As a fleet manager, your main goals are to keep your fleet drivers safe, your fleet efficient, and your budget under control. All the decisions you make throughout the day combine to accomplish these things, but one crucial aspect of the job that contributes the most is fleet maintenance. Trucking fleet maintenance involves keeping all of your vehicles in their best working condition to avoid breakdowns. Many managers will use fleet maintenance software for trucking to streamline and simplify this process. This software automates your semi-truck maintenance schedule to promote preventative maintenance. In this complete guide, let’s go over everything there is to know about fleet maintenance and trucking company fleet maintenance software.
What is Preventative Fleet Maintenance?
When we discuss fleet maintenance in this blog, we are talking about preventative maintenance or predictive maintenance. These terms refer to the practice of planning your maintenance to keep your fleet in optimal condition before breakdowns occur, thereby saving on costs. The goal is to avoid nasty surprises like breakdowns and expensive repairs.
What is Fleet Maintenance Software?
Fleet maintenance has many moving parts, and with dozens of vehicles (or more) in your fleet, it can quickly become difficult to manage. This tool automates the maintenance process, leaving nothing up to chance. You can generate reports within minutes, quickly and easily submit DVIRs, and always obtain a real-time overview of your fleet. We will discuss the specific benefits of fleet maintenance software a bit later.
The Importance of Fleet Maintenance Software
Of course, you need the vehicles in your fleet to be available to you and in complete working order as often as possible. That’s why it’s critical to be proactive. There is a wide range of benefits to fleet maintenance that your fleet can enjoy by practicing preventative maintenance and using fleet maintenance software.
- Lower Costs: When you catch problems early, you’ll rarely have to replace a whole engine or vehicle, saving money on repair costs.
- Improved Safety: A solid maintenance program promotes regular inspections of your vehicles, which keeps your drivers safe on the road.
- Lower Operating Costs: Not only does maintenance lower repair costs, but a vehicle in good shape requires less fuel to operate, saving you money on fuel as well.
- Reduced Downtime: You’re losing money when your vehicles are broken down or in the repair shop. Keep them on the road with regular maintenance.
- Improved Compliance: Completing regular inspections and keeping vehicles in top shape makes it easier to comply with the Department of Transportation (DOT)’s requirements while improving your Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety score.
- Driver Satisfaction: During this time of the continuing driver shortage, it’s critical to keep drivers happy. You can do this by putting drivers in well-maintained, highly-functioning vehicles.
- Customer Satisfaction: When vehicles break down, or you don’t have enough to go around, you can’t meet customer expectations. Keeping vehicles well maintained makes this possible.
How to Build a Fleet Maintenance Plan
Now that you know the basics of fleet maintenance, you’ll want to integrate preventative maintenance into your fleet. You can do this by building a fleet maintenance plan. There are three steps to creating a fleet maintenance plan. While the process is time-consuming and can be challenging, as the benefits above have shown, it is worthwhile.
Step 1: Build Your Maintenance Checklist. Read your vehicle's manuals to learn their specific requirements. This will help you to build your fleet vehicle maintenance checklist. Each vehicle model is unique, but certain items should be on every maintenance checklist. Check out our article, “Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Semi Trucks,” for more details on these items.
Step 2: Assess Baseline. Before you can move forward, you need to determine where you are. When it comes to fleet maintenance, this involves ensuring your vehicle data is in a database and integrating this data with fleet software for enhanced efficiency. You should also send all of your vehicles to the shop for complete diagnostics, a test drive, and to check fluids. Run through a fleet vehicle checklist and establish every possible issue with every single vehicle in your fleet.
Step 3: Establish Policy and Maintenance Scheduling. This is the step where you’ll build your maintenance plan. It should include the following:
What should be in your fleet maintenance plan/policy?
- Pre-trip check standard: Every vehicle needs an inspection before a trip. This may be less comprehensive than a full inspection. And drivers can even conduct the inspection themselves. It may include light and horn checks, tire checks, and other minor items.
- Post-trip check standard: Same as a pre-trip check.
- Your maintenance checklist: You may have various checklists, as each fulfills a different role, such as pre- and post-trip inspections, annual checklists, or quarterly inspection checklists.
- Maintenance schedule: Every checklist should have a schedule. Some items in your vehicle, such as oil changes, will depend on mileage and driver. Check other items more or less frequently, such as tire pressure or battery life. Setting a schedule helps to ensure you always catch issues before they become bigger problems.
Support Your Preventative Maintenance Plan with Azuga
Creating a safety program is crucial in fostering a safe environment for your fleet and your community. It is necessary to ensure fleets take good care of their vehicles and that drivers remain safe on the roads. Azuga’s mission is to keep your fleet safe and effective, and our telematics technology and fleet maintenance software help us accomplish this. To learn more about Azuga’s safety and maintenance features, visit our website or contact us today.