Vehicle maintenance costs are on the rise. In fact, maintenance and repair costs increase by 4% each year. There are many reasons for this, including labor, oil capacity, and other items commonly on a vehicle inspection checklist. The problem only grows with newer, more technologically integrated vehicles. It’s much more difficult to find parts for older models, and when you do, they’re more expensive. It can also be much harder to repair these vehicles because you’ll need to find a mechanic who is trained to handle them. This becomes more apparent with each new model.
There are a lot of moving parts in fleet maintenance including warranties, depreciation, and acquisition. All of it makes your vehicle maintenance costs variable and unpredictable. This pushes many fleet managers to choose leasing over buying fleet vehicles. Leasing allows you to replace your fleet vehicles every few years. This reduces repair and maintenance costs by around 4.63 cents per mile. But for fleets that own their vehicles, preventative maintenance is just as effective.
A fleet vehicle inspection checklist keeps your fleet running without costly repairs. Below, we’ll break down what should be in your vehicle inspection checklist.
Creating a Company Vehicle Inspection Checklist
Extensive repairs can cripple your business. By now you know an auto inspection checklist can keep you on top of preventative maintenance. But where do you start? Should you have a daily vehicle inspection checklist? What items should be on an automotive checklist? Below are the items you should include in any fleet inspection.
What should be on your company vehicle inspection checklist:
- Body check
- Check frame and undercarriage condition
- Rust check
- Mirror check
- All exterior lights working
- Glass integrity
- Doors and windows operable
- Any leaks
- Fluids topped up (brake, steering, antifreeze, etc.)
- Basic engine check
- Replace windshield wipers if needed
- Oil change
- Oil filter change
- Tire pressure and tread
- Cooling and fuel systems check
- All belts and hoses in proper condition
- Transmission check (especially the mount)
- Brakes and rotors
- CV joints
- Rotate tires as needed
- Seasonal tire change
- Check seat and seatbelt integrity
- Heating, A/C, and defrost working
- Spark plugs
- Exhaust system
- Electrical system components
This is a basic rundown of items you should include on vehicle inspection sheets. You may consider breaking this down further. And vehicles with specialized equipment may have additional parts to check. Create daily fleet vehicle inspection checklists for your drivers. They should perform a check before every single trip. Then create more in-depth checklists for your in-house service department. These are quarterly checks that require the fleet vehicle to spend a day in the shop. It may sound drastic, but it’s necessary for your fleet risk management and for reducing costs to your fleet.
Implementing a Company Vehicle Checklist
Implementing a fleet vehicle maintenance checklist isn’t the easiest change. It takes time to develop and pass through approvals. It takes even longer to put into action and for the team to adjust to new standards. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to make the transition smoother.
Setting standards helps the team to adjust to changes. This is essential for items as important as a new vehicle inspection checklist. These standards inform team members of when these checks should occur. They describe how to carry out these checks, in what order, and within what time period. Set inspection intervals by either time, operational hours, or mileage.
One standard you should absolutely set is a pre-trip check. Before the driver begins, fleet vehicles should run through an inspection. This should start with a review of the vehicle inspection log from the previous day or trip. Any action items need attention before the trip. Once this is complete, the driver and manager verify the form and log it electronically.
At the end of each trip, the driver must fill out a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). They’ll record any issues they noticed during their drive. They’ll also record details on the safety and integrity of their vehicle. They should carry out a visual inspection of items such as body integrity, lights, horn, and more. If they have a telematics system, they should record any issues on the reports.
The Role Telematics Play in Vehicle Inspection
The average non-commercial driver doesn’t typically perform an inspection on their vehicle. They wait until their oil change light or check engine light comes on. They’ll get a tire rotation and top up their antifreeze because the mechanic said they should. But as a fleet manager, you know how many miles your drivers put on their vehicles. You know that preventive maintenance can help you avoid money-sucking repairs and vehicle downtime. You know you have to be vigilant to catch issues early. A vehicle checklist can help you stay on top of your preventive maintenance.
A simple electronic vehicle inspection log through telematics relieves some of the burden. It ensures inspection logs won’t get lost in the shuffle. These logs are easily accessible at any time through apps. In addition, your telematics system identifies issues as they arise. This is because telematics systems monitor vehicle diagnostics. They can pick up everything from low tire pressure to transmission problems. The system will then relay those issues to both the driver and manager. Telematics also offers:
- Vehicle inspection scheduling- alerts drivers when inspections are due
- Tracks odometer readings and other vehicle data
- Tracks & analyzes the trends in your fleet’s fuel consumption
- Monitors inspection integrity
- Provides drivers with inspection criteria
Azuga telematics systems offer fleet managers several benefits. These include fleet tracking, HoS reporting, ELD compliance, and much more. Learn more about how telematics can benefit your fleet company, at Azuga.