Getting maximum performance out of your fleet vehicles, for as long as possible, can have a tangible impact on your company’s bottom line. Read on to learn:
- Why a preventative maintenance program is important
- How preventative maintenance can benefit mechanical and financial performance
- The impact of COVID-19 on fleet maintenance
- How Lytx’s Preventative Maintenance feature simplifies program creation and management
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Overuse may have turned Benjamin Franklin’s idiom into a cliche, but when it comes to servicing your fleet’s vehicles, preventative maintenance is invaluable. Proactive maintenance is your best bet against parts failure and unplanned downtime, and helps you get maximum value out of vehicles by extending their useful life.
Preventative maintenance is critical to keeping fleet vehicles in top operating condition for as long as possible. That’s why Lytx developed our Preventative Maintenance feature, included in the Lytx Fleet Tracking Service. Now fleet managers can easily set routine maintenance intervals and reminders to help keep vehicles in top working order.
The case for Preventative Maintenance
There are several factors that can impact a fleet’s bottom line: fuel consumption, number of services or deliveries completed, mileage, idle time, customer service, safety, and vehicle wear and tear. Preventative Maintenance is the underpinning for each of those factors.
Properly maintained vehicles consume less fuel, generate better MPG, spend less time out of service due to unexpected mechanical issues, and can be counted on to deliver goods and services on time. Incremental improvements produced as a result of an efficient, effective maintenance program can lead to significant savings.
Think about how much of your budget is allocated to fuel. Fuel costs can make up 30 to 40 percent of a fleet’s cost per mile, according to the American Transportation Research Institute — often the single largest expense in a company’s budget. According to Automotive Fleet:
… one underinflated tire can cut fuel economy by 2% per pound of pressure below the proper inflation level. One out of four drivers, on average, drive vehicles with one or more underinflated tires. When a tire is underinflated by 4 to 5 psi below the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, vehicle fuel consumption increases by 10% and, over time, causes a 15% reduction in tire tread life.
What do all those percentages add up to in potential savings? Government Fleet did the math: “... a fleet of 500 vehicles, each driving 24,000 miles each year, accumulates 12 million total miles annually. A reduction of a mere quarter of a penny per mile will bring savings of $30,000.”
A fleet manager has no control of fuel prices, but may be tasked with finding ways to reduce fuel usage. A preventative maintenance program can help generate savings by simply tracking tire pressure across fleet vehicles to ensure they’re at the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, thereby using less fuel and reducing fuel costs.
The takeaway: a preventative maintenance program has the potential to cut some of your fleet’s largest expenses.
COVID-19 and Preventative Maintenance
Maintenance services didn’t escape the impact of COVID-19. Automotive Fleet reported that the pandemic’s impact on fleet maintenance includes:
Potential for unscheduled maintenance repair increases related to fleet managers extending vehicle life cycles due to budget restrictions
A shortage of replacement parts, tires, and new vehicles that is extending downtime because out-of-stock products are on backorder
Closed or reduced capacity maintenance facilities increasing length of time needed to service a vehicle
The need for, and benefits of, a preventative maintenance plan are clear. Still, finding time to build a plan and process for a fleet of any size can be difficult. And tracking can be a full-time job. The Lytx Preventative Maintenance feature makes it easy by allowing you to create and track your preventative maintenance program where you already keep most of your fleet’s data: your online Lytx account.
How does Lytx’s Preventative Maintenance feature work?
Scheduling maintenance reminders only takes minutes. Set-up and tracking happens in your Lytx Fleet Tracking Service account. The Maintenance link on the main menu takes you to the Preventative Maintenance page. Under Service Management you use the Create Service button to:
Input the maintenance services you need reminders for
Set the distance Interval for those services
Configure how far in advance of the Interval you’re reminded
Identify which vehicles in your account should be tracked
After saving your services, intervals, and vehicles, any vehicles configured for Preventative Maintenance will appear on the Services Due tab, displaying the service as well as how many miles remain before it’s due. Each Service will appear separately with the associated details. Once the maintenance is performed, press Complete, and the data will be displayed in Service History. At that point, Preventative Maintenance will begin a countdown to the next Interval.
When the time comes to cycle vehicles out of your fleet, resale may be an option. The Preventative Maintenance feature gives you the ability to provide a vehicle’s complete maintenance and repair history that potential buyers need without having to dig into paper files. Plus, mapping your maintenance costs over time provides insights for future management decisions and purchases.
A parting history lesson
In 1753 Benjamin Franklin became Postmaster General. Although odometers date back to 15 BCE, Franklin used his renowned skills as an inventor to create an odometer that attached to his carriage. The reason? He wanted to determine which routes were the quickest so he could establish standardized postal rates for all colonies.
Our 2021 Preventative Maintenance feature wouldn't do much for Mr. Franklin's 1753 carriage, but we think you'll like what it can do for your modern fleet vehicles.
Preventative Maintenance System Requirements:
Hardware: Light Duty ECM cable and a Lytx DriveCam SF-series Event Recorder
Service: Lytx Fleet Tracking Service