Let’s face it! While Mother Nature is incredibly generous in the way it provides, it can be unforgiving at times. This is especially true for fleets that are not well equipped with the data-oriented approach to inspection and replacement to reduce downtime. This is where using a GPS tracking device for effective fleet management becomes all the more necessary.
As the “cooling off" month (fall) starts rolling in, fleets that don’t take seasonal maintenance seriously can encounter a unique set of challenges. That’s why, it’s critical for fleet managers to ensure that no dead battery, for example, or faulty equipment has the potential to cause delays in effective operation.
Why Take Special Vehicle Care Before Fall and Winter?
With summer but a fading memory, and fall around the corner, it’s time to prepare vehicles for the upcoming winter months. Now that summer is gone, it's easy to overlook how heat took a toll on a vehicle’s performance. Engine overheating, issues in the sensors, & air conditioning system happen as a result of extreme humidity and heat in the environment.
Roads play a vital role in ensuring the smooth operation of your fleet. Fall and winter tend to bring unique road challenges for fleet drivers, which can be overcome with an effective fall vehicle maintenance checklist.
It’s no secret that winter breezes can create an outright roadway challenge in the form of ice, and snow. As cooler temperatures start to settle in, rain showers and storms are about to come our way.
Due to a notable change in the weather, it becomes quite difficult to drive during winter. Not only do the dropping temperatures affect your vehicle’s health, but significant changes in road conditions also follow.
Extreme weather elements like snow and storms could result in flat tires, dying batteries (due to freezing temperatures during winter), and faulty heating systems.
Now the question is, “How do you ensure your fleet vehicles are prepared for driving in the upcoming season?" It’s as simple as servicing the essential parts of your vehicles ahead of time. Fleet vehicles that are not inspected and serviced on and ahead of time can lead to increased downtime and decreased fuel economy.
Common Myths about Vehicle Maintenance
We have all heard myths about how we should maintain vehicles. Often, we don’t know for a fact if they are true or not. So, let’s debunk a few of those to start with.
Myth: There are lubricants and other additives in modern engine oil that help extend the oil’s lifetime. For vehicles that are 15-year-old or newer, it’s recommended to change oil at intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
Fact: Soot and other impurities are derived from the combustion process, which in turn, get absorbed by the engine oil, compromising the quality of the oil. The US Department of Energy suggests checking with the vehicle’s maintenance manual to determine the proper oil change frequency.
Myth: There’s no need to change brake fluid.
Fact: Brakes are the most essential safety tools on vehicles. Ensuring they’re in good working condition should be a priority for fleet managers. The recommended intervals for changing brake fluid are two- or three-year. However, it depends on the vehicle’s make and model, so it’s best to follow the car’s maintenance schedule.
Myth: Tires should be replaced once the tread depth reaches 4/32" during winter months, and 2-32" during summertime.
Fact: While most manufacturers, these days, and certain regulations in most states suggest that drivers should wait until tread depth reaches the above-mentioned levels, it causes a potential safety hazard for the driver and the occupants inside.
The Fall Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
- Is Your Vehicle’s Battery Working Fine?
Nothing is more effective than inspecting your vehicle’s battery before it’s too late. That way, you know that the cables and terminals are well-protected from harsh weather elements. Batteries tend to wear down over time, so, it makes sense to be proactive about replacing or repairing them.
- Worn Tires are Safety Hazards
Did you know that your vehicle’s mileage can be increased by 0.6% by keeping tires inflated to the optimal pressure? Without proper maintenance (like correct inflation pressure), tires are more likely to fail, causing drivers to lose traction on the toad. Worn tires can be dangerous, especially when the roads are wet. So, experts recommend measuring your tire’s pressure at least once a month. Also, before inflating the tires, it’s good to check the recommended tire pressure.
- Is the Heating System in Good Shape?
Before the temperatures start dropping, checking the heating system of your vehicle can make a world of difference. After sitting idle for months, the heating system of your vehicle may not function up to par. Without checking its efficiency before fall and winter, you are more likely to get stranded on the road.
- Headlights are Important Too
Headlights are vehicles’ first line of defense, especially at night and in adverse weather conditions. With time, exposure to the elements can cause them to become damaged. Dirt and debris can accumulate on the surface, causing the lenses to grow unclear, and lessen the intensity of light coming out. That’s why it’s important to regularly check the headlights and make sure the glasses are crystal clear.
Automate Fleet Vehicle Maintenance with GPS Tracking
Besides taking measures to keep your fleet’s costs under check, creating a safer experience for your fleet drivers is important too. With automation taking the world by storm, fleet managers are now in a better position to deal with complex vehicle maintenance tasks with greater accuracy.
In this era that we live in, the advent of digital fleet tracking is not only vital in managing a fleet of vehicles but it also helps create and stick to a regular vehicle maintenance schedule.
With GPS tracking technology, now fleets can keep tabs on the vehicles, streamline vehicle maintenance, optimize productivity, and more. from keeping records, setting up alerts regarding vehicle health & maintenance, tracking driver habits & giving them the necessary training, and creating schedules to tracking records in real-time, there’s virtually no limit as to how much you can gain.
Want to know how Vyncs can help? Do reach out to us for further information!