If you own a vehicle fleet, one of the best things you can do to maximize vehicle availability is to perform Preventative Maintenance. Unfortunately, some companies have the misunderstanding of the value of preventive maintenance and think that it costs more that reactive maintenance. The truth is reactive maintenance (maintenance performed after a breakdown) tends to be more costly. Fleet Preventative Maintenance can reduce these costly repairs by catching problems while they are small and able to be repaired, rather than completely broken.
BENEFITS OF FLEET PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE
Consisting of scheduled services, inspections and repairs, Fleet Preventative Maintenance will help extend the life of your fleet. However, management of the process, procedures and schedule is critical. By creating a plan based on time, mileage, engine hours or gallons of fuel used, consistent repairs can be made and keep the fleet in peak condition.
REDUCE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH LARGE MECHANICAL FAILURE
Replacing an engine is significantly more expensive than replacing oil on a regular basis. Not only that, but in the oil change process, other items can be inspected for wear and tear, leaks or other damage.
REDUCE LOST INCOME FROM A FLEET VEHICLE BEING OUT OF SERVICE
When a vehicle responsible for service work is not on the road, income is lost. This revenue is not able to be captured to the same level as it would if the vehicle was able to perform at its full time capacity.
REDUCE EMPLOYEE EXPENSE FROM UNWANTED DOWN TIME
Not only is the service vehicle experiencing down time, but the service employee may be as well. Lost wages, lowered morale (frustration) and even safety concerns can come up as a result of an employee losing work time.
BUILD ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH REGULAR INSPECTIONS
Inspections are one way many fleet managers build in expectations and accountability for cleanliness, inventory and safety. By inspecting vehicles during Fleet Preventative Maintenance, other personnel issues can be caught and resolved early.
IMPROVE FLEET APPEARANCE SYSTEMATICALLY
As part of a regular inspection, fleet appearance can be addressed before it becomes a problem. These can be related to lettering and decals to dents and damage.
By watching individual behaviors on a fleet, certain patterns can arise that may offer cost savings. For example, knowing how much oil is being used can potentially allow you to save money by buying at a discounted bulk rate. These patterns can help you better budget for maintenance stock.
PROACTIVELY REDUCE CLAIMS OF NEGLIGENCE
If a driver becomes unsafe because lack of fleet preventative maintenance, the company can become liable for damages. By ensuring the fleet vehicle is safe to operate, with a schedule and documentation, the business owner reduces their chance for a lawsuit. If there were to be an investigation, any vehicle problems that contributed to an accident could come back to haunt you.
FLEET PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE OBJECTIVES
The main objective of Fleet Preventative Maintenance is to create a system by which the majority of vehicle maintenance and repairs are scheduled proactively rather than handled reactively. It should include inspections, repairs, service, adjustments, cleaning, and testing. Therefore, a quality Fleet Preventative Maintenance could consist of:
A CLEAR TIMELINE OF EACH SERVICE, INSPECTION AND TESTING TO BE DONE
What will trigger a fleet preventative maintenance appointment?
Decide if it will be based on time, mileage, engine hours or gallons of fuel used. Use technology to monitor these triggers most effectively. Decide who is responsible for these records and how they will be keep.
Keep records on each fleet vehicle with data about the triggers, habits, repairs and more. These reports should also include emergency services such as lock out, towing, jumpstarts and collisions.
A CHECKLIST FOR EACH SERVICE, INSPECTION AND TEST TO BE DONE
A simple checklist will keep each fleet vehicle service consistent. Include items such as:
- Filter changes
- Fluid Levels
- Belts and hoses
- Tune-up service
- Glass and Mirrors
- Body (rust, damages, etc.)
- Systems checks: Fuel, Cooling, Electrical, Steering, Suspension, Exhaust
- Drive shafts or CV Joints
- Frame and undercarriage
- Transmission and engine mounts
- Safety items: seatbelts, horn, lights, and wipers, heating and cooling
A DRIVER INSPECTION REPORT
The fleet driver is the first line of defense and is very helpful in providing information about vehicle safety concerns such as steering, misfires, wipers, tires, horn, brakes and more. They should be expected to communicate problems as they come up as well as report any potential dangers. In this way a fleet safety program and fleet preventative maintenance plan run side by side.
Airport Automotive would love to support you in your Fleet Preventative Maintenance program. We can keep track of your vehicles as well as both the recommended and completed services, repairs and more. Give us a call today to discuss how we currently serve our Fleet clients and how it can help you extend the life of your fleet and improve your budget.