Stay On The Move: 6 Practices That Help Keep Your Fleet In Top Condition
If you want to keep your business’s fleet always ready to go, you need to ensure that all your vehicles are in good condition. Keeping up with the trailer repair and other repairs will keep things working correctly and keep malfunctions to a minimum. There is nothing worse than being on a trip and experiencing issues with a trailer. At best, the issue will be cosmetic, but at worst, it could be unsafe for you or your drivers. By keeping up with the proper maintenance, you can keep your business’s vehicles on the road for miles to come.
Don’t Overlook Washing
One fleet service that is often overlooked is basic washing and detailing of the trucks. You want your trucks to leave a good impression as well as act as mobile advertising for your business, which means keeping them clean is imperative. Clean trucks, both inside and out, will also age better, which protects your investment.
It’s not enough to ask drivers to hit up a car wash once in a while. Instead, schedule regular mobile truck washing services, perhaps once a month, to keep everything in top shape. A mobile service will have experience with fleet vehicles, which will allow them to work through all the trucks quickly without damaging any company graphics or special equipment that is mounted to the truck.
You might encounter rain, sleet, or snow while on the road only to find out that there is a leak in the roof. Leaks in the cab can make for an uncomfortable and potentially unsafe drive. Leaks in the trailer itself can lead to damaged products and cargo. Because of both of these things, it’s important to check every part of the trailer before trips. In particular, you should check that seals are intact. Using sealant is key to fending off this kind of water issue. There are different kinds of sealant available, so be sure to use the correct one on the right trailer. Metal, rubber, TPA, ALFA, and fiberglass may have different requirements.
Before embarking on a trip, be certain to check that all the lug nuts are tight and the tire pressure is meeting tire pressure specs. Too much air or not enough air can lead to bad gas mileage, the explosion of tires, damage to the truck or trailer, and possibly accidents that could have been avoided. Make sure to tighten the lug nuts, because they can loosen up during a trip, and loose lug nuts may lead to a tire falling off.
Be sure to check batteries often. Getting back in the truck after a rest only to find dead batteries can set your trip back significantly. You could miss deadlines, which could damage your relationship with your clients and customers. Check batteries before major trips ensure that you and your drivers know how to avoid depleting the batteries when the truck is off. Battery life spans vary. Keep track of how long your trucks’ batteries are expected to last and replace them before they become useless.
Schedule Routine Inspections
A regular inspection by a fleet mechanic every three months or so can catch many major problems, but consider having a daily checklist as well that is filled out and turned in by the drivers each day. This should include a safety check of exterior lights, mirrors, brake functionality, and tires. You may also want to include some preventative inspection items, such as fluid checks, belt inspections, and testing of hose connections. This will allow you to catch small issues, like the need for fresh oil, before they become a major issue, like a blown engine.
Trust Your drivers
Your drivers, especially if they are assigned one vehicle to use, will come to know their truck quite well. This means they may pick up on issues before there are any obvious outward signs of a problem. Have a system in place so your drivers can report any small problems they encounter with their truck and then implement a method to follow up on these reports immediately. A driver noticing a small shake to the steering wheel, for example, may not seem like a big deal, but it could indicate a major issue such as a worn axle joint or weakening tie rod. By using your driver’s knowledge of their vehicle to catch this early, you may avoid major repair and towing expenses later.
When you’re moving shipments for clients, you need to ensure that your trucks are always up to the job. This means that you need to keep up on maintenance for your fleet and ensure that your drivers know what to do when problems do occur. By taking care of these tasks, you can help keep your trucks on the road longer. Some of these tasks are ones that you can take care of yourself. However, for others, you will need to bring in outside contractors to ensure the best service.
Your company depends upon its truck fleet to serve your clients and safely transport your staff and products. Regular maintenance is a must to keep your fleet in top condition. Instead of being reactionary and only worrying about a truck in the fleet when it has problems, be proactive and use these tips to keep your truck fleet in top condition at all times. This way, you can keep your trucks on the road and reduce your costs.