Fleet maintenance programs are designed to ensure that your fleet is always in its best shape. Fleet maintenance should be a top priority for any fleet business. Not only does actively maintaining your fleetkeep drivers safe, but it makes vehicles last longer, saves money on repairs, and keeps your vehicles running efficiently at all times.
This article will discuss tips that you can take advantage of to optimize your fleet’s maintenance procedures.
No. 1: Create a Fleet Maintenance Plan
If you’re looking to optimize your business’s fleet maintenance procedures, the first thing you should do is create a preventative fleet maintenance plan. A fleet maintenance plan is a process that your fleet will implement to inspect and repair your vehicles. There are three steps to creating a fleet maintenance plan:
- Create a fleet maintenance checklist: As mentioned before, this is the most critical step. Be sure to review your vehicle thoroughly and include all of the parts that may need maintenance.
- Assess baseline: This step involves putting your vehicle’s information into a database and hopefully integrating this data with fleet software. If your documents aren’t digital, you will want to update them at this point to make them digital.
- Establish Policy and Maintenance Scheduling: At this point, you will want to establish parameters for your fleet vehicles and drivers.
Check out our blog article “Fleet Maintenance Plan and Checklist” for instructions on creating a fleet maintenance plan and fleet maintenance checklist. It is a time-consuming challenge, but the benefits that you will enjoy by implementing a fleet maintenance program are sure to make your effort work it.
No. 2: Track Driver Behavior
You may be surprised by how much driver behavior can impact your fleet vehicles’ longevity. There are a lot of driver behaviors that inflict excessive wear and tear on your vehicles, such as idling, speeding, and hard braking. Idling wears down your vehicle’s engine faster, and hard braking damages your vehicle’s tires and brakes. Luckily, telematics and fleet management software can track these driver behaviors and provide coaching to limit them.
Your drivers must understand how their behavior impacts your vehicles and your business. By ensuring that they recognize how their driving can affect your business, they are more likely to monitor their own driving behavior. Combined with telematics, you’re sure to limit the amount of wear and tear that your vehicles endure. You can generate reports showing how often certain behaviors occurand if they appear on particular routes or during certain types of jobs. This will help you see any gaps in your driver training or specific challenges with individual locations or jobs causing drivers to engage in unsafe driving behaviors. The first step is informing drivers and tracking their behavior. Then once you take action against the continuing behaviors, you’re sure to see an improvement in your vehicles’ longevity and repair costs.
No. 3: Pay Attention to Tires
Your vehicles’ tires are one of its most important parts. Without tires, your vehicle certainly isn’t going to make it very far. There are a lot of fleet maintenance issues that center around your vehicles’ wheels and tires. Weather, road surface, and even driving behavior can all affect the health of a vehicle’s tires. If your tires aren’t properly aligned, it causes excessive wear on certain parts of the vehicle. Improperly inflated tires are unsafe ad waste money on excess gas usage. Tire inflation is one of the simplest maintenance procedures, but you would be surprised at how many fleets neglect their vehicles’ tires.
Your drivers should be actively involved in their vehicles’ care, and this includes knowing how to check tire pressure. If they are involved in this step of the process, they will feel more secure knowing that their vehicle is safe to drive. Also be sure to communicate those driving behaviors that affect your vehicles’ tires, such as hard braking and speeding. If any driver issues are causing wear on your wheels, you should address those immediately with targeted coaching.
No. 4: Know Your Cost of Ownership
It makes sense that maintenance on your vehicle will cost more as your vehicles begin to age. It’s important to know when the maintenance cosys of your vehicle outweigh the value of the vehicle itself. Lifecycle management is a critical part of fleet management with many different approaches and strategies. As long as your fleet is well-maintained and efficient, you can choose any lifecycle management method you wish. These are the three standard approaches to lifecycle management:
- Minimize Downtime and Maintenance: Using this method, you usually replace your vehicles at the expert-recommended benchmark of four years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. They recommend this timeframe because it is often when vehicles begin to require major repairs that may exceed the vehicle's value.
- Maximize the Rate of Return on Every Expense: This is a method for companies who don’t mind the downtime and costs that come with making major repairs to a vehicle after the expert-recommended timeframe. These fleets usually keep their vehicles for four to eight years or 60,000 to 100,000 miles. They’re willing to do some maintenance, but when it outvalues the vehicle itself, they’re still ready to replace it.
- Minimize Capital Costs: These fleets use their vehicles for as long as possible before replacing them. To these fleets, repairs are more economical than replacements. This is usually the most expensive strategy and involves replacing vehicles long after eight years or 100,000 miles.
Whichever method you choose, you should be aware of your vehicles’ value to determine how much work you’re willing to put into it. Vehicle replacement is a critical part of the fleet maintenance process.
No. 5: Invest in Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software has a variety of benefits for fleets of all sizes. It can help your fleet simplify its operations, save money, and please its customers. One of its major benefits is improving your fleet’s fleet maintenance system. Without fleet management software, it is challenging to keep track of the maintenance needs for all of your vehicles, and it only gets more complicated the more vehicles you have. Fleet management software takes the guesswork out of the equation by offering a few key features to help you implement your fleet maintenance plan.
First, it uses telematics to track vehicle issues such as engine problems, brake problems, or tire problems. When it detects a problem, the system will send you an alert, so you’re aware of the issue right away. Combined with the regular inspections required with a fleet maintenance plan, it becomes nearly impossible to miss vehicle issues that can become severe later down the line.
Secondly, you can set up scheduled maintenance alerts. These alerts tell you when it is time for your vehicle’s routine maintenance check-ups, so you never have to worry about missing an appointment. These appointments are crucial for maintaining the health of your vehicles, and without them, you may miss maintenance issues that can hinder you later. Scheduled maintenance alerts are just another failsafe that prevents your business from falling behind on its maintenance plan.
Finally, fleet management software allows you to keep track of your fleet’s maintenance logs with ease. An essential step in creating a fleet maintenance plan is digitizing your fleet maintenance logs, and this can seem like a daunting, tedious task if you don’t have the right equipment. But fleet management software turns this task into a breeze and allows you to keep track of your maintenance logs with great ease. We will have more information on maintenance logs later in this article, but keeping them digital is an incredible benefit that will serve your fleet well.
No. 6: Keep Detailed Fleet Maintenance Logs
As we mentioned, fleet maintenance software can help you digitize your maintenance logs and makes keeping them easier, but are these logs necessary in the first place? The answer is a resounding yes! Maintenance logs help you track your vehicles’ health and how much you are spending on their care. Without fleet maintenance logs, you might never be able to catch recurring problems. You might never know how much you’re spending on a vehicle that may be costing you more than it’s worth. Fleet maintenance logs are a critical part of your fleet maintenance plan that you should carefully monitor. Every fleet is different, but a general fleet maintenance log includes the following:
- Date and Mileage
- Service Provider
- Service Description
- Condition of the Vehicle
- Cost of the Service
Depending on your fleet’s needs, you can add to this list as needed, but it should always include those five items. These details help you make decisions regarding your fleet’s maintenance, such as when to replace parts or when drivers may need training if a particular issue is caused by driver behavior. You need this information to make informed, data-backed decisions for the good of your fleet.
No.7: Use Your Vehicles Properly
We’ve mentioned driver behavior several times throughout this article, but this is not what we mean when we say use your vehicles properly. This means that it is critical to properly spec your vehicles, particularly based on usage and load maximums. If you have a vehicle carrying more than it can, that puts far more wear and tear on the vehicle than it needs to endure. Ensure your vehicles are adequately equipped for their loads, the conditions they are driving in, and their frequency of use. You can cut a vehicle’s lifespan nearly in half by utilizing it improperly, so it is crucial to ensure that you are analyzing the proper use of your vehicles.
Create the Ideal Fleet Maintenance Solution with Azuga!
You would be surprised how much your fleet can benefit from prioritizing fleet maintenance. Check out our blog article, “Top 10 Fleet Maintenance Benefits You Can't Ignore,” to learn how fleet maintenance can benefit your fleet. Azuga is your go-to source for all things fleet management! We offer a comprehensive fleet management solution that covers everything from fleet safety, training, and, yes, fleet maintenance! Our fleet maintenance software has all of the features mentioned in this article and can help you accomplish all of these tips. If you want to try it out for yourself, check out a fleet demo on our website. You’re sure to be impressed with everything we have to offer.