Your fleet’s maintenance needs change based on the vehicle manufacturer, age, use and season. Use fleet maintenance checklists to help your technicians keep track of what type of maintenance is needed and when.
Why focus on a fleet vehicle maintenance checklist?
Repairs are a variable cost that can leave a serious dent in your fleet’s total cost of ownership (TCO). Unfortunately, average roadside repair costs have been increasing 30 percent year over year, and average mechanical repair costs for commercial vehicles reached a record high last year., Because many repairs can be avoided through preventive maintenance (PM) schedules, taking a proactive stance can save you time and money.
As automotive technologies continue to evolve, PM becomes more in-depth. Late-model vehicles need added PM intervals to inspect safety features that didn’t exist a decade or so ago, such as lane departure and corrective steering. Without a checklist to keep track of each maintenance task, it’s not surprising to see how something could slip through the cracks.
Quick Tips for Your PM Checklist
Maintenance checklists are a key tool in ensuring any technicians working on your fleet’s assets are being thorough and consistent, whether the work is performed in-house or through a third-party vendor. Checklists help keep track of the type of maintenance that needs to be done at certain times (such as seasonal maintenance like winterization) and should include any specifications across makes, models and asset types. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
- Make it easily accessible, in terms of instruction, usability and physical (or digital) location
- Make it manageable, in terms of both reporting and the method used by employees to complete it
- Make it as error-proof as possible by using fleet maintenance software
- Make it comprehensive, not burdensome (i.e. straight forward, easy to interpret, no redundancies)
What to Consider When Putting Together Your Maintenance Checklist
When creating a maintenance checklist for your fleet, there are several key things to consider, including:
Customizing your maintenance checklists can be crucial to keeping your overall TCO down, especially if you’re using data to drive PM schedules. You can get a clearer picture of vehicles that may need additional attention using reports based on data pulled from vehicle inspection and service histories. You can then add these issues to the appropriate maintenance checklist. Furthermore, if you have some vehicles using upfits that need PM, for example, trucks that use auxiliary power units (APUs), you can add that item to a checklist for that specific group of vehicles. This ensures all aspects of your fleet are being properly maintained and nothing is being overlooked.
What to include in your fleet maintenance checklist
A general PM checklist is a great jumping off point to building better service programs throughout your fleet. Dependent on vehicle Class and mileage interval, general PM typically includes:
- Change engine oil and filter
- Rotate tires and check PSI
- Check air and cabin air filters (change if needed)
- Maintain your brakes by checking system/replace worn components
- Check exhaust system
- Lubricate grease fittings
- Check fluid levels (coolant, brake, power steering, transmission, differential, transfer case, master cylinder, etc.)
- Check belts and hoses
- Check lighting systems
- Check safety systems/equipment (if applicable)
- Check coupling devices (for trailers)
Method of Documentation
How you choose to provide maintenance checklists for fleet employees to complete can make a big difference around fleet compliance and accurate data reporting. As with vehicle inspections, paper forms can lead to increased pencil whipping, illegible handwriting, incomplete data and documentation errors. Using fleet solutions like fleet management software (FMS), you can create and customize digital forms that employees can fill out using the software’s native app. Once submitted, the data from the digital maintenance checklist form is automatically collected in the software in real time so you won’t have gaps in data.
Method of Data Collection and Analysis
How you choose to collect the data from maintenance checklists, whether paper, spreadsheets or fleet software, plays a major role in data analysis. Manual data entry takes time, and if you’re having to wait until the end of the day or shift to collect checklist forms, the data can’t be used and acted upon in a timely manner. Automated data collection and aggregation provided by FMS and other fleet software make real-time, data-driven decisions easy and help fleets catch and address issues early for minimal downtime and service cost.
Why Customization Matters
Customizing your maintenance checklists can be crucial to keeping your overall TCO down, especially if you’re using data to drive PM schedules. You can get a clearer picture of vehicles that may need additional attention using reports based on data pulled from vehicle inspection and service histories. You can then add these issues to the appropriate maintenance checklist.
Furthermore, if you have some vehicles using upfits that need PM, for example, trucks that use auxiliary power units (APUs), you can add that item to a checklist for that specific group of vehicles. This ensures all aspects of your fleet are being properly maintained and nothing is being overlooked.
Bring Checklists to Your Fleet
If you’re not already using some type of maintenance checklist, it’s definitely worth looking into. PM will only get more complex as automotive technology evolves, so checklists are a great way to ensure any techs working on your fleet assets aren’t missing a thing – from intricate systems to basic tire maintenance.
Consolidate checklists with a fleet management program and streamline communication with in-house techs or third-party vendors through the mobile app. Use service history and inspection data to customize checklists and decrease TCO. Add any PM-applicable upfits so assets across the entire fleet are maintained. Maintenance checklists are a powerful tool in any fleet manager’s PM strategy.