You must have heard the saying that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and this can’t be truer when it comes to commercial fleet maintenance.
Today, having a preventative maintenance plan for your commercial fleets is definitely a smart way for fleet owners or managers to save thousands of dollars and become proactive in their repair and maintenance needs.
For improved safety, cost control and long-term asset reliability, effective management and implementation of sustainable preventive maintenance programs is paramount.
Fleet maintenance is crucial in minimising the potential of facing unexpected issues that would lead to repair and breakdown expenses that could cost you an arm and a leg, literally!
In addition, keeping up with the best practices for preventive maintenance will help ensure your vehicles remain operational and improved productivity when breakdowns are infrequent.
So, what exactly does a Preventative Maintenance plan involve?
There are two ways in which fleet owners or manager can tackle their repair and maintenance needs: proactive and reactive.
Preventive maintenance has increasingly become proactive and hence predictive. Proactive plans mean sticking to your schedule of routine maintenance regardless of whether or not your commercial trucking fleet has repair needs.
On the other hand, reactive maintenance only takes place when a truck breaks down or becomes malfunctioned, compelling you to take it in for unplanned repairs.
In most cases, reactive maintenance plans are costly, slapping managers in the face with high repair expenses alongside lost productivity owing to the unnecessary breakdowns.
However, with a proper proactive preventative maintenance plan, fleet owners and or managers can detect repair needs early before they happen, enabling them to plan better for future costs and keep their commercial trucks on the road for longer.
Generally, proactive preventive maintenance consists of inspections, scheduled servicing and repairs to safeguard against possible problems and optimise vehicle availability. It’s usually based on mileage, time, engine hours and quantity of fuel consumed.
As opposed to proactive maintenance, reactive maintenance mostly tends to be as a result of breakdowns. These are often costly to fix, detrimental to your overall fleet operational budgets and arising as a lack of preventive maintenance plan.
Why Should You be Concerned with Proper Preventive Maintenance?
Vehicles prone to countless breakdowns that demand costly repairs make the vehicle unsafe for both the drivers and other road users. It’s not uncommon to see many commercial trucks that have caused fatal accidents had mechanical problems while moving down a lane. That’s why preventive maintenance is necessary to inspect, lubricate, adjust, clean, test, repair and or replace worn parts including tyres.
Extended Vehicle Lifespan
When preventative management services are performed as scheduled, the lifespan of your commercial trucking fleet is greatly increased. Proper maintenance keeps the vehicle in service for longer.
Prevents Litigation Due to Negligence
Preventive maintenance forms a vital part of the driver safety program. Did you know, if a vehicle is in bad shape as a result of failure to repair or maintain it, the fleet owner is held liable for negligence? Well, now you know.
By definition, liability is premised upon giving a dangerous tool or instrument to your employee and this includes a vehicle, while in full knowledge or having sufficient reason to know that the use of the vehicle poses unreasonable risk or harm to other persons. In other words, the vehicle should be safe to operate and in case the brakes fail and the vehicle causes serious fatalities, the vehicle is impounded and investigation launched by relevant authorities.
If the investigation concludes that bad brakes or other mechanical malfunction of the vehicle contributed to the accident, the authorities can obtain a court order to access the vehicle’s maintenance records. In the event that you failed to practice preventive maintenance, you may face prosecution for an act of negligence.