Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Fleet Running Smoothly
It doesn’t matter how many vehicles are in your fleet if they’re not actually on the road! Keeping fleet vehicles running smoothly and efficiently should be every fleet manager’s goal. Luckily, our fleet maintenance experts at Ralph’s Transmissions in Sarasota have the knowledge and tools necessary to keep your entire fleet in the best condition possible. Here are our top maintenance tips to keep your fleet running like a well-oiled machine:
Maintenance Tip 1: Follow a preventative maintenance schedule
Planning and following a preventative maintenance schedule for all fleet vehicles is the best way to ensure your fleet is running in tip-top shape. However, most fleet managers don’t have the time or resources to keep up with a fleet maintenance schedule themselves, so finding a reputable fleet maintenance provider is a smart choice. Ralph’s Transmissions provides the maintenance services that fleet managers in Sarasota and Manatee counties need to stay profitable in these uncertain times. You can design your own fleet maintenance schedule or we can provide recommendations on a maintenance schedule based on our years of fleet maintenance experience.
Maintenance Tip 2: Keep vehicles clean
Dirty fleet vehicles send the wrong impression to potential customers. By keeping fleet vehicles clean, you’ll never miss a sale or contract because it looks like you don’t care, and your drivers will take greater pride in their jobs. If you use an in-house employee to clean fleet vehicles, train them to be on the lookout for rust, damage, and other signs that vehicles need repair. When cleaning fleet vehicles at Ralph’s Transmissions, we inspect each vehicle during cleaning and report all issues to the fleet manager immediately.
Maintenance Tip 3: Document all fleet maintenance and repairs
Don’t let hidden fleet costs impact your profitability. You can’t determine accurate fleet operation costs without knowing exactly what maintenance and repairs have been done on your vehicles. As a fleet manager, you’ve got enough paperwork on your hands. Let the fleet maintenance and repair experts at Ralph’s Transmissions handle the documentation for you. We keep detailed records of all maintenance tasks and repair jobs completed on each of your vehicles and can provide comprehensive reports to meet your documentation needs at any time.
Maintenance Tip 4: Inspect all fleet vehicles daily
Before a fleet vehicle heads out for the day, a thorough inspection should be done that checks at a minimum:
- All fluids, including oil, gas, brake fluid, washer fluid, and transmission fluid
- Windows and windshield
- Lights, including signal lights
- Windshield wipers
- Safety kit, including flares, warning triangles, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, etc.
Daily fleet vehicle inspections will keep your vehicles in great shape, but they’re really about driver safety. Consider hiring a dedicated fleet inspector to perform daily checks on all fleet vehicles. Provide the fleet inspector with a company-approved fleet inspection checklist to make sure they are checking all important items. At Ralph’s Transmissions, we can help you develop an inspection checklist to be sure you don’t miss anything.
Maintenance Tip 5: Educate your drivers
Keeping your drivers safe on the road should be every fleet manager’s top priority. Educating drivers about fleet maintenance is essential for your business’s reputation and profitability. Along with adding fleet maintenance topics to required new driver orientation materials and developing policies related to fleet maintenance, educational resources related to maintenance and safety should be posted in an area where drivers will see it every day. By providing drivers with this information, you are empowering them to do their jobs to their best possible ability.
Maintenance Tip 6: Solicit feedback from drivers
It’s not enough to just educate drivers about fleet maintenance. A progressive fleet manager will actively seek feedback from drivers about how fleet maintenance policies are working in the real world and how they can be improved. Assuming that you know more than your drivers about how the vehicles are running is a mistake. Allowing drivers to provide feedback also makes them accountable to report vehicle damage, breakdowns, or other issues.
Maintenance Tip 7: Upgrade your vehicles regularly
Old-school fleet managers believe you should hold on to a fleet vehicle as long as it will crank, but we now know that this is not the best practice for maximum profitability. Instead of keeping vehicles past their prime, adopt a policy of upgrading fleet vehicles every few years. This will ensure you have reliable vehicles with the latest safety technology and best gas mileage. Your bottom line with thank you.
Maintenance Tip 8: Downsize the fleet
This tip might seem counterintuitive, but the fact is that many fleets are paying to maintain vehicles that they either do not need, or ones that are not the best fit for their assigned job. Both situations will add thousands of dollars in avoidable expenses to your fleet operation budget. So, sell off any vehicles that aren’t absolutely necessary and be sure that your remaining vehicles are the appropriate size and capacity for their designated tasks.
Maintenance Tip 9: Invest in fleet management software
For medium to large sized fleets, fleet management software will pay for itself with savings in fuel, maintenance, and repair costs. Fleet management software will do everything from reminding you of upcoming maintenance tasks for each vehicle, to monitoring driver performance via telemetrics, and to calculating operating costs. In addition to reducing expenses, fleet management software has also been shown to increase employee productivity and promote safer driving!
When you’re ready to take your fleet management to the next level, our team of automotive professionals at Ralph’s Transmissions is here to show you what truly stress-free fleet maintenance is like. We’ve been helping fleet managers in Sarasota, Bradenton, and surrounding areas save their time and money with top-quality fleet maintenance services for years. Call us at (941) 921-3559 or contact us online to get an estimate on comprehensive maintenance services for your fleet today!