Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Fleet Running

Effective preventive maintenance practices will help you achieve the all-important business objectives of saving time and money

Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Fleet Running

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Any mechanic will tell you that preventive maintenance will save you time and money. Even so, many contractors still come up short when it comes to fleet maintenance.

As a mobile mechanic, I have worked with a number of fleet managers to ensure their vehicles are running their best. Here are a few tips for making sure fleet maintenance is done regularly and in an effective manner.

Create a preventive maintenance schedule

Don’t wait until something breaks to fix it. One of the biggest problems I see with contractors is that they essentially wish we could fix the vehicle while it is driving down the road. I understand the sentiment since a vehicle off the road is not making you any money.

However, I recommend scheduling blocks of time for preventive maintenance. Regularly schedule in advance when to change fluids, change batteries or check on the oil. Many mechanics who work with fleets understand the business and will be willing to conduct jobs after or before business hours. Scheduling preventive maintenance during off-hours or during meetings will ensure your fleet runs properly without leaving your technicians short on vehicles to operate.

Record all maintenance work and inspect vehicles daily

Always keep an accurate record of when maintenance was done on any vehicle and make sure every technician inspects the vehicle they are using before taking it out on the job. Records should include when the last oil change was done and the last time tires were changed, as well as any other maintenance work.

Employees should inspect vehicles at least once per day. This inspection should come with a checklist that asks the employee to look at things such as proper tire pressure, engine, transmission, brakes, and windshield and glass condition. Technicians may not always be using the same vehicle every day and different people drive different ways. It is important that every employee check the functionality of vehicles every day because many different drivers using the same vehicle can cause all kinds of wear and tear that, if caught early, will not be an issue. 

You can track all maintenance work manually on paper or you can use a number of fleet management software programs.

It is also helpful to establish a couple of standard metrics on when maintenance should automatically occur. This means servicing all vehicles at a certain mileage or the number of hours the vehicle has been in operation.

Change batteries and check brakes more frequently

Fleet managers need to err on the side of caution when it comes to changing batteries and checking brakes. Many fleet managers only change a vehicle’s battery when it dies, but to be safe you should change the battery every three years even if it is functioning. The rationale for this is simple: You can save thousands of dollars in fleet management costs by doing maintenance ahead of time. You could change a battery when it dies, but then you lose money while an inoperable vehicle waits for a new battery. Why not change it ahead of time and save yourself some money in the long run?

Brake maintenance is another area where contractors sometimes fall short during fleet upkeep. I have seen companies lose thousands of dollars due to bad brake maintenance. I recommend having a professional come in and check the status of your brakes every three months. This scheduled maintenance could be the difference between having to simply pay for new brake pads or having to pay thousands to fix shot rotors and calipers.

Fleet maintenance is incredibly important and conducting maintenance properly and frequently can be the difference between your company making money one day and losing money the next. Working with your mechanic to create a preventive maintenance schedule and ensuring drivers conduct regular checkups on the vehicles they drive will go a long way in keeping your fleet on the road.

About the author
Matt Farnham is a mobile mechanic and owner of Auto Repair 2 You in Phoenix, Arizona. Auto Repair 2 You specializes in preventive maintenance options that keep vehicle fleets healthy.


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