Home: GPS Tracking Benefits: Telematics Glossary: What is fleet maitenance

What is fleet maintenance?

Fleet maintenance

Fleet maintenance is the process of keeping your vehicles operating in a good enough condition so that they are safe, reliable and can stay on the road longer. Developing a preventative maintenance programme is an integral part of managing a fleet and helps businesses reduce operating costs and improve vehicle inspection outcomes, among other benefits.   

Learn more about fleet maintenance »

Your vehicles are one of your fleet’s top investments. Taking proper care of them is integral to managing a productive business. Without a proactive approach to fleet maintenance, you risk compromising your employees’ safety, failing FMCSA inspections and paying for costly emergency repairs and unplanned downtime. That’s why the health of your vehicles is a good overall indicator of the health of your business.

How can fleet maintenance help extend equipment’s lifespan?

Getting the most out of your vehicles means being vigilant about preventative maintenance. It’s been shown that proper maintenance extends equipment’s longevity – for example, keeping tires at the proper pressure and rotating them regularly increases their mileage. 

A good place to start is following the service schedule provided by the vehicle’s manufacturer, but keep in mind that depending on your fleet’s needs, you may need to get your vehicles serviced more frequently than what the manufacturer recommends. GPS fleet tracking software helps managers stay on top of maintenance schedules by automatically tracking metrics like mileage, fuel use and engine hours, making it easier to know when each vehicle is due for repairs. This allows them to plan their asset use, budget and staffing wisely, preventing wasted time and wages. This also helps vehicles stay in good working order for longer periods of time, boosting the equipment’s ROI. 

How can regular fleet maintenance reduce overall repair costs? 

Not only does routine maintenance help detect any problems before they become serious, over time it saves your business money. How? While you may think getting vehicles serviced constantly would be a drain on your budget, it’s less costly over time than delaying service until a problem arises – you’ll pay less for frequent oil changes than you would to replace a whole engine, for example. 

Also, when a vehicle experiences a major technical problem, it always means losing money over and above what the repairs cost. If even one of your vehicles must be taken off the road for an extended time for extensive repairs, the resulting unplanned downtime means wasted wages and delayed loads, both of which impact the bottom line. 

Maintenance features in GPS fleet tracking software provide reports outlining detailed information on the status and condition of every vehicle across your fleet, alerting managers to potential problems so they can be addressed before becoming serious. The maintenance reports generated by Teletrac Navman’s DIRECTOR fleet management software helped Tech A.I.R., an HVAC contracting company, know when trucks were due for maintenance, slashing maintenance costs by more than 60%.

How can regular fleet maintenance reduce operating costs? 

Here’s another reason to keep up with routine maintenance: neglected equipment means higher fuel costs. A poorly-maintained engine can consume up to 50% more fuel, and underinflated tires may reduce mileage by as much as 10%, also contributing to wasted fuel. After implementing Teletrac Navman’s DIRECTOR software, which monitors tire pressure and alerts managers to when maintenance is required, Tech A.I.R.’s fuel costs dropped 50%, or $7,000 per month. 

Following organised maintenance schedules also means vehicles stay in prime working condition longer, increasing their resale value. In addition, buyers are likely to pay more for a vehicle they know has been well-maintained, so it’s important to keep thorough records of every oil change, tire pressure adjustment, etc. done to your vehicles if you plan to sell them. 
 

Learn how to reduce unplanned downtown time »

How can fleet maintenance improve vehicle inspection outcomes?

Truck fleet maintenance improves your standing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well. According to the FMCSA, there were 5.5 million roadside driver and vehicle inspections in 2016, and 630,028 of them resulted in at least one out-of-service (OOS) violation. The top ten violations included several easily prevented through regular maintenance, demonstrating yet another way getting vehicles serviced regularly is a net positive for your business. Since carriers are not allowed to operate the vehicle until the issues are corrected after an OOS violation, that means lost time, productivity and profit in addition to having to pay the penalty. 

Keeping vehicles well-maintained also impacts CSA scores, as companies with poor scores resulting from violations are far less likely to be hired, damaging their business beyond the money they already lose paying for serious repairs and downtime. It’s also important from a liability perspective, as if there are underlying equipment problems detected in a post-accident investigation, companies may get ruled against for negligence. 

What role do drivers play in fleet maintenance?


As the people who interact with your vehicles most, drivers have a critical role to play in fleet maintenance. It’s important to train them thoroughly on how to conduct pre- and post-haul daily inspections not only to satisfy Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection report requirements, but also so drivers learn to identify warning signs that something may be wrong and detect problems early. 

Teletrac Navman’s Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIR), a DIRECTOR feature, allow drivers to easily complete and submit daily vehicle inspections via an in-cab tablet. The device electronically details pre- and post-trip inspections and automatically sends a digital report to fleet managers, alerting them to any potential issues in real-time so they can plan appropriate servicing. 

How can fleet maintenance improve vehicle inspection outcomes?

Truck fleet maintenance improves your standing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) as well. According to the FMCSA, there were 5.5 million roadside driver and vehicle inspections in 2016, and 630,028 of them resulted in at least one out-of-service (OOS) violation. The top ten violations included several easily prevented through regular maintenance, demonstrating yet another way getting vehicles serviced regularly is a net positive for your business. Since carriers are not allowed to operate the vehicle until the issues are corrected after an OOS violation, that means lost time, productivity and profit in addition to having to pay the penalty. 

Keeping vehicles well-maintained also impacts CSA scores, as companies with poor scores resulting from violations are far less likely to be hired, damaging their business beyond the money they already lose paying for serious repairs and downtime. It’s also important from a liability perspective, as if there are underlying equipment problems detected in a post-accident investigation, companies may get ruled against for negligence. 

Conclusion


The benefits of GPS fleet tracking extend far beyond helping managers plan efficient routes or recording drivers’ HOS: a complete telematics solution includes engine analytics that play a crucial role in staying up-to-date with fleet maintenance. In addition to monitoring vehicle metrics like axle weights and tire pressures, they can help keep track of maintenance, DVIR and diagnostic reports, providing insights from data that would otherwise be hard to track manually. They also alert you to when service is due, either through automatically tracking service intervals via date or mileage, ensuring you don’t miss a service. Furthermore, based on diagnostic information, managers can recognise the symptoms of equipment failure in advance and plan services accordingly to prevent situations from getting worse, saving fleets significant money that would otherwise be lost to costly repairs and extended downtime.  

 

Explore Further

Actionable Data

Need insight to make better business decisions?

Get  powerful data to improve your fleet

Fleet Productivity

Mimimise your vehicles downtime 

Discover new ways to increase fleet efficiency