Your fleet of vehicles (trucks, vans or trailers) are some of the most valuable assets in your building and construction business. Even if your fleet has only two or three vehicles, managing to keep them running efficiently is very important.
To keep everything running smoothly, a fleet maintenance checklist is just what your business needs. From scheduled maintenance to safety checks, this article will outline what your checklist should consist of and how fleet management can help.
What Is Fleet Management?
Fleet management refers to everything you can do to ensure the fleet is always working smoothly on time and within budget. It covers everything from procurement and dispatching to vehicle maintenance.
Vehicle maintenance is a big part of fleet management. Proper fleet care can help ensure the vehicles are reliable and it extends their lifespans, giving you more value for your investment. Fleet vehicle maintenance is particularly vital in the construction business, where vehicles see regular heavy use.
When creating a fleet maintenance schedule, remember that most tasks will have their own timeline. For instance, an engine oil change is only needed after the vehicle has covered a specific mileage. But some practices, such as rotating tires, have no definite timeframes. So, you need an inspection and maintenance schedule that works around all the different practices.
Fleet maintenance is all about ensuring that every vehicle performs optimally, not necessarily doing repairs. Here are 8 basic vehicle upkeep practices that you can apply to your fleet.
Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
Once you know the timeline of most maintenance tasks, you can create a checklist for your business to follow. You may need an automotive expert and specialized equipment to handle some of the more technical tasks. But your employees can manage many of the tasks such as changing fluids and testing basic vehicle functions.
Here’s a comprehensive vehicle maintenance checklist for ensuring optimal fleet health and performance at all times.
1. Fluid Levels
Essential fluids deplete or degrade as the vehicle continues to be used. Be sure to check the qualities and levels of the following fluids to help avoid future issues.
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Transmission and differential fluid
- Power steering oil
- Wiper fluid
- Antifreeze solution
2. Engine, Transmission and Exhaust
Check the entire drivetrain for component wear and tear. Focus on the mechanical parts listed below that are prone to degrading. This will help catch small problems before they become bigger.
- Engine spark plugs
- The gearbox and differential
- Power steering
- Engine cooling system
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3. Wheels and Tires
It’s important to inspect wheels often, as they receive a large amount of wear and tear. This can include checking the hub, rim balance and worn bearings. Tires come with a manufacturer-rated expiry date, which can help you determine if it’s time for new tires. It’s also important to check the tread of the tires. Low tread can mean less grip, which is dangerous in poor weather conditions.
4. Chassis and Body
Be sure to examine the general state of the vehicle’s structure and body. You may be unaware of any body issues at the time they happened. Taking care of dents and scratches early can help prevent rust or further chipping. The general places to check are listed below.
- Body panels and fenders
- Doors, windows and tailgates
- Underrun protection
- Bumpers and grilles
- Cargo haul
- Wheel axels and undercarriage
5. Braking System
In addition to checking the brake fluid level, it’s important to examine the braking system. This can include brake pads/shoes, disks/drums, the pedal linkage and braking response.
6. Couplings, Plumbing and Belts
Ensure joints are firmly coupled and sufficiently greased. Check for worn or loose drive belts on the alternator, starter motor and cooling fans. Thoroughly inspect all plumbing systems, including hydraulics, for leaks, clogs, overflows or choked filters.
7. Electrical systems
Check that all electrical systems and accessories are working correctly. In more modern cars, a faulty electrical system can affect the entire performance of a vehicle. The electrical systems to check are listed below.
- The battery
- AC system
- Horn and back-up alarm
- Vehicle tracking sensors
- Speed limiter
8. Drivability and Safety Checks
Inspect every vehicle’s safety, comfort and drivability features often. These may not necessarily affect the vehicle’s performance but could have a significant impact on the driving experience and safety. This is important for anyone who sits in your fleet. Here is a list of checks to include.
- Driver aids (cruise control, warning systems, parking sensors, etc.)
- Antilock brakes
- Cabin customization features, such as adjustable driving position
- Climate control
- Assisted road visibility
- GPS and navigation system
Fleet vehicle maintenance should be high on your business’s priority list. While it does involve a variety of things to check, it will help your fleet’s longevity which directly reflects on your bottom line.
Couple this checklist with a regular vehicle maintenance routine to keep your fleet in top shape.
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