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Prioritizing fleet vehicle care

Monday, April 11, 2016

By: Bill Jones, Director of Product Management, Element Fleet Management

April is National Car Care month, meaning it's an ideal time for drivers and fleet managers to take a closer look at the vehicles in their company's fleet. Even after a mild winter, it's important to inspect cars and trucks, ensuring they're safe, productive and operating at peak efficiency.

The importance of vehicle care

Here are a few tips to care for your vehicle:

Preventive maintenance
Subscribe to a preventive maintenance (PM) program providing drivers with reminders for PM service based on repair history, time, and/or mileage. Set and communicate company policy of driver responsibility for major failures due to lack of PM.

Driver charge-backs
Consider establishing a policy of driver charge-backs for poor vehicle condition (Wear, tear, cleanliness,etc.) upon turn in.

Walk-around inspections
Under good lighting, walk around vehicles,inspecting tire wear, condition of lights and any visible damage. Check for wear and cracks on windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.

Tire pressure
It's especially important to check - and adjust- tire pressure in the spring as tire pressure fluctuates with the changing temperature.

Brakes, belts and hoses
Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts and hoses. Inspect the brake system, including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid for proper level as well.

Suspension and wheel alignment
The harsh winter weather created more potholes on the roads. If the steering "pulls" or the tires are not wearing evenly have the suspension and alignment checked.

Fluid levels and engine air filter
Make sure the engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and antifreeze/coolant are all at proper level. Changing the engine air filter is a quick replacement that can positively affect fuel economy.

Listen to your vehicle for unusual sounds. Any new sounds from the vehicle should be inspected for repair as soon as possible. This may be due to a suspension problem, worn brakes, or other.

External care
Clean the exterior of your vehicles. Take time to wash off the road salt that can eat away or corrode the metal of the vehicle.

Take charge of your fleet and ensure that each car and truck is in the best possible condition. Do you have any other suggestions for vehicle care? Share them in the comments below.

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