The comfort and well-being of their fleet vehicles is the last thing on a small business owners’ mind. Equally as irksome are the automotive emergencies that seem to crop up at the worst times.A transmission slipping, starting problems, engine issues, and many other problems. The only thing worse is a vehicle dying completely. Here are a few tips to keep small problems small and forestall the inevitable end of vehicles’ life.
Drive More Efficiently
This requires a whole suite of changes including optimizing routes, slowing speeding drivers, preventing harsh braking and hard acceleration, reducing unneeded trips, and implementing a driver safety program. Combined across the entire fleet and all the years that those vehicles will be on the road, these small changes can drastically improve the efficiency of the fleet and minimize the wear and tear.
If fleet vehicles do not have a maintenance schedule, that should be the first order of business. Plus, making small changes to the way that maintenance is performed can further its effectiveness. Switching to synthetic oil can improve the efficiency and longevity of an engine. (1.) Additionally, make sure that the mechanic changing the oil fills the oil to the proper level and changes the oil filter. If a mechanic is removing the wheels make sure they hand thread the lug nuts when putting the wheels back on. Also, make sure they use a torque wrench, not a pneumatic wrench, to put the lug nuts back on. (1.) Over tightening lug nuts can damage rims and lead to damaged parts that may need to be replace as soon as the next time that wheel is removed. Remember keeping up with proper maintenance of a vehicle is extremely important and plays a key role in the vehicle running smooth and efficiently.
Protect the Interior
Drivers are thinking about the task at hand not the interior of a fleet vehicle. Seat covers and floor mats can keep years of wear and tear off the interior. The overall value of a vehicle can be preserved by maintaining the condition of the interior. At the end of the day, a nice clean interior can help portray a great image for the company.
Perform Maintenance as Directed by the Manufacturer
All that advice uncle Bob or grandpa Joe gave on how to keep a car running forever doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t line up with what the makers of the vehicle are recommending. Cars have changed drastically in the last 40 years and even significantly more in the last 5. Car makers formulate recommendation that will keep the vehicles they make running for years longer than in the past. (3.)
Fleet, Not a Consumer Vehicle
Fleet vehicles should not be neglected the way many consumer vehicles are. Fleet vehicles should be managed and optimized because the cost of their operation is amplified by the number of vehicles. A big problem in a single vehicle will become a huge problem when combine across an entire fleet.
Keeping a vehicle till it dies is a very questionable strategy in today’s business climate. An older vehicle will require more downtime to be repaired more often than a newer vehicle and will experience more complex problems as they age. Keeping records on vehicles can now be performed by minimal staff using a fleet management solution on each vehicle. Determining at what age or mileage a vehicle should be replaced will depend on industry, but will keep a fleet healthier and a business running more efficiently.
Consider Reselling Vehicles as Part of the Cycle
This will provide better performance for the entire fleet because there will be less costs for major repairs typical of older vehicles and less downtime to make those repairs. A well maintained vehicle will fetch a higher price than a moderately or ill maintained one that can be used to purchase a replacement vehicle.
All of these tips can help business owners keep their fleet healthy, reduce operational costs, and keep drivers safe.
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