Linxup Blog

How to Protect your Fleet Vehicles from Unnecessary Breakdowns

By Jessica Stoddard Back to Home on Oct 11, 2016
Maintenance

Nothing brings a work day to a screeching halt like a blown tire or dead battery. Unnecessary breakdowns can have a significant impact on your fleet's overall productivity, especially if a vehicle must be taken out of service to undergo major repairs.

The key to preventing unnecessary breakdowns and maintaining your fleet's productivity is to establish a routine preventive maintenance schedule – and stick to it! In addition to keeping your vehicles in top condition, performing routine preventive maintenance will also extend your vehicles' lifespans, keep your drivers safe, and save you money.

Common preventive maintenance actions include:

  • Vehicle inspections
  • Lubrication
  • Adjustment
  • Cleaning
  • Testing
  • Repairing or replacing worn parts

Creating a preventive maintenance schedule

Creating and following preventive maintenance schedules for each vehicle in your fleet doesn't need to be difficult or time consuming. With features like maintenance reminders, tools like GPS tracking devices can help you and your drivers stick to your preventive maintenance schedules.

Here's how to create your own fleet maintenance schedule:

1. Get out your owner's manuals

Determining which maintenance to perform and when to perform it for every vehicle you manage can seem overwhelming. Rather than relying on personal judgment, anecdotal evidence, or driver recommendations, routine maintenance schedules should be based on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations. Your owner's manual is the best source of this information.

2. Determine which routine maintenance to perform

Your owner's manual will outline which routine maintenance you should perform to keep your vehicles operating smoothly and efficiently. Here are some of the most common routine preventive tasks:

  • Checking brake pads
  • Inspecting tires for wear and proper pressure
  • Topping up or replacing fluids
  • Replacing filters
  • Examining belts and hoses for damage and other signs of wear
  • Replacing windshield wipers
  • Checking battery levels, especially in warm or cold climates. Battery life is reduced when it's exposed to hot or cold temperatures for extended periods

In addition to inspecting the areas most commonly in need of repair, you may wish to include these areas in your preventive maintenance routine:

  • Fuel system
  • Cooling system
  • Engine and transmission mounts
  • Drive shafts or CV joints
  • Electrical system components
  • Braking lines/system
  • Steering and suspension system
  • Wheels and rims
  • Exhaust system
  • Undercarriage and frame
  • Lights
  • Body, glass, and mirrors
  • Windshield wiper & washer system
  • Horn
  • Seatbelts and seat structures
  • Auxiliary systems

Keeping your vehicles clean and tidy can also go a long way to increasing their lifespan. A dirty vehicle makes it harder to spot problems, so be sure to include regular cleaning as part of your routine maintenance schedule. Here's why:

  • Left untreated, dust and dirt from daily use can wear down and degrade the surface of your vehicles
  • Cleaning helps protect your vehicles from road salt, sun damage, and tree sap
  • Maintaining paint can impact your company's public image as much as it protects your vehicles from rust and corrosion
  • Clean vehicles create less drag, which makes them more fuel efficient!
Pro Tip: Include any regularly occurring tasks, such as license renewals and warranty expirations, in your regular maintenance schedule as well.

3. Create a routine maintenance schedule

In addition to noting which routine maintenance should be performed, your owner's manual will also indicate when to perform this maintenance

Preventive maintenance schedules can be based on miles driven or time passed. Some routine maintenance, like oil changes, will be based on miles driven. For maintenance that does not depend on mileage, try breaking your routine maintenance down into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annual and annual tasks.

Maintenance Schedule

Tools like Linxup GPS tracking can help you and your drivers manage routine maintenance. Learn more about how Linxup can help you maintain your fleet.

4. Enlist your drivers

Vehicle operators are more likely to notice subtle differences in vehicle performance, which makes them your first line of defense when it comes to avoiding unnecessary breakdowns.

In addition to reporting required repairs and issues with performance, your drivers should also routinely inspect their vehicles for damage and faulty parts. Once you've finalized your maintenance schedule, provide your drivers with a copy of the schedule and any other resources they may require, such as maintenance request forms, tips for performing maintenance, and what to keep an eye (or ear) out for when they're on the road.

Pro Tip:Provide your drivers with clear procedures to follow in the event that a breakdown does occur. Keeping an extra set of keys handy (but not stored inside the vehicle), repair kits, and basic training on things like how to change a flat tire can help you avoid unnecessary repair or towing costs. More tips to prevent fleet vehicle and asset theft.

5. Automate your preventive maintenance schedules

Maintaining a fleet of vehicles involves managing many moving parts – literally. With so much to keep track of, it's easy to forget to perform routine maintenance if your vehicles are performing well.

Maintenance Reminder

Linxup GPS tracking help your fleet stay on track by providing a build-in management system that allows you to create customized, automated schedules for each vehicle in your fleet. All you have to do is input your schedule by date, mileage, or hours of drive time, and you'll receive an automatic text or email notification when maintenance is due. You can also use Linxup GPS tracking system to keep detailed records of maintenance that have already been performed.

Learn more about tracking maintenance schedules using Linxup.

Keep your fleet in top condition

Performing routine preventive maintenance can help you reduce your fleet's operating costs, improve driver safety, and increase your fleet's productivity!