Fleet Management: 5 Ways to Cut Repair and Maintenance Costs

When you have a fleet of vehicles in your business, keeping it in good condition can be a challenge. When your business depends on the fleet to get your revenue, the last things you want to deal with are maintenance situations caused by engine malfunctions or faulty brakes. Additionally, drivers are typically hesitant to report problems. The expense of repairing and taking a vehicle for servicing can be high because not only are you spending money to fix the problem, but the vehicle you are spending money on is not making you any money while it is in the shop. Because of this, fleet management is an essential skill that business owners should develop when their revenue depends on reliable transportation.

Below, we discuss ways in which a fleet manager or owner can reduce the cost of repairing and maintaining vehicles:

Avoid Unnecessary Use

With company vehicles, it can be tempting to just take them for a spin to run non-business-related errands. Some extra use is to be expected, however depending on your business, this could get out of hand if clear rules are not put in place for what is or is not allowed. Make sure you draft up a list of rules that your drivers are aware of to prevent frivolous uses. This protects your assets in a physical way, but also protects you from liability if the vehicle becomes involved in an accident on a non-business-related errand.

Additionally, unnecessary trips increase the mileage, which increases the wear and tear and reducing the life of the vehicle. Leaving a vehicle running during offloading wastes fuel, wears down the parts, and is bad for the environment. There are a variety of tools you can use to record the business uses of your fleet. Make use of all of them and hold your people accountable for unauthorized non-business use.

Optimize Your Fleet Replacement Cycle

Knowing when to replace vehicles can be challenging. As they age, parts are more prone to damage and failures. Operating with old vehicles becomes uneconomical because they must be taken for repair and maintenance more often, meaning they are making you less money while costing you money to maintain. Fleet owners might fear incurring a cost during the replacement process, but an investment into a new vehicle can save a lot of money in the long run. New vehicles often have better fuel efficiency, advanced safety features (always a win for liability reasons), and improved diagnostic tools. Whether you are running a rental service or you are looking for cranes for sale for your construction fleet, investing in new vehicles can be the right answer if the maintenance time and cost of your old vehicles means they are costing you more money than they are bringing in. Make them last if you reasonably can but remember that choosing the proper cycle for replacement can optimize your cost/benefit ratio.

Regular Maintenance and Loss Prevention Measures

Please do not wait until your vehicle has broken down to take it for regular repairs as a fleet manager. Take the vehicles to the mechanic in regular intervals for diagnostics and service. Discovering a problem before a breakdown can save you a lot of trouble, because then the repairs happen on your terms. Set a schedule for your fleet repair and maintenance at convenient times and efficiently.

For security, using a GPS tracker/tracking system on your vehicles so you can track the vehicle in case of theft. There are a variety of vehicle tracking tools available so you can track the location of your fleet in real time. This can be a lifesaver if your business does not have a secure lot or a garage to house its vehicles.

Reduced Fleet Size

Sometimes the problems with fleet costs come from having too many vehicles. Idle vehicles that aren’t being used are still costing you money. Identify vehicles that are utilized, under-utilized, and not utilized at all. Look at your business need and determine the number of vehicles that can be removed. Some vehicles can do a better job than others but owning a vehicle that you rarely need for a job isn’t efficient, and it would be better to rent the vehicles on an as-needed basis than to buy one outright to side idle in your lot. Removing the unnecessary vehicles in your fleet will reduce the operating expenses of maintaining superfluous vehicles.

Do Some Repairing and Maintenance Yourself

Some problems require an expert, but you can save money by learning and doing some of your own maintenance as part of your vehicles’ regular upkeep.

  • Regularly check the pressure of the tires
  • Replace the engine air filter
  • Replace the windshield wipers
  • Monitor fluid levels and top off any that are low

Handling minor issues will save you the money that a professional charges. Familiarize yourself with the vehicles you manage and increase your knowledge and competency with the vehicles in your care. Spending some time educating yourself on your vehicles’ quirks and features will pay dividends.

Utilize Your Warranties and Keep Track of Your Paperwork

As a fleet owner, do not pay for services when your vehicle is covered under warranty. Keep fleet maintenance records using both online and paper records if possible. Keeping track of your paperwork is crucial when filing warrantees. Update all the information about the vehicle to make filing easy when damages occur. Prioritize getting service from mechanics who have written guarantees for the quality of their work.

A lot the cost of repair and maintenance depends on the fleet owner and the manager. You should be consistent in monitoring the vehicles for any problems or needs of maintenance, set clear rules about appropriate business uses, and handle as much maintenance in-house as you can. Being proactive will save you a lot of money and headaches.