Fleet companies often have to deal with major fleet maintenance expenses that affect their bottom lines and prevent them from utilizing their vehicles to their full potential. However, if you focus on reducing these costs from the get-go before your vehicle goes to the maintenance shop, you can effectively manage the factors that lead to a spike in them.
Let’s explore some preventative ways that can help you cut down your maintenance expenditure!
8 Ways to Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs
Here are eight ways in which you can try to reduce your overall fleet maintenance costs:
1. Determine Your Fleet’s Age and Duty Cycle
If you determine the age of your fleet, you can use a repair vs. replace (RVR) method to reduce your maintenance overhead. RVR is essentially a function that helps you compare repair at hand, the current worth of the unit, and the approximate cost of replacement to figure out whether to choose repair or replacement for the unit.
Moreover, you need to determine the duty cycle of the vehicles in your fleet since it will have an effect on many factors, including maintenance needs and costs. Meanwhile, the duty cycle of the vehicle is heavily affected by driver behavior, which boils down to how responsible and safe the driver is while driving their vehicle. Rough use of the vehicle will certainly cut down its duty cycle and result in frequent maintenance.
Likewise, the age of our vehicle will also have a key role in determining its maintenance needs. Depending on the age of your vehicles, you can take preemptive measures to reduce overall maintenance costs.
2. Calculate the Cost of Downtime
The cost of downtime is often overlooked since it’s a bit challenging to quantify. However, it is a significant factor that adds to the overall fleet maintenance costs due to the loss of productivity and revenue.
Drivers sitting at your establishment without a vehicle to drive aren’t going to make you any money. But you have to pay them during the downtime, despite not generating any income from the vehicle assigned to them.
You can reduce your vehicle’s downtime by partnering with service vendors who have a deep understanding of the needs of fleets. It will help you implement effective preventive maintenance (PM) plan to reduce the number of avoidable repairs.
You can also look into leveraging a partnership with a fleet management company to ensure quick repairs. It will also help you expedite backorders and support the diagnosis of complex vehicle problems.
Make sure that your plan includes ancillary services that offer roadside assistance, vehicle replacement, downtown management, and more. This way, you can support your drivers and make sure they are behind the wheel and not waiting on the sidelines for their vehicles to get repaired.
3. Create and Implement a Preventive Maintenance Strategy
If you want to reduce maintenance costs, you must pay close attention to your PM strategy and adhere to its parameters for effective results. It’s because if your fleet doesn’t implement customized preventative maintenance, it will result in higher maintenance costs and more downtime. It’s why you must customize your PM strategy to account for your vehicle’s age, mileage, intended job function, operating region, and more.
You must also instill a sense of accountability in your drivers to ensure their compliance with your specific PM parameters to maintain control over your maintenance spending. A strong PM strategy will also help you build an effective maintenance program to ensure your vehicles stay on the road. It will also increase the overall lifespan of your fleet units and stabilize your operating costs.
4. Educate Your Fleet Operators
You need to educate your operators to reduce overall spending by reducing accidents, moving violations, fuel consumption, and general wear and tear. If you implement an overarching plan to proactively prompt drivers when PM is needed, you can reduce many of your fleet maintenance costs outside of the shop. After all, well-maintained vehicles have fewer costly repair and maintenance needs.
It’s why you need driver education to support your PM strategy. If you teach them even simple concepts, such as the basics of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) regeneration, it can prevent many trips to the repair shop to address check engine light concerns and DPF failure.
Additionally, regular pressure checks for appropriate tire inflation can also reduce your maintenance costs and downtime. More than 70% of tire failures can be traced back to underinflated tires. You can avoid these repair costs by educating your drivers on the benefits of regular tire inflation checkups.
5. Invest in Telematics
Telematics also plays a key role in helping you monitor driver performance and improve fleet safety, which can ultimately reduce your maintenance spending. Implementing a comprehensive telematics solution can help you have greater access and visibility to the vehicle’s mileage, utilization, driver behavior, and more. It will effectively enable you to accurately assess the maintenance trends and prevent costly repairs by tailoring your OM strategy to the precise nature of your fleet.
6. Look into Alt-Fuels
You might think that alt-fuel trucks will end up costing you a lot; hence they are not a smart investment. However, despite their upfront cost, alt-fuel vehicles will ultimately lead to cost savings. Compressed natural gas (CNG) burns cleaner than gasoline, which leaves fewer deposits in the engine. It means that there are fewer chances of engine oil breakdown and reduced internal wear and engine failure, leading to reduce fleet maintenance spending.
Moreover, diesel technology also has made significant advancements over the last few decades and is the popular choice among vocational fleets. Units running on diesel can survive extended idle time, which results in a longer life than their gasoline counterparts.
Additionally, electric vehicle technology is rapidly taking over the eco-conscious fleet industry. If you’re worried about the upfront costs, calculate the whole life cost of the vehicles before making an investment.
7. Manage and Improve Driver Behavior
Your drivers are a crucial factor affecting overall maintenance management and costs. Trained drivers can identify maintenance needs before they become too costly. It’s where company culture and thorough training can help you reduce your overall costs. Also, driver behavior can impact a truck’s duty cycle, which will impact its maintenance needs. Training our drivers in fleet safety and the appropriate driving parameters can help you reduce the maintenance requirements of your vehicles.
8. Try Out Mobile Services
Mobile services that offer off-hour support for preventative and scheduled repairs can help you reduce downtime by bringing the repair shop to your vehicle. These services include maintenance, repairs, mobile fuel, and more. By trusting a reliable service provider, you can schedule regular off-hour maintenance to ensure that your vehicles don’t break down on the road and require costly repairs down the road.
Use the aforementioned tips to reduce your fleet maintenance spending and enhance the performance of your vehicles!