When it comes to running a successful business, there’s a good chance that you will need a fleet of vehicles.
You can use commercial vehicles for anything to do with your company’s daily operations, from transporting goods to taking customers or employees from one place to another. Managing a fleet of vehicles can be much more sophisticated than owning a car for personal use. With laws and regulations on workplace health & safety, it’s essential to reduce the risk of accidents. If an accident causes severe injuries or even death, you and your business can suffer from reputation damage, financial consequences and criminal charges.
It’s not just about personal injury concerns, however. If your business heavily relies on vehicle access, vehicles must be readily available at all times. Loss of vehicles due to a breakdown or technical issue can disrupt your business and cause a significant loss in revenue. Therefore, you must ensure proper maintenance of your vehicles to prevent accidents, avoid breakdowns and downtime, and minimise costs.
Auto Extract Systems is a fume and dust extraction specialist based in the North West of England. As they have worked with a range of customers across multiple sectors, they know what it takes to safely and properly maintain a fleet of commercial vehicles. Auto Extract has provided us with some tips on maintaining a fleet of commercial vehicles, including the importance of keeping your fleet well maintained.
Why it’s important to have well-maintained commercial vehicles
So why is it so crucial for a company to have a well-maintained fleet? Vehicle maintenance is essentially ensuring that the vehicle is in good working condition. Every critical aspect of the car or truck should be inspected, including oil and coolant levels, tyre pressures, lights, air filters, and so on. Regular maintenance can be costly, but it will save you plenty of money in the long run. Maintaining a vehicle allows you to identify issues and implement fixes before they become more severe and expensive. With a proactive approach, you will reduce the chances of accidents occurring and avoid disruption to your vehicle because of breakdowns. If you adopt a passive strategy instead, you will likely run into all kinds of issues.
Tips for maintaining a commercial fleet
We know why maintenance is essential, but what can you do to achieve effective care of your vehicles? The following few sections will provide some valuable tips to help you maintain your fleet of commercial vehicles.
Appoint a fleet manager
First things first, if you don’t already have one, appoint a dedicated fleet manager. A fleet manager’s role is to look after your company’s vehicles. They will oversee maintenance, manage vital documentation, schedule training and driver availability, and take care of licensing and insurance matters. When you have a team member dedicated to maintaining the fleet, you’re on the right course.
Carry out a maintenance service
If it’s not apparent, the most important thing is to perform maintenance service on the vehicle! We recommend keeping records for each car or truck so that you know when they next need a service. Vehicle maintenance should only be carried out by a professional in a suitable environment, such as a garage. The service will check for issues, carry out repair works, and top up fluids such as windscreen wash and oils.
Wash & clean vehicles
A thorough service may happen every 6-12 months, but you can still take measures to maintain your vehicles before the next one is due. Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do is wash and clean your vehicles at regular intervals. Dirty vehicles not only make your business look unprofessional and off-putting, but they can cause rust and deterioration. Drivers should also be informed of the basics on how to properly take care of the vehicle, such as not leaving food and rubbish behind.
Comply with testing regulations
Different countries have unique guidelines and laws when it comes to workplace safety. Some regulations will state that businesses must regularly test their commercial equipment. In the UK, there are two regulations worth noting: LOLER inspections and LEV testing. LOLER is a series of laws affecting the use of lifting equipment, including vehicle tail lifts. Regular LOLER inspections are required to ensure the safe and proper use of equipment. Local exhaust ventilation systems (LEV), such as car exhaust systems, are regulated to protect people from engaging with hazardous substances. You must carry out LEV testing regularly to ensure that systems are compliant with the Health & Safety Executive. If a company fails to comply with these regulations, not only does it increase the likelihood of accidents occurring, but it will be charged and prosecuted accordingly.
Make the most of technology
If your fleet is at the heart of your business and everything you do, then it’s time to start giving it the attention that it deserves. Fleet maintenance should not be an afterthought or something that you think about at the last minute. In modern times, there are technology solutions available for just about everything, including fleet management. Technology is a cost-effective and convenient way to maximise your operations. Software solutions can include anything from GPS tracking to maintenance reporting, service schedule, and fuel consumption monitoring. With all the data you need in one place, it’s never been easier to analyse and act on what is necessary.