There are many benefits of a preventative fleet maintenance program that affect all aspects of your fleet business. Preventative maintenance means keeping your vehicles consistently maintained before major issues ever arise. Implementing this type of fleet maintenance program keeps your vehicles operational, saves you money, and improves your reputation among your customers.
If you don’t have a preventative maintenance plan in place, you may find yourself behind your competition. You can read more about what a preventative maintenance plan is and how to implement one in our blog article, “What is Fleet Maintenance?” Below are 10 benefits of preventative fleet maintenance that your fleet may be missing out on if you’re still conducting reactive maintenance
No. 1: Keep Your Drivers Safe
Driver safety should be a top priority for any fleet. You may be surprised by how much fleet maintenance can improve driver safety. Did you know that 27% of accidents involving a truck are caused by brake failure, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)? Brakes would be checked very frequently under a preventative maintenance plan, and issues that would cause brake failure would be hard to miss. With all of the dangers that drivers already face, their vehicles should not endanger them. If your fleet is getting into accidents due to brake failures and tire blowouts, it is time to update your fleet’s maintenance procedures.
Drivers who feel safe are also more likely to stay with your fleet. With the ongoing driver shortage and no end in sight, keeping good drivers when you find them is critical. If your drivers are dealing with malfunctioning, dangerous vehicles, they can easily find another fleet that prioritizes their safety better and gives them safe vehicles to drive. No driver is going to put their safety at risk, regardless of other circumstances. If they are involved in your fleet maintenance plan and take an active role in their vehicle’s health, they’ll feel more confident that they are safe behind the wheel.
No. 2: Improve Your Vehicle’s Lifecycle
Replacing vehicles is one of the most expensive parts of fleet management. The recommended lifespan for a fleet vehicle is only four years or 60,000 miles. That is because, after that benchmark, vehicles often require significant repairs and maintenance that end up costing more than the vehicle is worth. There are a couple of ways that prioritizing fleet maintenance can make your vehicles last their full lifecycle.
First, making routine repairs prevents parts from breaking down. When a component on an older vehicle breaks, it’s often more economical to replace the vehicle. However, routine maintenance can significantly lengthen the lifespan of the vehicle and its parts. This means that your vehicles can last for far longer than they otherwise would, with far fewer breakdowns.
Secondly, having drivers perform inspections involves them in the process and makes them aware of the maintenance issues that vehicles face. Managers can also ensure that drivers are aware of how their behavior affects the welfare of each vehicle. Activities such as hard braking, idling, and speeding put unnecessary wear and tear on vehicles that can cause them to wear out faster. Drivers must know to avoid these behaviors and should be involved in maintaining their vehicle’s health.
No. 3: Save Money on Repairs
It may seem like regular maintenance would be more expensive than occasional repairs, but this is typically not the case. The truth is, when you don’t perform routine maintenance on vehicles, parts are more likely to break, resulting in lengthier, costlier repairs. These repairs can be a major burden on your business. For example, inflating the tires on your vehicle doesn’t take any time or money at all. However, the results of a blowout can significantly damage your vehicle, not to mention cause an accident that damages property or other vehicles. It becomes expensive very quickly and could have been avoided by a simple routine procedure. Oil changes work very similarly. They hardly take any time at all, but if you neglect them, they can result in clogged engines or worn-out pistons. You don’t want to spend thousands on what could’ve been a simple routine repair. If you focus on preventative rather than reactive maintenance, you’re sure to see a significant reduction in your spending on vehicle maintenance. It’s one of the best returns on investment you can find.
No. 4: Save on Operational Costs
When it comes to preventative maintenance, cheaper repairs aren’t the only way that you save money. There are a few ways that performing regular, routine maintenance can net your business cost savings. The first way is by simply reducing the amount of time that your vehicle spends off the road. When a vehicle has a breakdown, a significant repair is usually needed to get that vehicle moving again. The time spent on the side of the road and in the repair shop leads to lost revenue and wasted time. The repairs themselves are only part of the hit your business will take in the wake of a breakdown. Meanwhile, regular, routine maintenance means that you can plan for your vehicle’s downtime and ensure that your business remains operational during the short time that your vehicle is in the shop. Many routine maintenance procedures are quick and easy, only taking a couple of hours, meaning there isn’t much lost time for your vehicle, drivers, or business.
No. 5: Combat Rising Fuel Costs
As always, fuel costs are on the rise. Fuel is one of the places where fleets spend a considerable portion of their budget. Of course, fleets are therefore always looking for ways to cut back on fuel usage. You may be surprised to learn that regular vehicle maintenance can improve your vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 40%, according to Automotive Fleet Magazine. Keeping your vehicles’ tires properly inflated makes a significant difference when it comes to saving on fuel costs. It’s also critical to ensure your wheels are properly aligned at all times, as the vehicle has to work harder when they are not. Whether or not fuel costs continue to rise, they’re currently at a seven-year high, and businesses are hurting now more than ever. Fleet businesses rely on fuel to keep their operations flowing; they simply can’t do without it. There are many ways to cut back on fuel usage, but engaging in preventative fleet maintenance is one of the best ways to save on fuel costs.
No. 6: Improve Customer Service
Businesses are changing, and customers have higher expectations than ever before. It’s critical to deliver goods and services on time, or customers will simply turn to a competitor who does. If your vehicles are constantly suffering breakdowns or your operations are consistently hindered by vehicles being in the shop for major repairs, you will undoubtedly begin to see a hit on your business’s performance. If you cannot meet your customers’ expectations due to vehicle issues, it’s time to create a preventative maintenance plan. As mentioned, you can plan around your routine maintenance needs, ensuring that vehicles in the shop don’t greatly hinder your business’s operations.
Another benefit is that minor repairs take far less time, so you can get back to work much faster. Customers may not know that an efficient preventative maintenance plan is the reason for your business’s excellent performance, but they will be impressed nonetheless. Providing a positive customer experience is more important now than ever when there is so much competition and customer demands are so high. Ensure that you aren’t left behind your competition with an effective fleet maintenance plan.
No. 7: Make Decisions with Real Data
Almost as important as making the repairs to your vehicles is tracking repairs and keeping a digital vehicle maintenance log. This maintenance log is vital for many reasons, but most importantly, it helps you track everything that’s been done to your vehicles so you can track patterns and recurring issues and take action based on that data. You may find that certain driver behaviors are causing brake issues in the same vehicle over and over. Or perhaps a particular part keeps having the same issue, and it may be time for a replacement. It would be far more challenging to find these problems without a detailed history of your vehicles’ maintenance logs. However, with this data at your disposal, you can easily make decisions that improve your fleet’s vehicles and ensure that you won’t have any major maintenance issues in the future. It’s also critical to keep your vehicles’ inspection reports, as they help you determine issues as well, and they are necessary for FMCSA inspections.
No. 8: Maintain Compliance with Federal Regulations
It’s surprising how often fleets get docked at DOT inspections for very simple reasons that should have been caught during a fleet maintenance inspection. However, for fleets without a preventative maintenance plan in place, it becomes easy to see how little details are missed. A preventative maintenance plan involves regular inspections of vehicles, particularly before and after trips, to ensure that everything is in working order. These inspections should match up with DOT inspection checklists to ensure that fleets are never unnecessarily docked. It is frustrating when your fleet is fined for something that could’ve easily been fixed and avoided.
Furthermore, keeping inspection logs on hand is also critical to ensure your fleet passes its DOT inspection. Many fleets are docked for not having their Driver and Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) on hand. Yet, it’s easy to keep track of if you have a regular fleet maintenance plan in place with DVIR inspections as part of the process. It’s much easier to pass your DOT inspections with a strong fleet maintenance plan in place.
No. 9: Attract Drivers to Your Business
As mentioned, the driver shortage is ongoing, and there is no end in sight. Sign-on bonuses and competitive wages go a long way for bringing drivers to your business, but nothing is more important to drivers than their safety. Nobody wants to be driving a run-down vehicle that’s falling apart, no matter the pay or benefits. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize safety for your drivers in all aspects of their jobs. Fleet maintenance is one place where this is often overlooked, especially for businesses trying to save money in the short term. However, without safe vehicles, it won't be easy to attract new drivers to work for your business, and without drivers, your business can’t operate at all. Make your business shine compared to the competition by implementing an effective fleet maintenance plan that ensures drivers are always in the best vehicles.
No. 10: Improve Your Business’s Reputation
Your company's reputation in the community is instrumental to obtaining new customers and business partners. If you don’t have a positive reputation, you will run into all kinds of issues when it comes to operating your business. Fleet maintenance helps improve your business’s standing in a variety of ways. First, a business with happy employees makes a better mark on the community. If you prioritize your drivers’ safety with a fleet maintenance program and other safety features, it’s sure to reflect positively on you.
Secondly, when businesses are involved in accidents, it reflects negatively on them. Your fleet will significantly reduce its accidents by implementing a fleet maintenance program and ensuring its vehicles are in top shape. And thirdly, when you provide good customer service, customers will talk. When customers have positive things to say about you, word gets out in the community that you’re a good business.
Create Your Fleet Maintenance Plan With Azuga Today!
Azuga’s state-of-the-art fleet maintenance software makes fleet maintenance easier than ever. You can read more about our fleet maintenance app’s features on our website and even try a free demo as well! Preventative maintenance becomes manageable with our technology.