Good fleet maintenance keeps your vehicles on the road and saves you from expensive repairs.
Great fleet maintenance benefits your bottom line over the long haul, optimizing fuel efficiency and extending the useful life of your vehicles for years.
Modern fleet maintenance is all about being proactive and anticipating breakdowns before they occur. With that in mind, here are eight fleet maintenance tasks your team needs to perform regularly.
What to include in your fleet maintenance checklist
1. Inspecting engines and fuel systems
Your team should regularly inspect all vehicle engines, fuel systems, brakes, and other main components. This isn’t just best practice; it’s required to maintain compliance with Department of Transportation regulations.
Other main components include:
Axles and CV joints
Hoses and connections
2. Checking cabin controls
Ensure that your team inspects your vehicles’ cabin controls to confirm they are in proper working order. Any issues in this area could compromise operations when your vehicles are on the road. Your fleet inspection checklist for cabins should include:
Air conditioning and heaters
Windshield wiper controls
3. Inspecting vehicle safety features
Ensuring the safety of your fleet drivers is your greatest responsibility. You can’t protect them if your fleet’s safety features are lacking. That’s why your fleet maintenance program should include regularly inspecting these elements, including:
You’ll also want to make sure every vehicle has a fully stocked first aid kit and roadside emergency supplies, such as jumper cables, flares, motor oil, coolant, and a tire pressure gauge. Each vehicle should include a blanket, bottled water, and non-perishable food, such as energy bars, in case a driver becomes stranded due to inclement weather.
4. Checking vehicle lights
Inspecting vehicle lights is another critical part of fleet maintenance checklist. Make sure your inspection includes:
5. Inspecting vehicle undercarriages
The unseen parts of your fleet are just as important to inspect and maintain. Be sure to check vehicle undercarriages for rust, corrosion, and any loose parts.
6. Checking vehicle fluid levels
Change oil in your vehicles regularly, based on your manufacturer’s recommendations. How often you need to change the oil depends on mileage and how each vehicle is being used. Diesel trucks used for heavy towing will likely need oil changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, according to Ford’s automotive maintenance recommendations.
Under normal conditions, diesel engines can typically run longer, but in general, you should not exceed 10,000 miles between oil changes.
In addition to changing oil, you should check other vehicle fluids, including:
Power steering fluid
Air conditioning coolant
7. Checking tire pressure and changing tires
Tire-related crashes caused 738 deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. Proper tire maintenance is an essential part of vehicle safety and efficiency. The NHTSA recommends checking tire pressure monthly and rotating vehicle tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. You should also replace tires if the tread is worn down to the minimum depth. (You’ll know if you can see the full head of a penny.)
Some vehicle manufacturers also recommend replacing tires every six to 10 years, regardless of age or tread wear.
8. Inspecting belts
Vehicle belts can become worn and even broken. Make sure yours are in good condition by regularly inspecting them.
How often vehicle belts need preventive maintenance or replacement will depend on your manufacturer’s guidelines.
How to manage fleet inspections and maintenance
Having all these tasks written out in a fleet maintenance checklist is a good start, but if all you have is a paper document, it will likely end up in your drivers’ glove compartments.
To hold your team accountable for fleet maintenance, you need a better way to assign each task and record its completion.
Fleet maintenance software makes it easy to keep track of all your preventive maintenance tasks. You can set up workflows for each task and assign them to the right team members or fleet technicians. They’ll receive automated notifications when it’s time to perform each task. And, if your fleet maintenance software includes a mobile app, they can get step-by-step instructions for each task anywhere.
You’ll also have a record of every completed task, along with vehicle mileage, fuel, and parts. This makes it easy to stay DOT compliant so you’ll never sweat another inspection.
Fleet maintenance software also gives you the actionable insights you need to optimize operations and extend the life of every vehicle.
You can see your fleet maintenance costs at a glance and know when it’s time to replace an aging vehicle. Or, if you notice your team is receiving more work orders for a specific type of vehicle, it might have a faulty component that was recently flagged in a vehicle recall.
Whether you have 10 vehicles or 1,000, a proactive fleet maintenance is essential. And with the right fleet maintenance software, it’s simple.