As fleet managers know quite well, there are two main ways to maintain and repair vehicles: unscheduled repairs and scheduled checkups.
Of course, in a perfect world, all of the fleet maintenance would fall into the latter category, and thanks to this proactive approach, the vehicles would always be in ideal working order. But as you might have guessed, this world rarely exists, so it is wise to plan for unscheduled hiccups in the fleet vehicles’ schedules.
In order to stay on top of fleet maintenance and repair, and keep the vehicles and people who use them safe and productive, consider the following tips.
Make It Clear Who Is in Charge
As Zenduit.com notes, bosses and employees alike have a way of assuming that someone else is taking care of the fleet maintenance. This is why delegating this task and making it crystal clear who is in charge is so important — if no one ends up doing it and maintaining each fleet vehicle, breakdowns at the side of the road are far more likely to happen. As for who is in charge of fleet maintenance, that can vary — it can be the driver, the manager or an administrative assistant. It really doesn’t matter who handles the fleet maintenance; it just has to be clearly assigned.
Create a Detailed Fleet Maintenance Schedule
Now that you have someone in charge of the fleet maintenance, it’s time to give him or her a map of sorts to help this important task get completed. As Chevin Fleet notes, start by creating a regular fleet check up schedule, which will depend on both mileage and usage. For instance, if one of the fleet trucks tends to sit a lot, it might not need a monthly checkup, but if vehicles are on the road daily racking up thousands of miles, they need to be maintained quite regularly. This checklist can include things like checking the engine oil and filters, tires, brakes, making sure there is enough transmission fluid, the windshield is free of cracks and the interior and exterior lights are all in good working order.
Keep Basic Equipment on Hand
This is where the “unscheduled repairs” angle comes into play. Despite your best efforts at staying on top of fleet maintenance, there will be days when your employee runs over a nail in the road and gets a flat, or there will be some other type of mechanical breakdown. While in certain instances the vehicle may have to go off to the mechanic for repair, you and your team may be able to handle basic repairs yourself. For example, keep at least a few spare tires on hand, as well as quarts of oil and replacement headlight bulbs. You can also order small-yet-mighty parts like o-rings and keep them in the storage room; these parts are used in a number of automotive systems including the hydraulic and brake system, and in the coolant and engine oil compartments.
Stay on Top of Maintenance
Keeping your fleet vehicles well maintained and driving well is not an impossible task. It merely involves some solid delegating and organization, along with following a strict schedule for upkeep, as well as being prepared for the unexpected. By following these tips, your fleet will run like a well-oiled machine — literally and figuratively.