For a business that own vehicle fleets, company vehicles are among the most valuable assets. If your fleet is well-maintained, you have reliable vehicles at your disposal, the only thing you need to worry about is that your growing fleet is maintained properly. Here are some of the most important aspects of maintaining a company fleet.
Promote thoughtful driving
Training your employees to understand and care for company vehicles is essential to ensuring that those vehicles are used properly. The employees that are using the company fleet vehicles daily must be aware that the way they treat their car translates to how the car responds to certain issues on the road. They should be encouraged to report things like misfires, strange engine sounds, rattling, torque loss, and everything else that falls from normal.
Drivers should also know how to care for the engine and other parts, for example by avoiding riding the clutch, jamming the brakes, and other damaging practices. When cruising downhill, novice drivers should be instructed to downshift instead of using the brakes. In cars with automatic transmission, the alternative is to shift in “2” to engage engine braking.
Monitor fuel mileage
Without doubting, fuel will be one of the most significant costs incurred from owning a company fleet, so you should consider it in both purchasing new vehicles and managing the existing ones. You should be looking into each vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and calculate how much this could cost you based on how much your employees use them.
Having vehicles with high fuel-efficiency could save you a great deal of money in the long run, which allows your business to grow at a faster rate. Besides, it also helps your business keep the green tag and reduce the overall carbon emissions. When extending or filling out your fleet, make sure to keep these points in mind and not to rush into purchasing substandard vehicles, whether you’re buying cars, vans, or trucks.
Issue a vehicle maintenance checklist
Whether you’re managing a single car for delivers or the entire fleet of company representatives and merchandisers, your cars are your primary business asset which needs not only proper but solely professional and official care. Keep a checklist for every vehicle and make sure that all the drivers go through the checklist on a pre-set time basis, whether weekly or monthly. They should submit the document to the relevant department on time.
The checklist should include external vehicle condition, but also fluids, interior and equipment, tires, and functions. Analyzing this information carefully will allow you to identify critical areas of your company fleet management that require a special focus, as well as to deliver more value to your business by adopting a continuous improvement approach.
Choose the optimal insurance
Finding a good insurance provider for your vehicles will certainly take some shopping around, as the insurance providers will offer different quotes which you should compare against the contents of the package. For most SMBs, flexible car insurance will be the optimal choice.
In this arrangement, the insurance provider offers you to tailor the premium based on how you use and don’t use your car. You can include or exclude cases like theft, fire, accidents, storms, and floods, while the insurer provides a range of added features like roadside assistance, towing, storage, and car hire costs, fully covered for insured events.
Prevent flat spots
The employees who operate the vehicles should make sure that the tires are inflated to the recommended pressure. If a vehicle is left stationary for long, soft tires could develop flat spots as the weight of the vehicle presses down on the tires’ footprints.
This process is more evident in colder temperatures and vehicles with the performance or low-profile tires. If a vehicle in your fleet is not being used for whatever reason, having someone drive it around will bring the tires to their normal operating temperature and prevent flat spots. In more severe cases, tires have to be replaced.
If your car is in the storage for more than 30 days, you can even take off the wheels and place the car on jack stands at all four corners, protecting the tires until you need it again.
Keep the battery charged
A battery that is not used for prolonged periods will lose its charge, so if a car in your fleet isn’t used for longer than 30 days, have someone start the car and drive it for about 15 minutes every two weeks. Driving the car from time to time has other benefits – apart from maintaining the battery charge, it keeps the engine and other compartments adequately lubricated.
Besides running the air conditioner to keep the parts working and prevent the mold from setting in is also a good idea. If you can’t have someone start and drive the car periodically, you can either disconnect the negative battery cable, likely losing the stereo presets, time and other settings, or purchase a battery tender that hooks up to your battery on one end and plugs into a wall outlet on the other.
This way you’re delivering just enough power to prevent it from discharging.
Instruct the drivers and other company employees to park the company vehicles in the shade, either underground or under any shaded area. This, however, doesn’t include the tree shade, as dripping tree sap can quickly cover not only the windshield but the entire vehicle, making even frequent car washes futile. In the lack of garage spots for the entire fleet, consider investing in durable car covers.
Not only these protect from unforgiving sunlight and inclement weather, but they also protect your vehicle’s sheen from dirt, dings, and scratches, minimizing the time and cost of exterior cleaning.
Visual impact aside, your car should provide a sense of security, which then translates to you offering reliable services and working in the client`s interest. The maintenance tips listed here range from organizational procedures that protect the cars as company assets to individual maintenance practices that every employee needs to adopt.