6 tips for managing your fleet’s maintenance

Did you know that fleet maintenance spend increased about 3-5% last year? While the numbers found by Automotive Fleet seem small, your fleet maintenance budget can often go faster and not as far as you think it will.

Keep your fleet’s operations running smoothly and under budget by making sure vehicles are properly maintained and in good working condition. Routine maintenance is essential to keep engines from overheating, brake pads from wearing out, and keeping tires inflated at the proper level. 

Routine maintenance also keeps everyone and schedule, extends the lifecycle of your vehicles, reduces the risk of failure or breakdown on the road, and improves fuel efficiency.

Make managing your fleet maintenance easier next year with a comprehensive maintenance plan and program.

Your fleet’s preventative maintenance program

1. Review policies

Review company vehicle use policies and maintenance policies with all employees. Communicate who is responsible for what when it comes to scheduled maintenance, unscheduled maintenance, repair requests, and taking care of servicing equipment.

2. Create a checklist of standard services

Run through a checklist of preventative maintenance (PM) services and safety checks during each inspection and routine servicing.

Checklist of preventative maintenance services performed:

  • Oil and filter
  • Brakes
  • Cooling system
  • Exhaust system
  • Fluids
  • Seatbelts and seats
  • Tire rotation and tire pressure
  • Wheels
  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Transmission and transmission fluid
  • Undercarriage
  • CV joints
  • Body, glass, and mirrors
  • Interior and exterior lights
  • Belts and hoses

3. Set a PM service interval

Set a schedule by vehicle miles, engine hours, fuel used, driver feedback, or just a regular set interval like monthly or bi-monthly.

Read the OEM’s recommended maintenance schedule and adapt as you see fit with how your fleet utilizes vehicles and how it operates in different seasons.

Take into account the vehicle’s operating conditions like:

  • Towing trailers or a heavy load
  • Excessive idling
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic
  • Vehicles used in a fleet pool with multiple drivers
  • Vehicles operating in off-road conditions

Over-utilized vehicles will need more frequent preventative maintenance and under-utilized vehicles can go longer between inspections.

4. Build up your automotive shop

Whether you create an in-house shop with your own professional technicians or outsource your fleet’s maintenance needs, you still need to have a good working relationship with your techs and good communication between the shop and management.

Set expectations, discuss service intervals, and any special requirements your vehicles have with your technicians. Pay close attention to the technicians’ expertise and quality of work, as well as keeping a close eye on PM services completed, breakdowns, repairs, and costs.

If you have your own shop, keep your maintenance techs safe and on schedule with quality equipment and safety gear like gloves, protective eyewear, and a well-ventilated space.

5. Update vehicle records 

Use your telematics or fleet management system to keep track of each vehicle’s maintenance history and use it to identify trends or problems, track warranty information, and manage costs.

Your fleet management software should be able to track:

  • Utilization percentage
  • Maintenance cost per unit
  • PM schedule compliance percentage
  • Downtime percentage
  • Cost of vehicle downtime

6. Driver training

Your drivers are the first line of defense and should be trained to identify vehicle problems or safety concerns to proactively reduce breakdowns and drive up driver productivity, efficiency, and asset utilization.

On their own, drivers should be checking:

  • Safety: Wipers, brakes, steering, horn, tire pressure, glass, body damage
  • Drivability: Engine problems, stalls, misfires, change in normal driving operations
  • Potential problems: Heater, AC, diagnostic codes on the dash, etc.

Drivers should inspect their vehicles before each trip and immediately alert their supervisor or maintenance staff of any issues they encounter.

Want to learn more about fleet maintenance and other ways to improve your fleet’s operations? Download our free guide: Improving productivity in your fleet!