Downtime due to vehicle problems is one of the worst things that can happen to a company that relies on fleets to deliver their product or service. Fleet management software provider Element says that a fleet can lose up to $760 per vehicle in a day. This is on top of expensive repair costs you have to pay for.
While breakdowns and accidents are common causes of downtime, inspections from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) can also deem your vehicles unworthy of the road. There were over 2.2 million truck inspections and 100 thousand bus inspections in 2018. Over 21% of the trucks and 6.5% of the buses inspected were put out of service. This meant that some companies had to deal with losing productivity because they had to bring in their out-of-service vehicles for repair. To ‘rub salt on the wound,’ they also had to pay a penalty fee.
To keep your vehicles in tip-top shape, you should do your best to mitigate these problems through proper maintenance. A survey from Element found that fleet cars that underwent a preventive maintenance strategy experienced 20% fewer downtimes compared to those that didn’t.
Here’s what you need to do to come up with a solid maintenance plan.
Keep it Scheduled
Reacting to breakdowns or out of service sanctions with immediate repairs will only waste time and money. Come up with a regular schedule for vehicles to come in for maintenance. Systematic inspections and spot checking can help you identify and fix small problems before they worsen.
Whether it’s a tow truck light replacement or a full-blown overhaul, you should cooperate with a trusted repair and maintenance shop to give your fleet proper treatment. Make sure you or a manager is present during the maintenance process so problems can be listed down. This way, you can see trends (if there are any) of common issues that your vehicles keep facing.
Educate Your Team About It
Your drivers should also be with you when the vehicles are being serviced. This allows them to speak with technicians and point out possible problems that they experience while using the car. If it’s possible, you should also invite experts over to educate your employees about basic diagnostic and repair methods. This way, the drivers can report issues immediately.
Retrain Your Drivers
Apart from monitoring issues, drivers should also be retrained about proper driving techniques. They may be braking too harshly or rushing over speed bumps. These seemingly small habits are problematic in the long term health of your fleet vehicles. Ask your local driving school if they can send someone over to give your employees a refresher course.
Your fleet is the core of your business. Every vehicle should be in pristine condition so you can provide the best service you can to your customers on time. Healthy vehicles also keep your drivers safe from any accidents on the road caused by malfunctions. Schedule a maintenance session as soon as you can and give your drivers all the training they need.