Preventive Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Posted by Annie | November 26, 2014 | blog
checklist

Fleet cleaning will definitely keep your vehicles looking good but how often are you completing preventive inspections? Fleet managers need to adopt the right approach that is based on the season, as well as on vehicle specifics.

Scheduling fleet maintenance ahead of time is the smartest approach because it enables an adequate reaction if an issue gets discovered. Becoming aware of smaller problems on time can prevent bigger repairs in the future that will come with significant costs.

If you’re looking for ways to introduce a fleet preventive maintenance program, the following checklist will acquaint you with the most important essentials.

Why Preventive Measures Are So Important?

Just like you take proper care of the vehicles in your fleet by opting for regular and professional fleet cleaning, you will also need to put emphasis on proper vehicle functioning.

The cost of monthly fleet preventive maintenance has decreased by 14 percent in 2013 on an annual basis, an Automotive Fleet report suggests. On the other hand, the failure to maintain vehicles in good condition could be much more expensive in the long run. Regular maintenance can improve fuel efficiency, protect the engine, extend its lifespan and make the vehicle safer on the road.

It’s also important to keep in mind that poorly-maintained vehicles can easily become the reason for a traffic accident. Finally, postponing the maintenance will obviously shorten the car’s lifespan since serious issues would be addressed too late.

Tips for Scheduling Fleet Maintenance

The fleet manager is responsible for the individual scheduling fleet cleaning and maintenance procedures. A number of maintenance tasks can easily be scheduled ahead of time, which will simplify the task and make the plan easier to adhere to.
Some preventive vehicle maintenance procedures that can be scheduled ahead of time include:

  • Cooling system inspections (every two years)
  • Brake inspections (every two years)
  • Tire pressure maintenance
  • Oil and transmission fluid changes (these will be needed at 3,000 miles for the oil and at 50,000 miles for the transmission fluid)
  • Visual inspections have to be performed before each trip

Keeping track of these maintenance processes is relatively easy and since they don’t need to happen simultaneously, scheduling the inspections becomes a relatively painless task. The use of a GPS fleet tracking service is a great option for tracking mileage and knowing when the time has come for vehicle fluid replacements.

Getting Vehicle Drivers Involved

The vehicle driver is the individual who is best acquainted to the functioning of the automobile or truck. This knowledge enables the driver to notice the first signs of problems.

Getting drivers actively involved in fleet maintenance processes is going to establish the first line of defense. Drivers should get in the habit of reporting about dashboard warnings, strange noises or the lack of vehicle stability on the road. Such signals need to be taken seriously to maximize fleet safety and efficiency.

The driver can be responsible for monitoring several different vehicle systems and parts. These include:

  • Brakes, steering and other safety system components
  • Body damage and cleanliness of the vehicle, driver can be responsible for scheduling fleet cleaning
  • Vehicle drivability items
  • Heater, ventilation and AC functioning

All of the vehicle operators should be informed about their preventive maintenance duties. Just like a fleet managers, they need to know when each inspection has to be performed, how to keep track of the results and what to do in the case of unusual circumstances.

Fleet Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Now that we’ve discussed why fleet maintenance is so important and how it should be organized, it’s time to take a look at the most important items to include in the fleet preventive maintenance checklist. The North Dakota Department of Transportation has come up with a pretty comprehensive fleet preventive maintenance list that can be used and implemented by every commercial fleet owner.

In essence, the following rules have to be kept in mind for the preventive maintenance to be efficient:

  • Daily inspections: the driver should be responsible for examining body damage, tire wear, tire pressure and fluid leaks.
  • Inspections to be performed every year: engine oil and filter replacements, battery terminal cleaning, other fluid level inspections (radiator, battery, transmission), light inspections and air filter replacements.
  • Inspections to be performed 10,000 miles: all of the annual inspections have to be made, plus tires on all light vehicles have to be rotated.

Interior features of the vehicle should be examined occasionally because these ensure the comfort of both the driver and the potential passengers. Some of the most common interior vehicle features that need to be examined include seatbelt functionality, AC system, window and door functioning, interior lights and overall cleanliness of the interior. If necessary, fleet cleaning will have to be scheduled.

Keeping Track of Fleet Maintenance Records

All of the preventive fleet maintenance records should be stored and organized. Going through the results of the inspections every now and then will provide useful information about the condition of the fleet.

Making informed maintenance decisions will depend on having a good idea about the most problematic issues that require the most attention. Analyzing the records could also be used to detect periodic failures and issues that seem to be affecting the fleet vehicles the most.

Data about fleet vehicle accidents, as well as emergency repairs should also be stored. You can easily come up with patterns, if you dedicate enough time to exploring the information and deciphering what it means in terms of fleet functioning, maintenance and costs.

Proper fleet maintenance involves numerous steps – basic body exams performed by the drivers, professional fleet cleaning, fluid changes and regular inspections by professional mechanics. Having a well-designed, practical schedule can help you save a lot of money and guarantee the wellbeing of your staff. Coming up with a preventive fleet maintenance checklist is far from an extremely complex task, as long as you’re willing to dedicate a bit of time to getting organized and delegating tasks.

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