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What is fleet maintenance?

Fleet maintenance

Fleet maintenance is the process of keeping your vehicles operating in a good enough condition so that they are safe, reliable and can stay on the road longer. Developing a preventative maintenance program is an integral part of managing a fleet and helps businesses reduce operating costs and improve vehicle inspection outcomes, among other benefits.  

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Your vehicles are one of your fleet’s top investments. Taking proper care of them is integral to managing a productive business. Without a proactive approach to fleet maintenance, you risk compromising your employees’ safety, failing compliance inspections and paying for costly emergency repairs and unplanned downtime. That’s why the health of your vehicles can be a good overall indicator of the health of your business.

How can fleet maintenance help extend equipment’s lifespan?

Getting the most out of your vehicles means being vigilant about preventative maintenance. It’s been shown that proper maintenance extends equipment’s longevity – for example, keeping tyres at the proper pressure and rotating them regularly increases their mileage. 

A good place to start is following the service schedule provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer, but keep in mind that depending on your fleet’s needs, you may need to get your vehicles serviced more frequently than what the manufacturer recommends. GPS fleet tracking software helps managers stay on top of maintenance schedules by automatically tracking metrics like distance travelled, fuel use and engine hours, making it easier to know when each vehicle is due for repairs. This allows them to plan their asset use, budget and staffing wisely, preventing wasted time and wages. This also helps vehicles stay in good working order for longer periods of time, boosting the equipment’s ROI. 

How can regular fleet maintenance reduce overall repair costs? 

Not only does routine maintenance help detect any problems before they become serious, over time it saves your business money. How? While you may think getting vehicles serviced constantly would be a drain on your budget, it’s less costly over time than delaying service until a problem arises – you’ll pay less for frequent oil changes than you would to replace a whole engine, for example. 

When a vehicle experiences a major technical problem, it always means losing money over and above what the repairs cost. If even one of your vehicles must be taken off the road for an extended time for extensive repairs, the resulting unplanned downtime means wasted wages and delayed loads, both of which impact the bottom line. 

Maintenance features in GPS fleet management systems provide reports outlining detailed information on the status and condition of every vehicle across your fleet, alerting managers to potential problems so they can be addressed before becoming serious. 

How can regular fleet maintenance reduce operating costs and improve fuel savings? 

Here’s another reason to keep up with routine maintenance: neglected equipment means higher fuel costs. A poorly-maintained engine can consume up to 50% more fuel, and under-inflated tyres may reduce life by as much as 10%, also contributing to wasted fuel. After implementing Teletrac Navman’s DIRECTOR software, which monitors tyre pressure and alerts managers to when maintenance is required, Rogers Transport saw a fuel saving of $25,000 per annum. 

Following organised maintenance schedules also means vehicles stay in prime working condition longer, increasing their resale value. In addition, buyers are likely to pay more for a vehicle they know has been well-maintained, so it’s important to keep thorough records of every oil change, tire pressure adjustment, etc. done to your vehicles if you plan to sell them. 

Learn how to reduce fuel consumption in your trucks »

What role do drivers play in fleet maintenance?

As the people who interact with your vehicles the most, drivers have a critical role to play in fleet maintenance. It’s important to train them thoroughly on how to conduct pre- and post-journey daily inspections not only to satisfy compliance requirements (such as Chain of Responsibility or NHVAS), but also so drivers learn to identify warning signs that something may be wrong and detect problems early. 

Using Teletrac Navman's vehicle and driver checklist solution, driver's are able to easily complete and submit daily vehicle inspections via an in-cab device. The device electronically details pre- and post-trip inspections and automatically sends a digital report to fleet managers, alerting them to any potential issues in real-time so they can plan appropriate servicing. 

How can fleet maintenance improve vehicle inspection outcomes?

Truck fleet maintenance improves your standing with the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) as well. The National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) was first offered to industry in 1999 as an alternative compliance scheme. It has since evolved as a formal process for recognising operators who have robust safety and other management systems in place. It is also increasingly being used to show compliance with general duty requirements under road transport law. Operators accredited in the Maintenance Management module must maintain their vehicles and comply with all relevant road transport legislation.  Some jurisdictions require annual inspections as part of the registration process, but grant exemptions to vehicles with maintenance management.

Keeping up with this level of daily paperwork is difficult, can be time consuming along with the fact that it can often be lost or misplaced. With an automated system to complete your vehicle checklists before the driver commences their journey, staying compliant and completing audits becomes a simple process.

If you're not keeping up with fleet maintenance schedules can be costly, it more ways than just monetary. Companies with poor compliance practices can result in fines and grounding of vehicles from violations as well as the chance they are far less likely to be hired, damaging their business beyond the money they already lose paying for serious repairs and downtime. It’s also important from a liability perspective, as if there are underlying equipment problems detected in a post-accident investigation, companies may get ruled against for negligence. 

Conclusion

The benefits of GPS fleet tracking extend far beyond helping managers plan efficient routes or recording drivers’ work and rest hours; a complete telematics solution includes engine analytics that play a crucial role in staying up-to-date with fleet maintenance. In addition to monitoring vehicle metrics like axle weights and tyre pressures, they can help keep track of maintenance and diagnostic reports, providing insights from data that would otherwise be hard to track manually. They also alert you to when service is due, either through automatically tracking service intervals via date or odometer, ensuring you don’t miss a service. Furthermore, based on diagnostic information, managers can recognise the symptoms of equipment failure in advance and plan services accordingly to prevent situations from getting worse, saving fleets significant money that would otherwise be lost to costly repairs and extended downtime.  

 

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