Truck fleet maintenance does not have to be a headache. We’ve collected some of the top tips to help reduce your total fleet maintenance costs in 2022, alleviating the pressure on your business, and boosting profit margins.
How Do You Maintain a Fleet Truck?
Truck fleet maintenance needs constant upkeep, and you can reduce these maintenance costs through safety, efficiency, and repair measures. The reality is that it can be costly to keep your fleet running, more even than covering your admin and licensing costs.
Therefore, cutting costs in 2022 will all come down to streamlining your maintenance costs. So, how does fleet maintenance work? How do you maintain fleet vehicles? And what are fleet expenses? We discuss.
How Does Fleet Maintenance Work: Types of Fleet Maintenance Costs
There are different types of fleet maintenance costs to be considered. The sum of this is often called the fleet’s total cost of ownership (TCO). A high TCO may indicate a need to replace outdated vehicles or convert to fleet leasing.
This refers to the costs involved in obtaining a fleet.
Fleet repair costs typically increase every year.
Your vehicle’s age will determine the depreciation according to industry-standard rates. Although you cannot avoid this, repairs can keep your vehicles in good enough condition to offset depreciation.
4. Administration and Licensing
Your admin and licensing costs will vary depending on your fleet and vehicle type.
Why is Fleet Vehicle Maintenance Important?
Your TCO determines whether you need to replace vehicles or switch from buying to leasing a fleet.
The regular calculation of your TCO will optimise your understanding of when and how to modify your business’s and drivers’ practices to boost your profit.
How Much Does it Cost to Reduce the Maintenance of a Truck?
To calculate your total cost of ownership successfully, you need to know the prices of each of the major payment points, namely capital, repairs, depreciation, and administration and licensing.
How Can I Improve My Fleet Maintenance: Top Tips When Calculating Your Fleet Maintenance Costs
- It would help if you established the per-mile cost for each expense. Then, divide the repair costs for the month by the number of miles you covered. Once you have this cost per mile for each category, you must add them all to get your per-mile TCO.
- If your fleet has more than one vehicle type, calculating this TCO becomes a bit more tricky.
- To get your fleet maintenance costs, you need to add up all repair, capital, admin and licensing costs per vehicle category.
- Using electronic logging devices (ELD) can help simplify this process.
How Can Fleet Maintenance Cost Be Reduced?
Here are a couple of ways to cut down on your fleet maintenance costs.
1. Retread Tires Instead of Buying New Ones
Tires make up a large portion of a fleet’s costs. While you will need to buy a new set of tires when you reach 120,000 miles, by retreading, you get to stretch the mileage by a significant amount. Retreading allows you to save money on tires without giving up the safety of your fleet.
2. Install Vehicle Tracking Systems
Fleet Management software companies have developed a route optimisation solution to improve drivers’ routes substantially, especially those with multiple stops.
3. Reduce Mileage and Fuel Consumption
A GPS looks for the quickest travelling times and shortest routes, flagging high traffic areas or accidents. Hours spent in traffic wastes fuel. Not only will a GPS save money on fuel across the fleet, but it will also reduce emissions.
Furthermore, vehicle tracking systems can send you a message when a driver speeds, bringing reckless driving habits to your immediate attention.
4. Improve Communication
Stay connected with your team and work together to achieve more through fleet management software.
5. Save Time
Enabling software to manage your fleet allows you to surface information instantly. Furthermore, it’s easy for managers to get driver and vehicle records when they need them.
6. Train Drivers in Fuel-Efficient Driving Methods
Appropriate driving habits help reduce fuel mileage, whereas studies have shown that aggressive driving habits reduce fuel efficiency by up to 40%, depending on local versus highway traffic. Therefore, it’s paramount that drivers undergo proper instruction before entering your fleet.
7. Keep Your Fleet Updated
Stay ahead of the game by updating your fleet in a timely fashion. All vehicles have a limited lifespan during which they will be most fuel-efficient. Instead, update your fleet before the older vehicles cost more in fuel and repairs.
8. Pay Attention to Warranties
Similarly to keeping your vehicles updated, it’s essential to keep in step with all your vehicles’ warranties, as well as those of the ancillary equipment. Don’t wait to look at the warranty until something goes wrong, because then it might already be too late!
9. Compare Insurance Premiums
Do your homework before signing with an insurer. Consider whether going into a pooled resource will give you better rates than the coverage offered as non-pooled insurance.
10. Count the Cost of Downtime
Believe it or not, downtime will cost you! Simply consider the cost of lost productivity and paying drivers to wait for services or replacing vehicle rentals.
11. Employ a Preventive Maintenance Schedule Strategy
What is a fleet maintenance program? How do I write a maintenance plan? Well, an effective fleet maintenance program built on a strong foundation of a comprehensive preventative maintenance strategy keeps vehicles on the road, increasing the overall lifespan of fleet units while stabilising operating costs.
You will need to go through a checklist outlining all preventative maintenance activities that need to be performed during scheduled maintenance. From here, you will need to establish a baseline of current information to compare metrics to and a plan of action and timeline. It’s good to consider fleet preventative maintenance software to help manage this.
12. Educate Your Operators
Many costs can be reduced by implementing a plan to proactively prompt drivers when preventative maintenance is required. Educating your drivers not only empowers them with a heightened sense of responsibility but also impacts your bottom line positively.
13. Properly Spec All Units
Ensure that you employ the right vehicle for the job using proper specifications.
14. Start Conducting Mobile Inspections
You can easily conduct inspections from a mobile app these days. In this way, your drivers can communicate, take photos, and add comments to ensure results are recorded in real-time. This visibility makes it easier for you to plan for fleet maintenance.
15. Track Fleet Service History
It’s important to always keep an eye on and analyse your fleet’s service history. This will help you to increase efficiency moving forward. Past service records allow fleet managers to develop ways to improve their maintenance plans.
16. Establish a Vehicle Replacement Cycle
By monitoring vehicle performance, you can determine the efficiency of the vehicles in your fleet. This ensures that your vehicles are replaced at the proper time.
A data-driven approach to vehicles is the safest and easiest way to go. Implementing a fleet management system will streamline this process.
17. Take Proper Inventory of Parts
Ensure that regularly used parts are readily available as this reduces scheduled maintenance costs by cutting unnecessary vehicle downtime. Similarly, if rarely used parts remain on shelves, inventory costs may rise significantly.
18. Upgrade Your Parts
Exchanging your vehicles’ old parts for new ones will make your fleet more efficient, thereby reducing fleet costs. Consider implementing modifications that will serve you in the long run. For example, truck window tinting can save you money, keep drivers safe and more productive, prevent scratches, etc. Windscreen repair should not be left until the last minute, and it’s always best to repair chips and cracks before it causes significant damage.
19. Decrease the Number of Vehicles in Your Fleet
It will benefit you to spread the number of drivers you have over a smaller fleet to cut costs. However, it’s essential to get this balance right so that drivers are not rushing between stops and causing accidents that could’ve been avoided.
20. Prioritise Smart Fuel Use
An easy yet often overlooked way to minimise fuel waste is to discourage idling and hard braking during fuel efficiency training times. It’s important to teach drivers to switch off their ignition and remove the keys at rest stops. Although these techniques save only a small amount of fuel at a time, your cumulative fuel savings could be substantial in the long run.