Vehicle Maintenance 101

It’s been a week almost that I’ve been suffering from this severe migraine. It took me a week to go see a doctor. When your own health takes a backseat; other important tasks are bound to lag behind. Today’s age of IMs and video conferences don’t leave much time for working professionals. It’s a fast paced life, with work getting done on the go. Oil changes and car services sometimes don’t make the cut when fighting against getting more sleep.

Ignoring that awful noise coming from your car once in a while is ok, right? Wrong. During the cooler months, keeping your vehicle running smoothly and efficiently is of utmost importance. The last thing you want on a rainy December evening is getting stuck on the side of the road during a nasty storm. Vehicle maintenance should be taken seriously, not doing so can leave you open to risks. Interestingly, one of the most asked questions while buying a vehicle is about its maintenance costs. No wonder, discussions among vehicle owners about improved mileage and low maintenance costs are never ending ones. So, we curated some pointers that will help you get more out of your fleet, and spruce up your workhorses.

• Monitor fuel and oil consumption
• Avoid excessive idling
• Say yes to tire care; it’ll help you go a long way. Quite literally.
• Sudden accelerations, although a lot of fun, could hurt your vehicle in the long run.
• Vehicle malfunctions are silent alarms and should be addressed at the earliest.
• It’s a must to have an Inspection Report that allows due assessment of the vehicles to nip any issues before they lead to malfunctions.
• Pre -trip and post trip inspections can help detect any performance issues early on.
• System longevity can be put to risk by fuel additives, thus causing the engine harm.
• Downsizing costs with efficient routing and load optimization.
• Improving the accountability with understanding of the transport chain.
• Prepared for sudden contingencies, to alter delivery plans accordingly.
• Educating and training drivers with driving habits and emergency situations.

Other than these issues the general health of a fleet can be tended to, by keeping the following in mind.
The most important thing all year round on the road is the braking system in good working condition. Any ignorance regarding the brakes is dangerous. My father once told me, brakes are the easiest to take care of; they talk to you if they have a problem. So, any squealing, grinding or difference in the pressure while applying brakes needs to be inspected. Modern brakes systems are sophisticated and easier to care for, with electronic sensors and interrelated safety features in place. It’s hence important to have your brakes serviced by manufacturer-trained service technicians for your make of vehicle. An often overlooked item is the windshield wiper and wiper fluid. These should be checked and replaced/refilled as necessary to help your windshield stay free of cracks and chips.

A good battery can make all the difference to your vehicle. With your battery working extra hard during the colder months, it needs that extra care. The difference between a vehicle instantly humming to life and a vehicle being jump-started on the side of the road is a dead battery. It is always a good idea to have checks in place and avoid unexpected failure. Visibility on the road is an absolute must, so headlamps, tail lamps, fog lamps, parking lights and reverse lights are important. Make sure they are all functioning properly and replace any that are out.

These issues, when they do crop up will need intervention from the management. The key lies in the timely reporting of the issues at their onset. Does the company possess a system that helps communicate these issues to the concerned authority in time to help prevent damages? Is it reliable? That’s where fleet management software comes in. Regular maintenance might sound time consuming and a bit of a hassle. However, in the longer run it will be the cheaper alternative than having your vehicle be a part of a malfunction that threatens fleet safety.

A robust vehicle maintenance program will seem like a miracle 5 years down the line and will pay for itself. It is crucial to make repairs at the earliest and Cartrack can help avoid the hassle with alerts about upcoming vehicle maintenance. Cartrack’s fleet management software will help track everything from time spent idling, mileage, fuel and oil consumption and more with timely alerts for the maintenance that is due.

Master vehicle maintenance with expert tips & tricks. Explore essential insights for keeping your ride in top shape at Cartrack's blog.