A major concern for business owners is how to keep the cost of maintaining a fleet of trucks as low as possible. The last thing you want to have is an unfortunate breakdown in your vehicle that could cost not just money but opportunity costs as well. If you want to keep your fleet in tip top shape, then the best way to manage it is to have a routine maintenance schedule.
A good place to start learning about the appropriate maintenance schedule is the vehicle’s manual. This is the first thing you must look into to familiarize yourself when staying on top of your fleet’s upkeep.
If you have a reliable system in place, your drivers will feel confident that the truck they are driving has received the necessary maintenance work and repairs. Some even employ computerized fleet management systems to ensure that data is recorded accurately and can be conveniently accessed when needed.
A routine service usually involves a tune-up, tire rotation, oil changes and fluid top-off. In determining the length of service schedules, here are a few generalized estimates to use as a guide:
• Tune-Up: The common parts that are replaced when tuning up a vehicle are the spark plugs, plug wires, air filter and fuel filter. Other components that could be checked under the hood are the belts and hoses. Newer vehicles with electronic ignition and fuel injection systems are usually scheduled for servicing every 40,000 km to as many as 160,000 km without needing a major tune-up. Older vehicles with non-electronic ignitions need to be tuned every 16,000 to 20,000 km or every year, whichever comes first.
• Oil change: A better understanding of oil chemistries and engine technology have led to improved longevity of most trucks which can now go well beyond the suggested 5,000 km interval between oil changes. The new recommendation from vehicle manufacturers is between 8,000 and 16,000 km between changes. Newer vehicles may have an oil change maintenance minder built in which consists of a light or countdown on the dashboard, indicating when the oil may need to be changed.
• Tire rotation: Rotating tires is necessary for extending the life of the tires and minimizes uneven tread and wear. Tire rotation means that each tire is removed and placed in another position to ensure that all the tires will wear evenly. Tires should be rotated around every six months, or between 10,000 and 13,000 km on average.
• Vehicle fluids: Check the manual to find what the manufacturer recommends regarding fluids such as transmission fluid, differential oil, brake fluids, coolant, etc. Coolant typically can last 160,000 km. For a better estimate of how often these should be changed, go to a mechanic or service center that is familiar with your make and model instead of a quick-lube center to simplify the process.
Fleet maintenance may entail costs, but it will pay for itself by minimizing downtime or worse, costly litigation brought about by accidents. As a fleet operator, it is your responsibility to keep your drivers and the public safe.
Do you need customized work trucks? Contact us at 1-877-479-1388 or email Steve Gruber at email@example.com for your car, truck or fleet rental and no-term leasing needs. We have locations in Hamilton, Selkirk & Niagara and service all of Ontario through our partner network. With a fleet of over 800 vehicles and growing, Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work vehicles for lease or rent, and an expert team that provides fleet management services for large industrial firms.