Owning a vehicle fleet can be expensive. Repairs, vehicle upkeep, and potential breakdowns can cost a lot of money and lead to downtime that costs you revenue. Luckily, having a fleet preventative maintenance program allows you to not only conquer the challenge of fleet management of multiple vehicles, but also prevent additional costs long-term.
With preventative maintenance services, you can make it easy to know when preventative maintenance checks are due. Keeping your fleet vehicles properly serviced will help your business operations run efficiently and avoid preventable breakdowns!
What is Preventative Maintenance?
The process of maintaining your fleet vehicles is called fleet maintenance. Staying on top of your fleet maintenance is so essential because it keeps your employees safe and your vehicles running longer and more efficiently.
There are two types of fleet maintenance: scheduled and unscheduled. Scheduled, or proactive, fleet maintenance, means you have a routine fleet maintenance schedule to stay on top of regular checkups. Although unexpected issues and accidents may happen, unscheduled maintenance may be avoided to an extent through planned maintenance. Also known as preventative maintenance, this scheduled routine makes it possible to detect small problems with your fleet before they escalate into larger, more expensive issues.
Preventative maintenance is essential if fleet managers want to save money. It helps keep your fleet operations efficient and safe. This maximizes on your operational services while still saving costs and delivering quality services to clients.
Five Benefits of Having a Preventative Maintenance Strategy For Your Fleet
There are numerous benefits of having a preventative maintenance strategy in place for your fleet—here are five major ones!
- Extend Your Vehicle’s Lifespan
- Reduce Fuel Costs
- Minimize Repair Expenses
- Prepare for Seasonal Weather
- Protect Your Employees
Purchasing new equipment and new vehicles can be incredibly expensive. So, it’s important to get the most return on investment from your vehicles. Your fleet vehicles can get easily run down, however. According to statistics from Popular Mechanics, the average semi-truck will travel between 45,000 and 100,000 miles each year. With such high mileage, a truck’s components can be run down in an incredibly short time frame.
With a preventative maintenance system, you can identify when vehicle parts need to be repaired or replaced. Making the necessary repairs as soon as possible can prevent a small maintenance issue from escalating to total vehicle failure, which is an even larger expense. This keeps your fleet vehicles operating at maximum safety and efficiency long-term, meaning you can get the most return on your investment.
Fuel costs can be a major drain on your budget, but a proper preventative maintenance system can help reduce it. In contrast, improper preventative maintenance scheduling drives fuel costs upwards. Maintenance problems such as underinflated and misaligned tires can cause the engine of your vehicle to work harder and burn fuel faster than necessary. Additionally, obstructed fuel injectors or dirty and worn air filters increase fuel consumption and cause a vehicle’s engine to run inefficiently, which can lead to permanent engine damage over time.
However, a proper preventative maintenance schedule can help minimize the costs associated with these kinds of issues. For instance, fleet management software can monitor fleet vehicles’ tank levels and send alerts regarding leaky fuel lines. Potential issues can then be resolved before they become expensive repairs!
Preventative maintenance services may cost you money up-front, but they will save your business big time in minimized repairs over time. Ignoring small fleet maintenance problems because you don’t want to pay to fix them now will backfire when you’re left with a bigger, much more expensive problem in the future.
Having a preventative maintenance checklist can help you detect electrical and mechanical issues before they escalate into a total vehicle failure. Not only would a total vehicle breakdown result in more expensive repairs, but it will also result in more downtime. So, not only will you have to spend more money on the repairs themselves, but you are also losing revenue as a truck sits in the shop longer than necessary. This can be detrimental to your bottom line.
With effective preventative maintenance, you can be sure your fleet vehicles are properly weatherproofed. When the seasons are about to change, fleet managers should prioritize preparing their vehicles for the upcoming weather in their region. For instance, vehicles 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 and make sure their tire chains are in good condition. Performing fleet maintenance for the winter season ensures that your fleet is properly prepared for harsh conditions.
On the other hand, during the summer months, fleet maintenance managers in warmer areas should check coolant levels to prevent overheating issues. If your fleet operates in a region with a rainy season, your preventative maintenance checklist should include checking the tire treads on each vehicle to make sure they aren’t too worn out. Performing weather preparation preventative maintenance will minimize the likelihood of a breakdown or accident on the road, saving you money and keeping your drivers safer.
If your vehicles don’t have a routine preventative maintenance schedule, then your employees are driving in vehicles with potentially worn out tires and other faulty parts. This puts them at risk for getting into an accident. For instance, worn out tire treads could result in hydroplaning and causing an accident during a rainstorm. Routine fleet maintenance would have detected the worn out tired before a deadly accident occurs.
Besides protecting your drivers, fleet maintenance also helps you avoid the expensive side effects from accidents, including higher worker’s compensation premiums, insurance costs, legal fees, and vehicle repairs or replacement.
What Should You Include in a Preventative Maintenance Checklist ?
Your preventative maintenance checklist requires planning and deliberation. But how can you track and monitor all your preventative maintenance needs?
Fleet management software is a powerful tool that can help you manage, track, and improve, your fleet maintenance solutions. GPS vehicle monitoring is not the only thing fleet management software is used for. Through this software, you can evaluate a number of vehicle conditions including:
- Engine idle time;
- Vehicle mileage;
- Engine performance;
- Hours of use;
- Driver behaviors such as hard braking and rapid acceleration, which can lead to additional wear and tear on your vehicles;
- And more!
With fleet management software, you can keep accurate and up-to-date records of your vehicle maintenance servicing as well as reminders for future check-ups. By automating maintenance reminders for performing tune-ups and oil changes and integrating past service records, you’ll always know with certainty which components of a fleet vehicle require or have received proper maintenance.
Additionally, your fleet management software will be connected to each vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system. You can then be alerted via text or email whenever a maintenance issue occurs, or send an appointment reminder so you are always up to date with your fleet management. You can also maintain verified records ranging from vehicle registration and fleet insurance renewal to inspection dates.
Besides tracking your fleet management services, GPS software can also monitor vehicle diagnostics and speed monitors to track driving habits. Part of preventative maintenance is minimizing dangerous driving habits and the risk of accidents. Fleet management software keeps you updated on your driver’s activities such as mileage, speed, and idle time.
With an effective preventative maintenance checklist, you can stay on top of your fleet maintenance program and be assured that your fleet is running as efficiently and as safe as possible.
Transform Your Preventative Maintenance Strategy with Rastrac!
Fleet management software companies continue to develop new solutions to enable fleet managers to run their operations as efficiently and proactively as possible. Better data collection increases visibility into vehicle operations that can help maintain an effective preventative maintenance schedule and save costs.
Rastrac offers a wide variety of GPS tracking fleet management solutions that can address your industry needs, ranging from managing proper preventative maintenance to increased driver accountability and reduced theft risk.
Installing a preventative maintenance system can make your day-to-day operations easier and more effective, increasing your overall productivity and saving costs. Interested in what fleet management solutions may be right for your industry and unique needs? Contact Rastrac today and see what preventative maintenance can do for your fleet.