Preventive Maintenance For Your Truck Fleet: Find Solutions Before the Problem

Posted - January 14, 2016

???An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.??? This insightful bit of wisdom not only applies your New Year’s resolution, but for truck fleet maintenance. Staying one step ahead of issues relies on getting equipment ready for inspection and road. Want to reduce costs and risk of breakdowns? Consistent maintenance from quality service centers can stop small problems to growing into extensive repairs. 

Preventive maintenance (PM) includes regularly scheduled service, inspections, and repairs to prevent potential problems to ensure maximized fleet productivity. Preventive maintenance manages vehicle breakdowns due to normal use, time on the road, and engine hours. Typical PM also includes adjusting, cleaning, installation as needed.

Creating a PM plan may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Initially, it does require extra time for examining and planning the fleet’s needs, but these initial investments can pay dividends long term. Preventive maintenance is a proven method for improving operational efficiency. Here is how:

Minimizes downtime and costly surprises

Equipment will fail. Vehicles will break down. Stuff happens. Before it cripples an operation, learn to embrace the unpredictable. This starts with anticipating common repairs. No customer or vendor wants to hear their shipment won’t arrive on time due to downed equipment. Avoiding issues before they start can save time and valuable customer reputation. Driver safety should also be a priority in maintaining a fleet in order to avoid accidents on and off the road. 

Increased fuel economy 

According to a study by the North American Council for Freight Efficiency, regular preventive maintenance for heavy trucks can increase fuel economy up to 10%. The review looked at the connection linking regular maintenance and fuel efficiency. The investigative team found the trucking industry in general has not been able to measure the fuel savings provided by a PM. As a result, some companies take a pass on investing resources for proactive planning. Yet the study found that fuel savings averaged 5% – 10% for fleets with PM. 

Improves business forecasts and planning

The fluctuating costs for parts and services can make it difficult to forecast business expenses. Part of designing a PM plan is sitting down and keeping track of these expenses in order to find how well each vehicle is operating. This can provide better insight into future costs by looking at where resources are going and adjusting as needed. Something as simple as creating an Excel spreadsheet can help keep this data organized and ready for analyzing. 

How to get started 

A solid PM plan should mean each vehicle should not have to take any trips to the shop outside of scheduled PM checks. So where to start? Begin with collecting every record for each of your vehicles and make a designated file for each unit. Create a PM checklist to see where each vehicle stands in terms of condition.  The Kansas Department of Transportation has a useful list available online for free.  Take vehicles that are behind on maintenance in for needed work. Make an annual maintenance budget and keep communication lines open between drivers, operators, and managers. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABefore starting PM, it is essential to have experienced team of specialists that support your business plans and goals. Whether your fleet consists of only one vehicle or over 10,000, CSTK has the fleet products you need to keep your vehicles on the road and running efficiently. All CSTK locations throughout the Midwest and East Coast offer service and parts

We offer installation, repair, and maintenance for:

We also have 24-Hour road call team available to serve your vehicle wherever you need service.

Making the decision to decrease fleet expenses begins with creating up-to-date records, tracking services, and keeping drivers in the communication loop regarding their equipment. If you need getting started on a preventive maintenance plan, contact us and we’ll help keep your operation running smoothly.