The average yearly cost of fleet maintenance is $5,000 to $8,000 per vehicle. Do you know what your yearly fleet maintenance cost is?
If not, you are probably lacking in maintenance and spending more than you should.
There are a few things you can do to get on track though. So let’s go over eight ways you can improve the maintenance of your small business fleet.
1. Preventative Maintenance Checklist
Start your fleet maintenance program by creating a maintenance checklist and obtaining service repair manuals for each of the vehicles in your fleet. This will ensure that everything that needs to be done will get done.
To help you get started, make sure your checklist includes these things:
- Tires, rims, and wheels
- Oil changes
- Check and change other fluids as needed
- Checks for the major systems (engine, transmission, exhaust, braking, auxiliary)
- Exterior and interior lighting
- Check and change the belts and hoses
- Check for leaks
- CV joints
- The cabin comfort controls
- Undercarriage and frame
- Seat belt, horn, and any other safety mechanisms
Have a rotating schedule for your vehicles so that you don’t have too many out of service at a time.
2. Know the Real Cost of Ownership
We mentioned at the beginning of the article the yearly cost of maintenance, but that isn’t the total cost of ownership. You also need to factor in the manufacturer warranties. Then there are the daily use expenses such as insurance and fuel.
Pay attention to the increasing maintenance costs as the vehicles in your fleet age. At a certain point, the residual value of the asset becomes less than the increasing maintenance costs and repairs.
When you pay attention to this data, you can determine the optimal time to sell a vehicle in your fleet and replace it with a new one.
3. Research Vehicles Fully
Before you buy any vehicle for your fleet, you need to do your due diligence. When you fully research, you can buy the ideal vehicle for each job in your company.
A vehicle that has specifications that don’t meet demand will get overworked. This will increase your maintenance and repair costs down the road.
Buy a vehicle that has specs over what you need, and you’ll pay more for a vehicle than you need. That’s increased costs and underutilized resources.
4. Educate Your Drivers
Your drivers are the ones who use your vehicles every day, so educate them on your company policies. They should be aware of your policy on maintenance and the schedule you have in place for each vehicle.
They should also know the policy on what to do if their vehicle needs maintenance and repair. Don’t forget to also have procedures in place for if one of your fleet vehicles is involved in an accident.
5. Always Check Tire Pressure
When a vehicle’s tires are not at the right inflation, it causes a host of negative effects. This includes reduced performance, ride, and fuel economy. It also causes uneven and increased tire wear.
All of these things will cost you more money. You’ll have to buy new tires sooner. You’ll have increased fuel costs. Then there is the maintenance and repair on the suspension.
6. Get Close to Your Maintenance Provider
When you have a fleet of vehicles to maintain, you can’t be running to your local auto supply store. This is a waste of valuable time and not cost effective.
Instead, partner with a company that can provide you with a suite of services. This could include new vehicles, vehicles rentals, or parts. Looking for an example of such a company? You can view here for more information.
Having a relationship with your maintenance provider means you’ll have a greater level of service. If there are any setbacks during repair and maintenance, they can work with you to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.
This minimizes the downtime your vehicles experience. Less downtime means increased productivity which leads to greater customer satisfaction.
7. Have One Person in Charge
When there isn’t anyone designated as responsible, everyone assumes someone else will take care of it. This is a bad strategy when it comes to fleet maintenance. The result is that the required maintenance never happens.
Designate one person who will track the preventative maintenance checklist for each vehicle. This person will be able to develop that close relationship we talk about in the last tip. When there is one point of contact, there is less confusion and miscommunication.
8. Embrace Technology
If you aren’t already using one, start using a fleet management system. This program will automate a lot of the tracking that is required. You can program it to send you automatic reminders when required maintenance is necessary.
This will reduce the overhead cost of having someone manually manage the system. It also makes managing depreciation and vehicle replacement easier.
The software you choose should also be able to track mileage and spending. You can also look for a system that provides vehicle tracking. Then you can have live updating from the individual vehicles to the main system.
Create Your Fleet Maintenance Program
If you are aren’t using these tips for your fleet maintenance, then you are losing money. Skipping regular maintenance on your fleet vehicles results in increased wear and tear. Then, you face replacements costs sooner.
So what are you waiting for? Start by getting the manuals you need to know what maintenance is required. Then start sourcing management software and parts and service suppliers.
From there, make sure you know how to control your fleet maintenance costs by reading our post.