Maintain Your Commercial Fleet for Long Term Success
If you are a business owner, it doesn’t matter if you have one commercial vehicle on hand, or a fleet of one-hundred box trucks and vans working to maximize your productivity. Your commercial fleet of trucks and vans is likely one of the largest investments you have made in the lifetime of your company, which is why it is so important to be diligent about maintaining its overall health and wellness. While it is true that the larger your fleet size, the harder it is to maintain, it is also true that larger fleets are easier to manage if you have a solid system in place. Changing the oil every three months and replacing the filter once in awhile isn’t enough to keep your investment running properly. To avoid losing thousands of dollars in avoidable repairs, you can keep your commercial vehicle fleet in tip top shape by adhering to a set schedule and by following a list of procedures.
Set the Ground Rules
Unless your company is a one or two man operation, chances are that you rarely drive your commercial trucks and vans for business purposes. While you are busy managing the entirety of your business, you rely on your trusted staff to keep your commercial fleet running smoothly. As trustworthy as your employees are, the fact of the matter is the only person with a vested interest in the long term health of your vehicle fleet, isyou. It may seem like a pain to have to go through the process, but setting vehicle care guidelines for your employees now, can save you thousands in repairs down the line. Check out a few easy and quick ways you can ask your employees to keep track of your commercial vehicle health.
- Mileage Log: Whether you buy a simple notebook from the store, or print out mileage log sheets from Google, put something together that can easily be placed in each one of your commercial vehicles. Alert all of your employees that they are required to fill in the mileage log every time they use the truck or van, and report any issues that may arise. You can make this mileage log as detailed as you would like, but at the minimum it should ask for the driver’s name, the time that the vehicle was taken out, the starting mileage, the ending mileage, and the time that the truck was returned. Adding this task to your employees to-do list will only take a few extra moments of their time, and can prove essential to ensuring your commercial vehicle fleet is kept up with properly.
- Maintenance Log: If you are the person who takes your vehicles in for their routine maintenance procedures, or if you have someone else do it during the work day, it is imperative that a proper maintenance log is completed. A simple date of when the maintenance was performed, what attention it needed, and where it was completed, should be enough to keep track of any and all service that was performed on your commercial vehicle fleet. It is also crucial to have your employees fill out possible issues that they detect during their shifts, including low fluid levels, illuminated check-engine lights, and unusual noises. The sooner that these issues are addressed, the better.
- Keep It Clean: As the owner of your business, you can set the rules regarding how your vehicles are maintained, and how they are kept clean. If you prefer your employees not to smoke in company vehicles, be sure to make your request known. You can ask your employees to empty out their personal garbage at the end of their shift, and require that the last person to log mileage that day takes care of anything that was left behind. A clean car is essential to your company’s image, and is often the first and only impression that customers have of your business.
Follow a Schedule
Commercial vehicles are much different than regular cars, trucks, and SUVs on the road. Aside from the fact that they are used more aggressively than privately owned vehicles, commercial trucks are made differently and feature varying components that other cars on the road do not have. In order to get the longest life out of your commercial vehicle fleet, it is important to stay on top of a regular maintenance schedule. Take a look at some of the things you, or someone on your staff, should be doing in order to ensure longevity for each one of your company vehicles.
- Weekly: Once a week, take a moment to check oil levels, windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze and engine coolant, and tire pressure. Staying on top of these items is easy, and will only take a few moments out of your week.
- Monthly: Either at the beginning or the end of each month, inspect your commercial vehicles for transmission and brake fluid levels, and power steering fluid. Ensure that the windshield wiper blades are working effectively, and take a peek under the hood at belts, hoses, and battery cables. You don’t have to be a certified mechanic to recognize holes or tears in these essential engine components, so don’t skip this step because you don’t think you are qualified to perform this simple check.
- Twice a Year: Every six months, or around 6,000 miles, perform a comprehensive brake test on all of your company trucks and vans. Have the tires rotated, and check to make sure the chassis is lubricated and that the clutch system is in proper working order.
- Yearly: Once a year, take your commercial vehicles to a Chevrolet certified service center to have the underbody of each truck flushed. Your technician will service the engine cooling system at this time, and check the accelerator control system for any issues. Back at the shop, you can lubricate the locks, doors, hinges, and parking brake yourself, or ask your technician to do it while the vehicle is at the shop.
- 15,000 Miles: Have the automatic transmission checked over, and change out the fluid and filter system as well.
- 30,000 Miles: At this time in your commercial truck’s life, it is important to have the spark plugs changed, the fuel filter replaced, and have the engine timing checked.
If you ensure that guidelines are set, and that a maintenance schedule is followed, your commercial vehicle fleet will remain in great working order, and keep your business on the road for years to come.