Dec 10, 2022

Heavy-Duty Equipment Preventive Maintenance Scheduling for Dummies

Heavy-Duty Equipment Preventive Maintenance Scheduling for Dummies

Wouldn’t you like to see into the future?

It would be so cool. You could win the lottery, become a superhero—or take the boring (but practical) route and stop truck breakdowns before they happen.

Fullbay can’t give you actual superpowers (though that would be a fantastic selling point). But we can help you with the next best thing—an easy way to schedule preventive maintenance.

Below, you’ll find the information you need to manage PMs and create a heavy-duty equipment maintenance schedule.

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Everyone’s familiar with the typical type of reactive maintenance, like a flat tire. Something went wrong with the truck, so now you need to repair the broken components and get your vehicle back on the road. It’d be like sending a truck to the emergency room for immediate help.

Corrective maintenance is similar to reactive maintenance, but a little less immediate. Maybe a component’s performance has started to drop, but it’s still functioning for now. 

Sticking with the medical comparison, this is when your truck has developed a fever or a cough. You make an appointment with the truck doctors to get a prescription. You might have to wait a few days, but you’ll still likely get the fix before things get worse. 

On the other hand, preventive maintenance (and its extension, predictive maintenance) is proactive—meaning you can address issues before they happen. You find and fix something before it gets to the point of needing corrective or reactive maintenance.

“Oh, I know this one!” you’re saying. “It’s like a truck going to their yearly physical.”

Exactly! But preventive can (and should) involve more than just periodic, fleet-wide inspections. 

Calendar-based preventive maintenance and condition-based predictive maintenance should work together for best results. After all, each truck drives different routes and experiences different conditions. A truck that drives longer routes with more uphills, for example, might need more frequent checkups.

Preventive maintenance needs will vary depending on the type of heavy equipment, too. Construction fleets and AG/Farming equipment, for example, live a very different life than a fleet of heavy-duty diesel trucks. 

Benefits of Preventive Maintenance

Seeing into the future isn’t easy, especially when the future is different for each and every truck in a fleet. But keeping up on PMs comes with a lot of benefits, and it’s worth every ounce of time and effort.

Increased Operational Efficiency and Productivity

The time your trucks spend in the shop is time they could have spent on the road. Unexpected breakdowns and emergency repairs are bad news—for your wallet and for your schedule. Dealing with PMs in the present helps you avoid days (if not weeks) of downtime later on. 

Cost-Saving Potential

It shouldn’t be shocking to hear that trucks last longer when they get the attention they need. Taking care of minor issues prevents them from getting worse—and potentially doing severe damage to your fleet.

Altogether, that means preventive maintenance helps extend asset lifespans and reduce replacement costs for parts and new trucks. 

Enhanced Workplace Safety and Risk Mitigation

You don’t need us to tell you how important safety is—but it’s always worth mentioning again. Minimizing breakdowns through preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to minimize accidents and keep drivers safe.

Preventive Maintenance Approaches and Strategies

We touched on it a bit earlier, but there are a few different ways to go about scheduling and managing preventive maintenance. Before you jump into creating your preventive maintenance schedule, here are some of the strategies and technologies that can help you out.

Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) 

Also known as predictive maintenance, condition-based preventive maintenance draws on data to estimate when a part will go wrong.

Remember that truck that drives longer routes with more uphills? Over time, your data might show that trucks driving this particular route get more frequent engine troubles than trucks driving a less stressful route. You can work this into your predictive maintenance schedule to make sure those trucks get engine inspections more often.

Calendar-Based Maintenance Scheduling

Compared to condition-based maintenance, calendar- or time-based maintenance scheduling comes at regular intervals. This could be annual or semi-annual checks that you perform across your entire fleet. The manufacturer’s guide will likely have specific recommendations around how often to replace certain parts, too.

Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)

Between condition-based and calendar-based maintenance across an entire fleet, keeping track of everything can quickly get out of hand. So work smarter, not harder. Fleet management and maintenance software (like Fullbay) can take over the necessary data collecting, tracking, and scheduling to manage PMs like a pro.

Your fleet maintenance and management software can include a lot of neat features, like automating aspects of communication for your fleet or repair shop. For fleet managers, tracking software can automate alerts when maintenance is due, then help direct drivers to a repair shop. Meanwhile, software automation can help independent shops quickly request service authorization from fleet customers.

Fleet maintenance scheduling tools can also let you know if a truck has any other services due soon, add it to the service order, and take care of everything in a single trip!

How to Get Started with Preventive Maintenance Scheduling

There’s a decent chance you already run periodic inspections of the trucks in your fleet. That’s great—checking on your trucks’ well-being every six months is a massive improvement over not performing maintenance at all.

Creating a full-fledged maintenance schedule for your fleet is a bit more complex than just checking on trucks twice a year. It considers individual trucks’ needs, which means each truck will be on its own personalized schedule.

The best place to start is by forming a complete picture of your assets’ current condition. As soon as you can, begin keeping track of the dates and details associated with:

  • Inspections
  • Repairs
  • Gas station stops
  • Any other relevant events

But you don’t have to handle this process on your own—today’s technological advances can make it much more manageable. GPS integration can help you automatically track vehicle mileage, and fleet management software can organize the data for you. No more getting lost in an Inception-like world of spreadsheets!

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Once you have somewhere to start, it’s time to create a heavy equipment preventive maintenance checklist. Preventive maintenance involves a bunch of moving parts, so this will help you stay organized and on track.

Your fleet inspection inspection checklist should include things like:

  • Electrical components
  • Lighting
  • Brakes
  • Hydraulic system
  • Mirrors
  • Batteries
  • And much, much more

If you use Fullbay, you know all about building your own maintenance checklist within the app. Techs can mark off inspection items one by one on their phone, tablet, or laptop, helping them stay on track without forgetting any crucial steps.

We also made a Heavy Equipment Maintenance Checklist to help you out. If you prefer paper copies or need a physical record for documentation purposes, the checklist is downloadable so you can print a bunch of copies and then hand them out to techs.

Did you miss that link? Here it is again. It’s free, so go grab your copy. 

Now, here’s the most important part: use your checklist every time. Perform the full inspection every time.

Let’s say you have a truck scheduled for a single preventive maintenance item. That means you can take care of that issue and call it a day, right? Not quite. No matter how small a vehicle’s issues may seem, you should perform a full inspection.

If you’re in charge of an independent shop, the benefits are obvious—the more services you provide, the more money you’ll make. And if you manage a commercial fleet, thorough inspections deliver peace of mind and catch potential issues well ahead of time.

Choose Fullbay for Your Preventive Maintenance Needs

If you’ve been neglecting preventive maintenance due to the sheer effort required to handle it manually, you’re not alone. That said, there’s no better time than the present to develop and stick to a heavy-duty preventive maintenance schedule. And Fullbay can help!

As a top provider of fleet maintenance management software, we make managing PMs a piece of cake. And once a truck is in the bay, our service order workflow includes a handy electronic inspection checklist to help your technicians focus on their job and mark every single item complete.

Enjoy a more efficient, reliable, and safe fleet without adding extra workload to your team. See for yourself—set up a demo today!

Emilie Vecera