Does your business depend on a fleet of commercial vehicles? Breakdowns are part of running a commercial trucking fleet, and a reality of day to day operations that every business will need to deal with at some point.
Commercial truck breakdowns can be very expensive. Not only is there the cost of repairing the vehicle and replacing faulty parts, there’s also the lost productivity and revenue that a vehicle out of action causes for your business.
Add in overtime pay for the driver, towing costs and customer service costs into the mix and even a “small” breakdown can have significant costs.
Because of this, it’s important for your business to take as many steps as possible to keep its trucking fleet in optimal condition and reduce the frequency and severity of breakdowns.
Below, we’ve shared four proven tips, techniques and tactics that your business can use to cut down on the number of vehicular breakdowns you deal with on an annual basis, reduce costs, improve reliability and get more from your commercial vehicle fleet.
Take Preventive Maintenance Seriously
While some breakdowns are unavoidable, many can be avoided through a thorough program of preventive maintenance.
Although a preventive maintenance program has some short-term costs, it can produce savings for your business by reducing the frequency of breakdowns, as well as reducing the severity of breakdowns that occur.
Running a PM program is all about understanding your vehicles. Pay attention to each vehicle’s manufacturer preventive maintenance intervals and make sure your commercial vehicles have a complete servicing when required.
Preventive maintenance is particularly important if your fleet is constantly on the go and under heavy usage. Often, it’s best to schedule PM servicing before it’s required to create a reminder that each servicing deadline is approaching.
Regular maintenance and servicing aren’t without cost. However, over the long term, the cost of paying close attention to your vehicles is trivial compared to the huge costs that can result from an unexpected breakdown.
Avoid Deferring Vehicular Maintenance
Many businesses defer maintenance for financial reasons, often to push costs over to the next month or quarter. While this can work in the short term, over the long term it boosts the risk of your vehicles running into reliability and performance issues.
The key benefit of preventive maintenance isn’t just that it reduces the risk of breakdowns, but also that it lets your technicians spot potential issues before they can occur.
Defer maintenance and you might enjoy better numbers in the short term, but “small” problems can, in turn, evolve into major issues that might go unnoticed until they develop into a damaged or broken down vehicle at the worst possible time.
Check The “Small Things” Before Every Journey
Not all breakdowns occur because of insufficient preventive maintenance. Sometimes, a small, isolated issue such as a slightly underinflated tire can develop quickly, eventually resulting in a blowout at the worst possible time.
Often, environmental factors can have a fast and sudden impact on your vehicles, affecting the tire pressure, coolant, and other factors. These “small” issues can all have big consequences on the road, making it important to be aware of them when they happen.
The best way to stay on top of these small problems is to carry out a detailed inspection before any journey. From brakes to electronics, tire pressure, oil and engine coolant and more, staying on top of the “small” things that can go wrong makes avoiding big breakdowns much easier.
Keep Your Vehicles Up To Date
Finally, it’s important to keep your commercial fleet up to date. As the years go by, even a well-maintained truck can start to develop reliability issues as a result of wear and tear on its parts, chassis, and engine.
Replacing your vehicles and updating your fleet is an important part of keeping reliability high and avoiding breakdowns. There’s a reason classic cars aren’t known for reliability. It is a reality that’s also true for older, heavily used commercial vehicles.
While there’s no need to update your fleet every few years, it’s always good to be aware of the realities of regular use on your vehicles and to plan ahead for the next fleet upgrade.
Ensure and Protect Your Commercial Vehicles
Is your commercial fleet insured? From long-haul commercial haulers to tow trucks and dump trucks, a comprehensive and reliable commercial truck insurance coverage is also needed.