Making sure your vehicles are kept in good nick at all times is an important part of operating a safe, efficient and well-coordinated fleet.
While vehicle downtime may have an impact on the short-term productivity of your operations, the appropriate servicing of your vehicles is not something you can afford to overlook. Poorly maintained vehicles aren’t only unsafe and ultimately more costly to repair, they also generally end up with weaker resale values. The key then to limiting the potential disarray caused by [LINK] unplanned vehicle downtime [LINK] is to establish a clear servicing plan for your fleet. Frequent servicing, in combination with [LINK] regular in-house preventative maintenance checks [LINK], can help you avoid serious problems and high repair costs.
You can either service your fleet vehicles at a franchised dealer or an independent garage. You should research your options in this regard to see which best suits your business; although independent garages tend to offer lower prices, main dealers are becoming increasingly competitive. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing your provider that should be weighed against their overall price, these include: minimum turnaround times, location, whether they offer free vehicle pick-up and delivery, whether they offer a complementary cleaning service, and whether they offer courtesy vehicles. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to establish a close relationship with the provider so that they understand the needs of your business.
Service scheduling can either be fixed or variable. A fixed service schedule provides servicing at pre-set, regular intervals and makes the most sense for vehicles that undergo higher mechanical strain, like in low-mileage, city driving cars. One of the biggest benefits of a fixed schedule is that it allows you to make pro-active arrangements for your operations well in advance of servicing, therefore minimising the effect of vehicle downtime on your bottom line. Variable service schedules are especially suitable for fleet vehicles that do long-distance, constant-speed driving like on motorways. These vehicles tend to suffer less mechanical wear and tear, and might not need the frequency of servicing offered by fixed schedules. Once you have determined which level of service is the best fit for your fleet, it’s important that your drivers adhere to the servicing intervals you have set in place. Quite often, drivers will leave it to the last minute to take their vehicle in for servicing, potentially leading to more expensive repairs than would have been necessary (like replacing break discs instead of just replacing break pads). Keep in mind that the longer the service interval, the higher the chances of costly breakdown.