If you manage a fleet of trucks or other vehicles, overseeing maintenance isn’t just another task in your routine. Rather, it’s at the heart of everything you do.
In the short run, the best fleet maintenance schedules let your employees find and fix minor issues before they become expensive to deal with, or even dangerous. In the long run, vehicles that you regularly repair will perform better, last longer and use less fuel. In fact, with proactive maintenance, you might lower your company’s fuel costs by 10 percent or more.
Here’s some advice to help you make sure that your fleet’s maintenance procedures are as quick and efficient as can be.
1. Be Thorough
Your vehicle checkups must be exhaustive. Make a long list of every part that you want your employees to examine. They should include, but certainly not be limited to, the following items:
- Brakes and cooling
- Electric parts
- Transmission and transmission fluid
- Oil and filter
- Wheels and tires
- Suspension system
- Windshield wipers
2. Treat Your Drivers as Your First Line of Defense
Ask your drivers to tell you about any vehicle problems, large or small, as soon as they notice them. They shouldn’t feel embarrassed about reporting something that turns out to be a nonissue. This practice will save you money, as you’re sure to avoid some major malfunctions.
3. Engage in Vehicular Training
Train your drivers to know exactly how their trucks should operate. That way, they’ll be more attuned to irregularities. And each of your operators should be able to tell when something doesn’t look right under the hood.
4. Put Safety First
Your technicians should always operate in accordance with the industry’s highest safety standards, using such pieces of equipment as tire inflation cages, wheel chocks, gloves and protective eyewear. Likewise, the garages where they work need to be well-ventilated and equipped with emergency eyewash stations and showers.
5. Make a Detailed Schedule
After a while, you’ll figure out the best way to schedule your tuneups. You might do so on a biweekly, monthly or bimonthly basis. You could go by engine hours. You might want each vehicle looked at after it travels a certain number of miles or burns a certain amount of fuel.
Be sure to ask your drivers how often they think their vehicles should be looked at, and factor their input into your schedule.
6. Keep Meticulous Records
Always keep complete records of your maintenance schedules. After all, it’s easy to neglect a particular vehicle or waste your mechanics’ time by having them check the same truck more often than is required.
7. Use Software
If you don’t already have a digital record-keeping system, you should obtain high-quality software right away. Computer programs are much faster and much more efficient than paper records. They let you analyze data easily, and they can even predict problems.
By following these tips, your trucks will be as dependable as possible, and you’ll own a shiny, powerful fleet in which your entire staff can take pride.
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