Every successful fleet manager knows how important performing regular maintenance is. It prevents vehicle downtime, decreases maintenance costs, and gives you better control of your fleet. In order to get the most out of routine maintenance, you should be taking advantage of vehicle diagnostic tests.
Vehicle diagnostic tests can give fleet managers enhanced information about their vehicles. In this article, we will outline the benefits of vehicle diagnostics including early detection of issues, improving maintenance scheduling, and reducing the cost and time of vehicle maintenance. In addition, we will go over the types of vehicle diagnostics tools and the nine vehicle diagnostic tests your fleet should run regularly.
Benefits of Fleet Vehicle Diagnostics
Vehicle diagnostics can provide a wealth of benefits for your fleet. It can improve the productivity and efficiency of your preventative maintenance program. Performing regular vehicle diagnostics is something all fleet managers would be wise to do. Here are three of the top benefits of vehicle diagnostics.
Early Detection of Vehicle Issues
One benefit of vehicle diagnostics is it allows for early detection of issues with your fleet vehicles. Implementing regular vehicle diagnostics helps lengthen fleet vehicles’ lifespan.
Performing diagnostic tests on vehicles allows managers to detect problems earlier. This helps reduce the risk of early component failure which itself can cause expensive maintenance bills and vehicle downtime.
An example of successful early detection of issues via vehicle diagnostics would be noticing an improperly balanced injector which, if left unfixed, could cause wear in the cylinder and equipment failure down the line.
Improve Maintenance Scheduling and Planning
Fleet vehicle diagnostics tools permit the improved planning of large maintenance jobs. This is achieved through developing a record of component criterion that lets managers predict failure points. This information is often gathered and stored in fleet management software. Some fleets even utilize their vehicles’ GPS systems to schedule maintenance at a time that works with the vehicle’s route schedule.
Reduce the Cost and Time of Vehicle Maintenance
Performing diagnostic tests on your fleet vehicles helps you to accurately identify problems which lets you make effective repairs immediately. Vehicle diagnostic tests can reduce the parts, work requirements, and time required to maintain your vehicle.
Not only do diagnostic tests help reduce maintenance costs, but they also permit fleet vehicles to be more productive by reducing the time they require for maintenance.
Types of Vehicle Diagnostics Tools
Fleets have a few options to pick between when it comes to selecting the right vehicle diagnostics tool. There are basically three tools to choose from: handheld units, import tools, and professional-grade multi-brand tools.
Handheld units only read basic codes (for example SAE codes). They will generally not be able to read original equipment manufacturer codes. However, they give a fleet a basic idea of what’s going on with their vehicles. This sort of vehicle diagnostics tool costs around $500.
These vehicle diagnostics tools range in price from $2,000 - $4,500. They are easy to use and are completely self-contained units. They support a wide range of diagnostic error codes. However, they may lack the technical support required of a fleet.
Professional-Grade Multi-Brand Tools
This category of vehicle diagnostics tools is capable of almost everything that original equipment manufacturer software can do. These tools give fleets the same power as a dealer in terms of diagnostics. However, they are expensive with a price tag of $7,500 and up.
Online Vehicle Diagnostics
Vehicle diagnostics technology is advancing rapidly. Already there are vehicle diagnostics apps and the ability to perform online vehicle diagnostics. These systems let technicians diagnose a vehicle on the road just as well as they would if it was in the shop.
9 Vehicle Diagnostic Tests Your Fleet Should Run Regularly
Now that you understand how utilizing vehicle diagnostic tools can help your fleet, it's time to dig deep into the details and go over the tests your fleet should run on a regular basis. These diagnostic tests will ensure your vehicles are performing their best and help you catch issues before they turn into major problems that cost your business time and money. The nine vehicle diagnostic tests your fleet should run regularly are as follows.
1. Pressure Test
The pressure test checks the vehicle’s cooling system, hoses, coolant, antifreeze, and belts.
2. Test the Charging System
This test ensures the vehicle’s alternator can supply the rated voltage and amperage to its battery.
3. Voltage Drop Test
This vehicle diagnostics test ensures there is no resistance in the starting circuit (that could cause high temperatures) or broken circuits.
4. Starter Draw Test
This test makes sure the starter does not draw too much amperage from the vehicle’s battery (which can cause premature failure).
5. Cylinder Balance and Compression Check
A cylinder balance test ensures a fleet vehicle’s engine is balanced and performing well.
A compression check figures out the maximum pressure the cylinder in your vehicle can handle. Both these tests are vital to ensure a healthy engine.
6. Battery Check
This test makes sure a vehicle’s battery has a decent voltage and amperage capacity.
7. Primary Ignition Check
This vehicle diagnostics test checks the points and condenser in the fleet vehicle.
8. Secondary Ignition Check
This test checks the plugs, coil, distributor cap, and high-voltage wires in the vehicle.
9. Emission Control
This diagnostics test ensures that the fleet vehicle’s emissions meet regulation.
Vehicle diagnostics can greatly improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of your fleet. To learn more about making your fleet more efficient check out what Azuga has to offer. Our team is here to help boost productivity, improve safety, and save your company money.