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Fleet Vehicle Maintenance: A Comprehensive Guide

It is vital that a fleet management company equips its managers with a streamlined plan so that all processes are in place. Some companies equip managers with telematics systems, while others use Excel sheets. The second one, however, can prove to be a challenge to fleet management systems. This is because drivers have the tendency to fail to report potential issues, and may wait before the vehicle is completely damaged before making the complaint.

What happens in a situation like this? Let’s say Fleet Management Company ‘A’ has a damaged car in its fleet of 20 vehicles. This means that 19 vehicles have to be rotated to meet the need of the same number of customers. This can be challenging for a company, and problematic for the employer and the employee. This also impacts productivity and timelines and therefore impacts costs.

Rather than depending on Excel sheets, fleet management companies need to build a fleet management plan that ensures preventive maintenance, which in turn reduces fleet costs and mitigates liability risks. There are many other ways by which you can improve the efficiency of your fleet business.

In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take to maintain a seamless, hassle-free fleet management plan.

But before you get into the detailing, let us first understand why fleet maintenance systems are vital for smooth processes. 

Let’s go back to Company A and now let us assume that it had a robust fleet management system. If this system is in place, then the vehicles can be well-maintained at regular intervals. This ensures that there is no vehicle damage, which in turn ensures smooth productivity for your organization

Failure to properly maintain your fleet impacts more than cost; it can also affect your team’s downtime and overall safety. 

However, before you get into building your seamless fleet management system, you need to remember that there are a bunch of responsibilities you are required to keep in mind. Our team at Matrack ensures that these safety guidelines are kept in mind to ensure that our vehicles, drivers, and employees are safe at all times.

These responsibilities are classified under three sections

  1. Safety
  2. Efficiency 
  3. Compliance

 A company’s fleet manager needs to keep all these factors in mind while managing the fleet. The good news is that all three factors are interconnected, and compromising on one means compromising on the entire operation.

Keeping this in mind, here are some guidelines that a fleet management service needs to keep in mind while establishing your fleet management system.

Build a maintenance checklist

This step appears to be a little premature, but if you want a robust fleet management system, then you need to understand fleet maintenance. Our team at Matrack also has a maintenance checklist to ensure that our vehicles are well looked after. 

Why a maintenance checklist? Well, you need to keep in mind that while each vehicle – even if it’s the same model – is unique, there are some common maintenance features that all vehicles have in common. These include: 

  1. Checking frame and suspension
  2. Checking the condition of the body
  3. Checking the suspension
  4. Checking the mirror to see if there is damage 
  5. Check if all lights are working, as a lot of vehicles are driven at night
  6. Check the integrity of the windshield 
  7. Check if the doors and windows work
  8. Check for oil to see if it needs to be changed
  9. Check for gear oil, brake oil, coolants, anti-freeze, etc (the last is important when you’re driving in winter)
  10. Check for windshield wipers
  11. Check for brake smoothness
  12. Check for oil filter 
  13. Check tire pressure
  14. Check the fuel system 
  15. Check the vehicle for rust
  16. Check for transmission
  17. Check for all belts in the engine, as well as front and back seatbelts 
  18. Check if seats are in place
  19. Check if the car’s internal heating and air-conditioner is in working condition
  20. Check if the horn is working
  21. Check for the exhaust system

Once all these features are checked, then you can build your fleet management checklist. Do note that this is the ideal way to ensure that your planning goes well.

Assess baselines 

Once you finish your checklist, you need to ensure your vehicle data is in a database that is integrated into fleet management software that ensures efficiency. Before you get your fleet management system in place, you need to check the status of all your vehicles i.e. take them to the garage to get a full diagnosis and conduct a test drive.

In essence, take all the parameters you have built in your fleet checklist and implement them in all the vehicles in your fleet. If they meet all parameters, then these vehicles are fleet management ready. If they fail even one, get that problem rectified at the earliest before you get your vehicles ready.

Once this is done, it is vital that you make all your documentation digital. Once this is done, you can upload them to the fleet management software. These uploaded documents will have all the details of the vehicle, including the servicing done, the work needed (if any), and whether the vehicle needs servicing or replacing.

Read more: Selecting the right fleet vehicle for your fleet

Establish a maintenance schedule

As the name suggests, this is the ‘actual planning’ period or the time when you establish your parameters for your vehicles and your drivers. Building this policy and implementing it helps your team adjust to the processes that are in place.

Matrack keeps the following factors in mind while maintaining its fleet management policy:

  • Safety
  • Rough incidents
  • High speed
  • Incident reporting
  • Efficiency 
  • Idling time
  • Preventive maintenance 
  • Compliance
  • ELD rule violations 

These are Matrack-specific guidelines. However, in addition to these, we also follow the following

  • Pre-trip check: Every vehicle needs to be checked before a trip. While not as comprehensive as a full inspection, the vehicle driver has to check the basics such as horn, lights, oil, tire, and other minor checks
  • Post-trip check: It’s similar to a pre-trip check. Your fleet management system should have this digital document that your driver can access for pre-and post-trip. If there is an issue, it can get immediately highlighted
  • Maintenance Checklist: You are required to have a monthly-, quarterly, half-yearly, and annually. Each of these checklists needs to be thorough and need to be done regularly if your vehicles are used regularly.
  • Maintenance schedule: Setting a schedule helps to ensure you always catch issues before they become bigger problems. Without fleet management software, you have to keep track of this yourself.  

Matrack’s fleet-tracking software and system give companies the visibility they need to track and manage their assets, fleets, and trailers. Matrack enables companies to streamline their operations while reducing costs and increasing profits. If you are interested in Matrack’s services, then you can have a free consultation with an in-house expert.

Some of the features for Matrack include the following

  • Instant email\text alert
  • A geofence alert in real-time
  • You have the ability to manage the geofence radius with a click
  • You can allocate each vehicle with different geofences

To know more about geofencing and its benefits, click here.

The new dashboard has been made easier to use, as well as adaptable to iOS and Android, and has several unique features that make it stand out as a fleet management system

Most importantly, you get a safety report that covers the number of miles driven, miles driven (in case you cross 80 miles per hour), hard break activity, and time spent driving late at night.