No matter the season or what types of vehicles your fleet operate, it’s always important that you have a preventative maintenance program. This type of program ensures that your fleet is always in tip-top shape, and dramatically lessens the risk of sudden roadside emergencies. Preventative maintenance includes lubrication, vehicle inspections, cleaning, repair, testing, and more.
Even if you have the perfect preventative maintenance program, however, issues can arise. That’s why it’s vital to have a commercial roadside assistance plan on call if anything ever goes wrong (Encore Protection plans, for example). The good news is, just a few simple steps can save you money and keep your fleet ready for the long haul.
How to Develop an Effective Preventative Maintenance Program
There are two types of maintenance programs: proactive and reactive. Proactive maintenance programs include scheduled upkeep to stay ahead of any issues that may arise. However, reactive only addresses repairs and other issues after a breakdown has happened.
While proactive maintenance can be something of a nuisance, especially if you have a busy schedule, reactive maintenance is often much more costly.
In order to develop an effective preventative maintenance program, you should consider implementing the following:
- A preventative maintenance schedule to perform tasks
- A checklist of tasks to be performed (more on this below)
- Recording all inspections and complaints written by drivers, either manually or electronically
- A garage or other facility with trained technicians to perform maintenance, either on-site or nearby
What Should Be On Your Preventative Maintenance Checklist?
When your drivers and/or technicians are performing preventative maintenance, there are a few different items that should be on your list. These include checking:
- Oil levels and filters
- Fuel systems
- Transmission fluid
- Hoses and belts
- CV joints and driveshafts
- Cooling systems
- Electrical systems
- Steering and suspension
- Braking systems
- Wheels and tires
- Exhaust system
- Frame and undercarriage
- Lighting systems (exterior and interior)
- Mirrors and windows
- Windshield wipers
- Seats and seatbelts
- Fluid leaks
- Auxiliary systems
If any issues are present in these or other systems, the affected vehicles should be pulled from service and repaired. Even minor issues like cracked belts or hoses can lead to greater problems down the road that require emergency roadside assistance. So, it’s much easier (and cheaper) to, for instance, replace a cracked transmission fluid hose now rather than have the fluid all leak out and completely ruin the transmission.
Why Your Drivers Need to Be Involved
Your preventative maintenance schedule will likely see your vehicles being inspected by technicians every few weeks or so. But issues can arise more frequently than that. That’s why your drivers have to be involved in preventative maintenance. They will know before anyone if something is wrong with their vehicle and make a report for repairs.
While some systems can only be inspected when the vehicle is lifted, your drivers can monitor:
- The body of the vehicle, including the glass, mirrors, cleanliness and body damage
- The vehicle’s drivability, such as rough idles, grinding gears and misfires
- Vehicle safety items like wipers, the horn, steering, brakes and tires
- Miscellaneous items such as the heater and A/C, the radio and navigation systems
You should require your drivers to make written reports (or fill out forms) to show that they have checked these systems before, during and after each trip. You should also train your drivers to recognize any issues that could happen. Otherwise, potential problems may arise that lead to more costly repairs.
Buy Commercial Roadside Assistance for When Things Go Wrong
As we mentioned before, preventative maintenance will take care of most of the issues that could potentially arise in your fleet’s vehicles. But there will always be times where a sudden problem happens and causes your drivers to pull over and wait for roadside repairs. That’s why it’s important to always have a commercial roadside assistance program for your fleet.
At Encore Protection, we offer roadside assistance for all sorts of fleets, whether you operate a few delivery vans or hundreds of semi-trucks. Give us a call today at (844) 636-2673 or contact us online to learn more about our fleet roadside assistance programs.