Surely you have ever heard the saying: “Prevention is better than cure”. When it comes to vehicle fleet maintenance , this sentence couldn't be more true.
Preventive fleet maintenance will allow you to save a lot of money, increase the useful life of your vehicles, improve the productivity of your logistics and reduce your environmental impact in the long term.
But as in all businesses, this is much easier said than done. Human error, rapid business expansion and poor driver training can affect the overall health of your fleet, and when the health of your vehicles suffers, so does your business bottom line.
Adopting a proactive role is the best option to ensure that this does not happen to you. That's why, in this article, we over six preventative maintenance tips you can follow if you want to keep your fleet in peak condition while improving its performance over the long term.
1. Importance of preventive maintenance
In the long run, preventative maintenance will save you time and money. By providing regular and routine maintenance to your vehicles, you will improve the safety of your fleet and minimize unscheduled repairs.
Although a vehicle may appear to be perfectly fine, some components may be at the end of their useful life.
Preventative fleet maintenance includes, but is not limited to, oil changes, tire rotations, and general safety checks.
Regular inspections and repairs reduce or eliminate unnecessary downtime. These periods cost money and negatively affect the productivity of the company.
2. Plan your maintenance schedules in advance
When operating at maximum capacity, it can be difficult to schedule time for vehicle fleet maintenance and repairs. So it's important to set up a maintenance schedule and let drivers know when they'll need to pick up their vehicles for a service.
To create your schedule, analyze data on the status and condition of your vehicles provided by fleet management telematics . This way you will know the most appropriate moments to schedule maintenance.
Include in your plan how you will use reserve vehicles, rental equipment, or how you will adjust service when vehicles are out of service for repairs.
3. Optimize delivery routes
As a fleet grows, inefficient actions are more likely to occur. Your drivers may be taking unnecessary trips or incorporating more personal trips into their routes than required.
Fleet management software will help you reduce mileage by optimizing the routes of your vehicles , thus ensuring that your fleet runs as efficiently as possible.
You must also control the records of the telematic systems. If you see a driver taking more trips than necessary, communicate your findings and make them understand the policies to ensure their performance.
4. Reduce vehicle downtime
Reduced downtime ultimately translates into cost savings and reduced demand on the motor itself .
To achieve this, implement preventive measures for your drivers:
- Turn off engines when vehicles are not in use.
- Follow manufacturer's recommendations for minimum heating time.
- Obey the laws of the General Circulation Regulations on vehicle stops and parking, included in Chapter VII.
To calculate your fleet's downtime percentage, divide the total number of downtime hours by the total hours the fleet is active.
5. Educate drivers to recognize problems
Although every driver knows how to recognize the warning lights on their dashboard, not everyone knows how to identify other possible warning signs that there is a problem with the vehicle.
So that these do not go unnoticed, distribute vehicle checklists to your drivers. Here are some of the red flags to look out for:
- Vibrations out of the ordinary.
- Strange noises.
- Notice a higher or lower idle than usual.
- Thick exhaust smoke.
- Ignition delays.
Respecting the daily rest for road carriers will encourage drivers to pay attention to these signs.
6. Invest in fleet management software
Investing in telematics technology can help you gain a competitive advantage. In fact, according to a report , fleet management data can increase productivity by up to 15%. Economic savings also increase, since close to 55% of those surveyed state that they have reduced fuel costs by up to 10%.
Fleet management software will allow you to log problems, schedule vehicle fleet maintenance checks, and read advanced diagnostics in real time. In this way, it will help you detect problems in time, before they escalate.
You'll also be able to let the software automatically monitor your team's driving and let them know when to improve their performance, saving you money on fuel consumption and protecting your vehicle from preventable damage.
Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to vehicle maintenance. By following these tips, you will ensure increase the useful life of the vehicles in your fleet, while significantly reducing your overhead costs.