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Avoid Vehicle Fleet Breakdowns With These Tips Brian Dziuk | Sep 10, 2021 1:00:00 PM

When one of your fleet vehicles suffers a breakdown, your whole business suffers with it. One less vehicle means reaching fewer customers than planned, which starts a chain reaction that results in lost revenue and overall decreased productivity. To help prevent avoidable breakdowns, check out these tips!

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How Common Are Vehicle Fleet Breakdowns?

In total, downtime expenses can run eight times higher than anticipated, and each out-of-service vehicle costs fleets between $850 and $1,000 per day on average. This impact can be especially hard on smaller companies, which is why it's essential for these businesses to know how to avoid downtime effectively.

fleet maintenance mechanic

Common Vehicle Fleet Maintenance Challenges

While the role of a fleet maintenance manager is vital, it isn’t always easy. As technology continues to evolve and become more sophisticated, the skills and parts necessary to maintain modern fleet vehicles are getting more complicated and expensive. Combined with the shortage of skilled mechanics and technicians, it can be difficult to manage and carry out an effective fleet maintenance program in the modern age.

Plus, many business owners and managers today are most concerned with how to reduce fleet costs. It can be difficult for fleet maintenance managers to do their jobs effectively if they aren't given the budget allocation necessary to do so. However, investing in proper fleet maintenance now will actually help you cut long-term repair costs and boost fleet efficiency, meaning higher profit margins.

Effects of Vehicle Fleet Downtime

Increased Repair Costs

The most obvious effect of downtime is the cost incurred to get the vehicle back on the road. Repair and maintenance costs are budgeted for the year, but unexpected breakdowns introduce unforeseen expenses. These costs also tend to be higher than typical repair and maintenance tasks since they include towing expenses and emergency repair rates. The price of a rental vehicle is also included in this, and your business may need to use one while your fleet vehicle is in the shop.

Loss of Productivity

Loss in productivity is another negative effect of downtime. Other vehicles need to pick up the slack with one vehicle sidelined, which can increase wear on those assets. If the vehicle features unique equipment for a specialized service, that service may be temporarily unavailable. On top of that, your office may get flooded with complaints about delays, making workers less able to help customers who are calling in for service.

Decreased Revenue

Failing to deliver goods or services within an expected time window can lead to customer dissatisfaction. Unhappy customers negatively affect your company's revenue since they may stop doing business with you and take their potential referrals with them.

fleet vehicle breakdown

Tips to Prevent Vehicle Fleet Breakdowns

Reduce the risks of vehicle fleet breakdowns by following these best practices:

Implement A Fleet Maintenance Strategy

In fleet maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a metric ton of cure. Help your organization cut costs, not corners with a practical and effective approach to preventative maintenance. A modern GPS tracking device can connect with your vehicles’ onboard diagnostics systems to relay data remotely.

This automated process provides you with access to accurate, up-to-date information you can use to make better decisions in terms of fleet maintenance and general fleet operations. This reduces human errors that can result from manually inputting and reporting information. It also saves valuable time for you and your drivers.

Replace Older Fleet Vehicles

After a certain mileage, fleet vehicles reach a point where they need more frequent and extensive maintenance. While mechanical breakdowns are much less common today than they were 20 years ago — and cars tend to last longer — vehicles age to a point where replacement may be a necessity. While the cost of replacement is daunting, remember that this is significantly less than the long-term costs of keeping older vehicles. 

Older vehicles need more maintenance and are more likely to fail on the road, resulting in unexpected downtime. Work within your company to determine when to retire vehicles, and be sure to account for replacement costs in your budget.

Reward Safe Driving Habits

Accidents are a significant cause of unplanned downtime — on average, 20% of fleet downtime results from an accident. While some accidents are unavoidable since other drivers on the road may cause them, businesses can reduce downtime due to employee-caused accidents by managing their drivers' driving behaviors. 

Train drivers in safe driving tactics regularly and keep track of accident records to help identify trends. Another potential plan is to monitor driver behavior by using vehicle tracking so you can identify speeding, heavy braking, sharp turns, sudden stops, and other concerning actions. You may also equip your trucks with speed-limiting devices to restrict maximum vehicle speeds to the legal limit.

GPS Asset Tracking: A Fleet Maintenance Strategy that Works

Modern GPS tracking devices can track more than locations and vehicle diagnostics. Rastrac’s GPS trackers can help you monitor a variety of driver behaviors that can place undue wear-and-tear on your fleet vehicles and can lead to dangerous vehicle accidents.  

Discover how Rastrac’s fleet management solutions can improve or complement your fleet maintenance strategy. Click on the image below to download our free fleet efficiency guide now.

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