Now is the time for fleet owners to finish their years strong. Leaning into a Holiday Fleet Maintenance checklist this time of year will help ensure a successful close to Q4. By implementing the strategies in this fleet management checklist, you can celebrate more this holiday season.
The holidays are a busy time for fleet managers and fleet drivers. That is why staying on top of vehicle maintenance each November is crucial. Whether it’s weather conditions, closures for the holidays, or an increase in fleet travel, there are plenty of variables to be aware of for Fleet companies.
Maintain Your Fleet For the Holidays
Having a well-maintained fleet for the holiday season can reduce costs long-term.
Make sure your fleet vehicles are inspected and checked for issues needing repair. During a high-demand period like this, cargo must make it to its destination on time–that’s our job.
Neglecting fleet maintenance can have serious repercussions. Failing on a holiday season delivery could jeopardize a vital relationship. Keeping a driver broken down on the road for the holidays will also impact employee retention. But following this Holiday Fleet Driver’s checklist will ensure your fleet business and your team keep on trucking.
Holiday Fleet Maintenance Checklist
Get ready for winter’s harshest conditions with these critical points in your vehicle inspections.
1. Regular Vehicle Check-up and Repairs
Regular inspections can check for the correct viscosity of motor oil. Viscosity measures an oil’s thickness and increases in winter months due to colder temperatures. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the recommended viscosity in freezing temperatures— the coldest your fleet may face.
Cold weather can also cause wear and tear on your vehicle’s belts, which could cause a vehicle to break down. Belt inspections will check for fraying or worn timing. It’s essential to catch problems and change belts before sending a vehicle into service.
Check fluid levels on engine coolants, power steering, brakes, windshield washer, and battery fluid. Also, be sure to clean your vehicle’s spark plugs. Consider replacing vehicle batteries older than three years and inspect wiper blades. Consider replacing them with heavy-duty blades that can break down tough ice buildup.
Ensure your vehicle’s lights function correctly, as turn signals and headlights are imperative in harsh weather conditions.
2. Tire and Brake Inspections
Tire inspections considering the weather can help protect against snow and ice. Winter tires provide better traction in icy or snowy conditions.
Likewise, slippery road conditions mean brakes are a priority. Test them for effectiveness in harsh conditions and change them if they’re making noises when in use, vibrating when pressing the pedal, leaking fluid, or emitting a burning smell.
3. Winterizing Your Fleet
Performing these routine checks before sending fleets out into wintery conditions will give you a good idea of what needs to be cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
Other routine tasks, such as lubricating door locks, weather stripping, and window tracks, protect against freezing water and prevent drivers from getting into or out of a vehicle. Be sure to check the hood lifts, as freezing temps can cause them to stop working, so they may need replacing ahead of cold weather. Similarly, cabin air filters become clogged over time, reducing airflow, stressing the blower motor, and ultimately overheating the blower motor resistor.
Finally, ensure each driver/vehicle is stocked with a winter emergency kit if something happens on the road. When properly equipped, your fleet will be better off in a winter breakdown, especially in a remote location. Essentials include:
- A flashlight
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit
- First aid kit
- Cell phone charger
- Cat litter (helps regain traction on ice)
- Portable heater
4. Implementing Fleet Tracking
With what seems like so much to do in preparation for winter weather, it may feel like it’s tough to track all of that for all the vehicles in your fleet. While this may be true, you don’t have to go it alone. Implementing fleet tracking can help stay on top of maintenance and ensure it’s on-time completion.
Avoid forgetting a critical inspection with fleet tracking alerts and reminders to take the guesswork out of it.
Benefits of Winter Vehicle Preparation
The benefits of winterizing fleet vehicles are many. Being prepared can enhance safety and improve performance during the cold season. Keeping drivers and cargo safe is paramount during the busiest time of the year, so preparing in the fall months is ideal. Considering cold, harsh weather conditions before they hit will help your fleet avoid missed deadlines or worse, accidents.
Seasonal fleet upkeep involves regular maintenance routines like inspections, tire checks, oil changes, brake checks, and engine and battery tests, among other things. These tasks differ per season, and during winter, ensuring the vehicles' heating systems function properly is crucial, in addition to running smoothly in harsh winter weather conditions.
Winter vehicle preparation includes checking the battery, the cooling system, tires, wipers, defrosters, and oil. Additionally, it is essential to ensure the car's heating system is working well, to have a survival kit including items like a blanket and shovel in case of emergencies, and to keep the fuel tank half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
Stay on top of all of this and more with fleet maintenance. Azuga’s fleet maintenance factors in seasonality, making it a preferred choice among fleets on the road today. Learn what we can do for your fleet.