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5 Proven Preventative Maintenance Best Practices to Keep your Fleet Moving

By Ellen Sowerby
19 March 2021

In the world of fleet management, the age-old saying, “prevention is better than cure,” holds more truth than ever.

The implementation of a robust preventive maintenance (PM) program is crucial for maintaining cost control, enhancing long-term asset reliability, and ensuring the safety of your fleet.

This article delves into five cutting-edge preventive maintenance best practices, backed by recent statistics, that will help you keep your vehicles operational, efficient, and cost-effective.


1. Scheduling for Success

To minimize the risk of unscheduled breakdowns and costly repairs, it’s imperative to implement a proactive scheduling approach.

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), preventive maintenance has an “estimated 12 percent to 18 percent cost savings over reactive maintenance programs.” 

Schedule maintenance tasks based on factors like mileage, engine hours, or fuel consumption. As vehicles age or accumulate higher mileage, gradually increase the depth and complexity of your inspections and services. Preventive maintenance not only optimizes budgets but also enhances operational reputation and customer satisfaction by eliminating unexpected delivery or appointment cancellations.


2. Harness the Power of Inspections

Inspections lie at the heart of any effective PM program. Mandated pre-trip inspections, often reported electronically on Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs), and systematic yard checks provide critical insights into potential issues. Maintenance personnel play a vital role in identifying and rectifying problems before they escalate into major breakdowns or costly repairs. Investing in comprehensive inspections ensures a well-maintained fleet and supports a smoother operation overall.


3. Empower Technicians for Excellence

Your technicians are the backbone of your PM program. Investing in technician training is a strategic move that pays off in terms of reduced breakdowns and enhanced vehicle longevity. Ensure that technicians understand the significance of thorough preventive maintenance and provide routine refresher training to keep them updated on new technologies, vehicles, and program improvements. Technicians armed with knowledge and skills are better equipped to proactively service vehicles and avoid shortcuts that may lead to complications down the road.

For example, providing vehicle technicians with a workshop management app has been found to increase their efficiency by 10-20%.

4. Streamline Parts Inventory Management

Efficient parts inventory management is a game-changer for PM success. Recent trends show that fleets with optimized parts inventory experience a 20% reduction in turnaround time. Maintain an adequate stock of frequently used maintenance parts, categorized by systems and components, to streamline preventive maintenance tasks.

A well-organized parts room, equipped with knowledgeable personnel or integrated fleet management software, ensures seamless parts availability. Leveraging software-integrated bar code systems enhances inventory control, automates reordering processes, and fosters optimal PM efficiency.


5. Leverage Data for Enhanced PM Effectiveness

Data-driven insights are the cornerstone of modern PM excellence. Case studies demonstrate that fleets utilizing advanced fleet maintenance software witness up to a 30% increase in PM effectiveness. Whether performed in-house or outsourced, use data to track PM program performance, enabling informed decisions to adapt PM frequency and tasks as per evolving fleet needs. Fleet management software empowers real-time monitoring of vehicle parameters and automated scheduling notifications to drivers. Integration with parts suppliers further streamlines the ordering process, ensuring timely availability of required components.


Incorporating these five preventive maintenance best practices into your fleet management strategy not only ensures operational continuity but also leads to a more cost-effective, reliable, and safer fleet. By embracing these practices, fleets can mitigate unscheduled downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and enhance their overall operational efficiency.

In a rapidly evolving landscape, the value of preventative maintenance best practices is undeniable – they provide the cornerstone for a successful, resilient fleet management approach.

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