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Tips for Proactive Fleet Maintenance

by Troy Searle,
Feb 28, 2022
logistics driver embarking on a departure, ready to transport goods efficiently
logistics driver embarking on a departure, ready to transport goods efficiently

How to take the headache out of fleet maintenance

Not keeping up with fleet maintenance can be a painful task. Issues come up when you least expect it, majorly disrupting your day. It can also be really expensive. 

Sudden repairs. Ensuring compliance. Keeping all regos up to date. Is the insurance due? 

It’s hard. But it’s easier if you can be proactive and use a preventative maintenance schedule to stay on top of things. Here’s how you can do that.

What is fleet management?

Put simply, fleet management is all of the things that you do to adequately look after your fleet. It’s not just things like vehicle servicing and repairs, but the admin that surrounds that too.

Your fleet is the backbone of your operation. It doesn’t matter how efficient your route is or how connected your team is, if part of your fleet fails then you’re up for large costs and potential delays. Let alone the risk to your staff.

It’s important to get this right. 

Fleet management can be reactive or proactive. Reactive maintenance is the type of maintenance management that reacts when something happens, so it occurs when a vehicle isn’t performing properly. Proactive maintenance, or preventative maintenance, uses a regular maintenance schedule instead of reacting to vehicle failure.

Most transport businesses will use a combination of both of these. It makes sense to plan ahead in order to prevent problems, but you also need to react when something goes wrong.

Proactive fleet maintenance and effective prevention is a lot easier with a reliable schedule and the right vehicle check tools. So, let’s look more closely at that.

Why use a proactive fleet maintenance schedule?

There are plenty of reasons to be proactive with your maintenance schedule. Some benefits are obvious, and some might surprise you.

Reduce your repair costs

Sudden repairs eat up large chunks of your budget, don’t they? Checking over your vehicles regularly will minimise the risk of needing major repairs. So instead of waiting until you need to replace parts or even whole vehicles, invest in a regular fleet maintenance schedule.

Extend your vehicle life

When you’ve invested a lot of money into purchasing your fleet, you need them to last as long as they can. Accounting for wear and tear instead of waiting for things to break down will mean you don’t push your vehicles beyond their limits. 

A regular maintenance schedule means you can identify issues before they become a major problem which shortens the lifespan of your vehicle. 

Keep your drivers safe

Lowering the likelihood of major vehicle repairs being needed also lowers the risk that your drivers shoulder every day. If the vehicle fails, it’s too late to keep your drivers safe. 

Relying on a proactive schedule to prevent accidents happening is the only way to really be sure your drivers are as safe as they possibly can be.

Increase your fleet’s availability for runs

This one’s pretty obvious, but the less time a vehicle spends getting major repairs, the more time it’s available for tasks that bring in money. Minimising major repairs with regular short maintenance will increase the overall time spent on the road. You’ll increase the amount of jobs you can deliver and reduce cost per delivery.

Lower your operational costs

Regular smaller maintenance work costs you less in the end than waiting for vehicle failure. Using software like TransVirtual allows your drivers to perform these checks as a regular part of their routine. It’s both safer and more cost effective.

Vehicle maintenance checklist

It’s clear by now that staying on top of your fleet maintenance (being proactive) is the safest, easiest and most cost effective way to go. Let’s look at how exactly you do that. What goes into a proactive fleet maintenance routine?

  • Fluids. From under-truck leakage, to engine oil, brake fluid and more, keeping your truck fluids clear will: minimise wear and tear, improve driving quality and overall performance.
  • Brakes. Performance brake maintenance requires specific training. You can include this as part of your driver training program so that all of your drivers can contribute to proactive maintenance.
  • Tires. Tires are absolutely vital, and particularly vulnerable to damage. From checking tire pressure to making sure nothing has wedged in their surface, regular maintenance helps protect your assets.
  • Wiring. Proactive wiring maintenance means staying on top of every part of wiring, not just the obvious things like battery, starter and alternator. Consider parts such as your wipers and headlights too. It’s the small details here that will save you hours of downtime later.
  • Emission control. While not every business can become carbon-neutral overnight, emission control is an increasingly important consideration for the transport industry. Consider things like: diesel exhaust fluids, diesel particulate filter and catalytic reduction systems. Proper maintenance here will mean consistently better emission control.

How to use TransVirtual to avoid commercial truck repair

Using a Transport Management System like TransVirtual, you can easily schedule and implement a proactive management program. Following the program is easy with automated notifications to keep everybody on track. 

You’ll protect your assets and drivers, and reduce the impact of sudden major repairs. 

So how does it work, exactly?

Final thoughts

Being proactive (instead of reactive) with your fleet management is the best way to maintain your fleet safely and efficiently. Using a program like TransVirtual to automate notifications, enable complete visibility and give your drivers pre-start checklists to use means one thing: you can be reassured that your entire team is staying on top of what’s needed.

If you’d like to find out more about how TransVirtual can help your business, book a free personalised demo or give us a call on 1800 975 305. We’re always here to help.