Aug 01, 2023

Maintaining Your Fleet: 7 Preventive Maintenance Benefits

Maintaining Your Fleet: 7 Preventive Maintenance Benefits

Preventive maintenance can help keep your fleet in great shape, save on fuel, and even extend the lifespan of your equipment. There’s just one problem: Some people insist this service should instead be spelled “preventative maintenance.”

Eventually, your shop will need to take a stand in the heavy-duty repair industry’s most heated debate since the great “tag axle vs. pusher axle” rivalry. When that time comes, here’s our argumentative essay on why preventive is superior.

…Yeah, that’s not actually the premise of this blog. But no matter how you spell it, preventive maintenance is something your shop can’t afford to ignore. Keep reading for an in-depth look at the preventive maintenance benefits that should be on your radar.

1. Reduce Downtime and Increase Productivity

Believe it or not, unexpected breakdowns can happen anywhere—not just at your therapist’s office! Of course, this term has a very different meaning in the world of heavy-duty equipment. But breakdowns in people and heavy-duty trucks have one thing in common: they’re often caused by neglect.

If you don’t take preventive maintenance seriously, you might miss one or more serious issues with your trucks. These issues will only get worse over time and eventually impact operations.

When that happens, you could find yourself dealing with lost or delayed shipments, irate customers, and some “unexpected breakdowns” of your own. On the other hand, reducing downtime across your fleet will make you more productive than ever before.

2. Extend Vehicle Lifespan

What’s the easiest way to save money on new trucks? If you said “buying used,” you’re close—but no cigar. In fact, the simplest way to save on new vehicles is not having to buy them at all!

(You still don’t get a cigar if that was your answer, though. Smoking in a repair shop is a bad idea.)

Keeping up with preventive maintenance extends a truck’s lifespan, meaning you won’t have to replace it sooner than you expect. All trucks will eventually reach their natural end, but proper care delays that as long as possible.

3. Save Money on Repairs

A tire that’s slightly under pressure is fast, easy, and cheap to fix. But if you ignore that pressure until the tire blows out, you suddenly have a much more expensive situation on your hands.

In other words, stay diligent about preventive maintenance and you’ll catch issues before they get worse. By creating an inspection checklist and sticking to it, you’ll know you’re taking the best possible care of your fleet.

4. Improve Fuel Efficiency

Go above and beyond by prioritizing preventive maintenance services like oil changes, engine tune-ups, tire pressure checks, and air filter replacements. These can all boost your fleet’s overall fuel efficiency and directly reduce fuel expenses.

Regular checks with fuel efficiency in mind also helps you avoid a situation known as “fuel complacency.” Even when fuel costs are low, don’t let yourself forget the importance of fuel efficiency across your fleet. It’s still a recurring cost that eats away at your profits in the background, after all.

5. Enhance Safety for Driver and Cargo

The importance of safety in the trucking industry can’t be overstated, especially when heavy equipment maintenance issues cause several deaths every day.

Even if you don’t run into the worst-case scenario, your drivers certainly won’t want to operate unsafe equipment. And if you ask them to do so, there’s a good chance they’ll seek employment elsewhere.

The first step you can take toward protecting your shipments and workers is increasing your focus on preventive maintenance. Make a point of completing pre- and post-trip inspections along with other periodic maintenance efforts.

6. Avoid Fines

Every year, the trucks in your fleet will need to go through DOT inspections to ensure they comply with Department of Transportation regulations.

You can drop trucks off at a shop for these inspections, but an inspector could also pull them over. If your vehicles aren’t ready for a review when this happens, you could get hit with a hefty fine.

The easy solution? Make sure your trucks don’t have anything wrong with them in the first place. Preventive maintenance benefits will go a long way toward keeping your heavy equipment in the best possible condition—whether it’s time for an inspection or not.

7. Preserve Resale Value

There’s an old trucking industry saying that we just made up: “A truck is a lot like a house. You could live in it, but you also might want to sell it at some point.”

Keeping your home in good shape can significantly increase its resale value later on, and the same principle applies to the heavy equipment in your fleet. Staying up-to-date on preventive maintenance ensures your trucks remain in good condition even as they age.

If you eventually decide to sell one or more vehicles in your fleet, every check-up you gave them before that point will pay off—literally!

Prevent Preventive Maintenance Mishaps

Whether you prefer to spell the process of keeping up with your trucks’ maintenance needs “preventive” or “preventative” maintenance, we can all agree on one thing. “Preventive maintenance” is the correct term for this job, and everyone who says otherwise is wrong.

In all seriousness, there are loads of incredible preventive maintenance benefits, but tracking PMs might also be trickier than you expect. You’ll need to know and track the repair histories and part needs for every truck in your fleet—among other details. And when different driving conditions, distances, and truck drivers add variables to your tracking efforts, a “one-size-fits-all” solution just won’t cut it.

Luckily, there’s a much easier way to handle this—let us do the hard work for you! With Fullbay’s heavy-duty repair shop software, you can automatically keep track of upcoming PMs and get alerts when it’s time for a check-up and so, so much more. See for yourself with a free demo.

Emilie Vecera