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Proper vehicle maintenance can take two main forms – scheduled and unscheduled.

In the same way that a regular health checkup can detect and fix minor medical problems before they become big ones, proper scheduling and preventive maintenance of your fleet can save your organisation a lot of time and money in the long run.

Make an effort to take on board these five handy tips to help keep your pool of vehicles running smoothly right into 2020 and beyond.

1. Develop a comprehensive maintenance checklist for your vehicles

The checklist of every organisation will vary, but the following is a comprehensive list of things within your vehicles that you ought to be keeping an eye on. Having a checklist like this means that small niggling issues can be fixed before they become a larger widespread problem.

  • Engine oil and filter changes
  • Transmission fluid
  • Fuel system
  • Cooling system
  • Engine and transmission mounts
  • Drive shafts or CV joints
  • Belts and hoses
  • Tune-ups
  • Electrical system components
  • Braking system
  • Steering and suspension system
  • Tires, wheels, and rims
  • Exhaust system
  • Undercarriage and frame
  • Exterior and interior lights
  • Body, glass, and mirrors
  • Windshield wiper system
  • Horn
  • Seatbelts and seat structures
  • Fluid leaks
  • Auxiliary systems

2. Get your drivers to take action

How will your drivers make you and your team aware of problems that may need potential maintenance? It is always worth remembering that your drivers are the first point of call to prevent unexpected breakdowns and repairs.

Make sure you have a thorough reporting process in place to ensure your team communicate problems that may need addressing. It may also be worth training your drivers to monitor basic vehicle safety items such as tires, brakes, steering, etc. to ensure nothing gets missed.

3. Try to develop a schedule that works for your fleet

Do you have a plan for when preventive maintenance should take place? Many fleets may follow kilometres travelled, engine hours, fuel usage or calendar time as their typical guide to create a schedule, so find something that works for your individual needs and stick to it.

Over a period of time of tracking breakdowns, jumpstarts, tows and emergency repairs you may detect patterns that may force you to make adjustments to your schedule.

4. Take advantage of technology

Tracking and entering your data manually is time-consuming and tedious no matter how small the fleet size. Automating this process through telematics allows a more efficient method for compiling reports, which allows you to make faster and better decisions about how to best optimise and maintain your vehicles.

Being able to track individual driver performance can also be a great way to examine your drivers’ performance so that you can provide regular feedback and make long-term recommendations across your entire fleet.

5. Go online for additional details about fleet maintenance schedules

Making use of online resources is a fantastic way to improve your overall fleet knowledge. The AfMA website features a tailored fleet management guide for members, which can be accessed here when logged into the site.

This comprehensive guide looks to compile the most important of business activities in a system format, a collection of interrelated tasks and activities taking place in a legislative, business and social context and environment. Make the time to consider other resources online as well, there is a wealth of information out there for fleet managers.

The time you spend now to develop a proper preventive maintenance plan for your fleet can save your company a considerable amount of time in the future. Think of the bigger picture when it comes to your fleet – your vehicles and drivers will thank you for it in the long term.