-controlled fuel injection engine, a clogged air filter can reduce fuel economy and performance significantly. In newer engines, the air filter mostly impacts acceleration performance.
  • Leaky Fuel Tank/Lines. This is an obvious problem that can massively impact fuel economy in any vehicle. A leak in the fuel tank or fuel line not only reduces fuel economy, it is a major health and safety hazard.

Using preventative maintenance, fleet managers can spot many of these issues and have them fixed before they can cost a significant amount of fuel.

Smart use of preventative maintenance based on analytics data and in preparation for specific use conditions is critical for effective fleet management. By using early maintenance to prevent major issues, fleet managers can effectively control how much downtime each of their fleet assets will have, and schedule accordingly.

Want to use preventative maintenance to your advantage? Learn how you can use RASTRAC’s GPS fleet management solution to improve your preventative maintenance program today!

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