If your business has a fleet, it's vital to have a preventive maintenance program in place. Whether you have ten vehicles or over 100, preventive maintenance is essential to keep vehicles driveable and available for use by the company. A poorly maintained fleet is more likely to need early replacement and could create unsafe driving conditions for employees. If a vehicle becomes unsafe due to improper maintenance, the fleet manager could be held accountable and even prosecuted for negligence.
Methods of Fleet Maintenance
Maintenance of the vehicles in a fleet can include everything from car washes and detailing to oil changes, repairs, scheduled maintenance, and routine inspections. It can be either proactive or reactive, meaning that it can be pre-planned preventive type maintenance, or repairs in response to vehicle problems and breakdowns.
Typically, staying on top of proactive preventive maintenance will save many hours of repair work and keep a vehicle on the road. Most breakdowns could have been prevented by a better maintenance plan and schedule.
To ensure that the most important items are checked and addressed as scheduled, it helps to create a checklist that can be kept up to date for each vehicle in the fleet. A preventive maintenance checklist will most likely include:
- Engine oil and filter changes.
- Checking wheels and repairing or replacing tires due to wear.
- Checking the braking system, steering system, and suspension, and tuning up as needed.
- Checking other fluids, such as transmission and coolant; replacing when needed and checking for leaks in the systems.
- Checking belts and hoses for wear and tear.
- Testing safety systems, including seatbelts and seat structural integrity, the horn, the interior lights, headlights, and brake lights, and the mirrors.
It is vital that drivers have an open line of communication with fleet managers so that they can provide information about safety issues, driveability issues, and any other damage or items needing repair. Drivers need to be held accountable for inspecting their vehicles before and after each trip, and be aware of issues to watch out for during their drive.
When to Plan Preventive Maintenance
It's always a good idea to look in the vehicle owner's manual to find out when the manufacturer recommends performing scheduled maintenance; however, it's important to be aware of whether or not your vehicles are truly operating under normal vehicle operating conditions. If your drivers are doing a lot of off-road operation, driving in heavy traffic, towing, or simply being driven a lot more hours out of the week than an average vehicle, your fleet should be maintained by "severe duty" standards rather than the normal routine maintenance schedule laid out in the owner's manual.
Maintaining a fleet is a big job, which is why there are many contract companies available to take on the task if you prefer. If you're looking for a reliable company to provide fleet maintenance services to your vehicles, call All in the Wrist Auto and Diesel Repair to find out more about their services and affordable pricing options.