Preventative maintenance is the basis of a reliable maintenance program for any fleet manager, and if done right – goes beyond changing oils and fluids to include the inspection of any wearable items that can give you issues.
Moving trucks are run hard, and while it takes a concerted effort, a robust PM program allows you to schedule maintenance tasks in advance and remain up-to-date with the state of your truck fleet, and can help your team complete their work orders in a timely manner without additional costs or labor.
So today we’d like to impart the program we use to ensure that our fleet or diesel and gas-powered vehicle remain in the best possible shape for optimal ROI.
First A Word About Emergency Assistance
There are times when a preventative maintenance program, so matter how good it is, is unable to prevent an unexpected breakdown or accident. After all, the roadways are unpredictable places, so ensuring your fleet uptime means planning for these incidents as well. If you’re business is locally based moving company, make sure that every truck has at least 2 roadside assistance company numbers available on their cell phones and in the glove compartment for a local towing service provider.
National tow truck companies like AAA are ok, however a good portion of their fleet is typically comprised of small hook and tow / flat bed configurations. Most moving vans are large, so you’ll need to make sure that the trucks you reserve can accommodate medium to heavy-duty loads.
Lastly, look to negotiate a deal with your preferred towing service contractors (remember, get at least 2 in case one is unavailable), since you will likely be using them more often than a typical customer.
Your Preventative Maintenance Checklist
This list, while non-exhaustive, includes some of the basic items most vehicles require for proper functioning. Make sure to take into consideration the recommendations provided by your vehicles’ manufacturers and don’t forget to account for your company’s usage of certain vehicles in setting up preventative maintenance plans.
- Change the engine oil and filter
- Check, change, and fill transmission fluid
- Check all lights, including undercarriage and frame
- Check if the steering and suspension are in good condition
- Check the cooling system
- Check the seat belts, the horn, as well as auxiliary systems
- Examine the drive shaft, CV joints, belts, and hoses
- Examine the electrical system and braking components
- Examine the exhaust system
- Inspect all mirrors
- Inspect and rotate tires, wheels, and rims
- Inspect the engine and transmission mounts
- Inspect the fuel system
- Make sure the windshield wipers are working and the fluid is full
- Repair any fluid leaks
- Schedule and perform regular tune-ups
PM Best Practices
The most produce PM checklists have to conform to best practices. Below is a list of recommendations for establishing a preventative maintenance plan for your fleet. It’s also worth mentioning that having a plan in place for unexpected roadside service issues with a moving van can save you a lot of time, money, and labor further down the line.
Add every vehicle component to your PM checklist
When you’re determining the tasks to be included in your PM checklist, make sure you consider all vehicle components.
Larger 24′ and 26′ Truck and Trailer configurations should consider maintenance items from both tractors and trailers. If you miss a crucial part, then you risk leaving your vehicles under-maintained, which could lead to unexpected breakdowns.
Sort by necessary tasks and unnecessary ones
When you’re doing a cost analysis, ask yourself the following questions.
- What expenses can I try to prevent?
- Would the cost of accomplishing a given task be higher than the issue it’s going to prevent?
Sometimes, specific tasks can be unnecessary and they might end up costing you more in the long run. With that in mind, you can perform the tasks that are essential and avoid wasting resources on ineffective preventative maintenance items.
Delegating tasks is just as important as identifying those mandatory ones. Some tasks can be managed by your drivers while others will require professional intervention. So identifying who is responsible for what will help you create a more efficient PM checklist.
Organize PMs by type and frequency
Preventative maintenance tasks usually have their own timeline. To make a checklist that is more effective, you need to organize your PMs by type and frequency.
For example, daily tasks can be sorted into one list while monthly and yearly ones can be sorted into others. You should also group tasks when they can be conducted together (like checking oil and transmission fluid).
Set up a PM checklist for pre-service inspection
Many people think that preventative maintenance is performed over the lifespan of each vehicle. However, it’s also essential to examine vehicles, whether they’re new or used when they first get to your lot.
So establishing a pre-service checklist is vital because it can allow you to identify and resolve any issues in the vehicles before they emerge on the road. This will also give you the chance to document essential data about the vehicles, which will make it easier to order any replacements further down the line.