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    Fleet Maintenance: A Complete Guide

    vehicle inspection

    Fleet maintenance

    Fleet maintenance management software plays an integral part in reducing costs, maximizing revenue, and keeping your vehicles safe on the road. To optimize your fleet, preventative maintenance is key. Developing a fleet maintenance program can feel like a daunting task. But with the right information, processes, and software in place, it doesn’t have to be a headache. 

    What is fleet maintenance?

    When we talk about fleet vehicle maintenance, we’re mainly referring to preventative care. In an ideal world, all fleet maintenance tasks would be preventative. Things will inevitably go wrong from time to time, but with enough insight, it’s possible to build a vehicle maintenance plan that keeps your fleet in optimal condition while simultaneously reducing overall costs and helping to avoid surprises.

    Why is fleet maintenance important?

    Vehicle safety and availability are two of the most important factors that combine to drive efficiency, as breakdowns and unexpected repairs are more time-consuming and costly than scheduled maintenance. It’s essential to be proactive.

    Benefits of fleet maintenance software

    Benefits of a preventative fleet maintenance schedule include:

    • Improved safety and limited risk – Regular inspections keep your fleet and drivers safer on the road. 

    • Lower repair costs – Regular maintenance negates the need for large and more costly repairs like whole engine or vehicle replacements. 

    • Lower operating costs – Vehicles that run efficiently use less fuel and depreciate at a slower rate. 

    • Improved compliance – Keeping vehicles in top working condition means it’s easier to comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements and improve your Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) safety scores. 

    • Reduced downtime -  If your vehicles are not on the road, they are losing you money. 

    • Driver satisfaction – No driver likes to miss delivery deadlines or get stuck miles from home after a breakdown.  

    • Customer satisfaction – You can’t guarantee prompt and reliable service without keeping vehicles in good working order. 

    How to develop a fleet maintenance plan

    There are many variables that drivers and managers need to track to optimize their fleet maintenance schedule. But where to start? Here is our step-by-step guide on how to develop a plan for your fleet.

    1. Determine baseline metrics

    There’s little point in designing a fleet preventive maintenance schedule if you don’t have a clear overview of each vehicle’s current status. Start by collecting records for each asset, including:  

    • Purchase date

    • Inspection history

    • Maintenance history

    • Accident history

    • Mileage

    • Engine Hours

    2. Decide on maintenance intervals

    You’ll need to set a range of intervals for preventative maintenance based on each vehicle type. For example, the schedule and particulars of a truck maintenance program versus a car maintenance program will be quite different. 

    Other factors used to define maintenance intervals include:

    • Frequency of use

    • Last service date

    • Operating hours

    • Operating conditions

    3. Create a preventative maintenance checklist

    Your fleet maintenance checklist should include regular reports on the following the establish thresholds for when maintenance is needed:

    • Fluid levels

    • Fuel consumption

    • Tire wear

    • Brakes

    • Suspension

    • Cooling system

    • Odometer readings

    Once a vehicle reaches an agreed threshold, preventative maintenance should be scheduled to ensure timely replacement and servicing before more significant problems occur. 

    4. Implement a driver inspection and reporting system

    Your drivers know your vehicles better than anyone else and can spot symptoms before they become perceptible to others. Driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) are therefore vital in maintaining efficient truck maintenance schedules. Aside from the variables listed above, drivers can report on:

    • Cab interior conditions

    • Steering

    • Glass and mirrors

    • Exterior damage

    • Radio systems

    Types of fleet maintenance

    While it’s possible to manage information manually, the most effective fleet maintenance programs combine historical data with day-to-day diagnostic information to ensure maintenance tasks are scheduled rather than unexpected. 

    Investing in fleet management software allows you to automate processes, eliminate human error, and generate reports in a matter of minutes. It also allows for quick and efficient DVIR submission for ultimate efficiency and an up-to-date overview of your fleet. Real-time data logs help with administrative tasks too, like keeping track of warranty information and integrating new vehicles into the fleet.

    Examples of fleet maintenance

    • Automated maintenance scheduling – Minimizes vehicle downtime and ensures preventative maintenance is performed on time, every time. 

    • Maintenance logs – Data on the status of each vehicle gives technicians and mechanics the information needed to complete repairs faster. 

    • GPS tracking – Fleet vehicle maintenance tracking allows you to know  where all assets are at all times. This makes switching out vehicles easier if repairs are needed. 

    • Fuel tracking – With engine control module (ECM) software, you can track miles per gallon and pinpoint inefficiencies that require preventative maintenance. 

    • Troubleshooting - Integrating diagnostic trouble code software means mechanical problems are identified faster. 

    • Telematics - Risk detection and driver safety programs identify behaviors like hard acceleration and braking behaviors that contribute to increased maintenance costs. 

    In the competitive world of fleet management, reliability performance could be the difference between your business succeeding or failing. At Lytx, we specialize in providing affordable fleet maintenance software for businesses of all sizes to help maximize efficiency and drive down operational costs. 

    Lytx® Preventative Maintenance software tracks the status of every vehicle in your fleet, provides automated notifications, and helps you streamline all of your fleet preventative maintenance processes. Contact us today to find out more or schedule a demo.