A Checklist For Fleet Managers
As a fleet manager or owner, with the safety and reliability of your vehicles being top priority, regular fleet vehicle inspections play a crucial role in ensuring the optimal functioning of your fleet and preventing unexpected breakdowns. But a fleet manager’s day-to-day can make it difficult to stay on top of incoming issues.
To make it easier for you, in this blog, we have a check list of the most common issues to look out for during fleet truck and vehicle inspections. With a layered combination of driver inspections, regular technician inspections, alongside remote diagnostics & predictive analytics, a fleet manager is able to eliminate any chances for missing unplanned fleet downtime, resulting in saved expenses and a more efficient fleet operation starting from the driver, to delivery, to the maintenance shops.
Top 8 common issues to look out for in truck maintenance
1. Tires and Wheels
Starting an inspection with the tires and wheels is essential for safety and efficiency. Look for signs of uneven tread wear, cracks, bulges, or any other damage. Ensure the tire pressure is at the recommended level and check for proper wheel alignment. Adequate tire maintenance will improve fuel efficiency, extend tire life, and reduce the risk of accidents. With TPMS connected to your telematics, systems like Pitstop can send you alerts about slow tire leaks and abnormal tire wear.
2. Braking System
According to NHTS, of the collisions caused by vehicle-related causes, 22% of those are brake-related. During inspections, pay close attention to brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid levels. Check for signs of excessive wear or damage. Spongy or unresponsive brakes require immediate attention, as they can compromise the vehicle’s stopping power and endanger the driver and cargo. Predictive analytics can play a role by analyzing the decceleration of every trip, accurately identifying vehicles at risk of unsafe brakes.
To read more about AI and brake wear, download this free white paper.
3. Lights and Signals
Properly functioning lights and signals are essential for clarity and communication on the road, especially when drivers have routes in rural locations where visibility of the surroundings are poor. Inspect headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights, and emergency flashers. Replace any burnt-out bulbs and ensure that all lights are aligned correctly. This not only enhances safety for the driver but also helps to avoid potential legal issues (failure to use turn signals can cost a driver $150 in fees).
4. Fluid Levels
Regularly checking fluid levels is vital for maintaining the optimal performance of your fleet. Inspect the engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. Low fluid levels can lead to engine damage, overheating, or brake failure. Top up or replace fluids as needed, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. For Diesel engines, the DEF/UREA fluid can be the source of engine de-rates. With predictive maintenance monitoring the rate of consumption, while analyzing the severity and clusters of emissions fault codes, fleet managers can accurately predict de-rates 9 days in advance, allowing for their technicians to properly prepare and schedule for repairs. To see how a fleet saw this live ROI happen through predictive analytics, watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYIyPhKi86g
5. Belts and Hoses
Inspecting belts and hoses is next in preventing any breakdowns. Look for signs of wear, cracks, leaks, or loose connections. Damaged belts can cause engine overheating or failure, while faulty hoses can lead to coolant leaks and other serious issues. As you’ll want to replace any worn-out or damaged belts and hoses as soon as possible, it’s helpful to keep a supply readily available.
6. Suspension and Steering
A well-maintained suspension and steering system contribute to a smooth and controlled ride. This is often the first thing a driver will notice when it requires attention. During inspections, check for signs of worn-out shocks or struts, damaged ball joints, or loose steering components. Proper alignment and suspension ensure better handling, tire wear, and overall vehicle stability.
7. Battery and Electrical System
Inspecting the battery and electrical system is crucial for preventing unexpected breakdowns. Check the battery terminals for corrosion, ensure tight connections, and test the battery’s charge. Inspect the alternator, starter motor, and wiring for any signs of damage or wear. A well-maintained electrical system ensures reliable vehicle operation and avoids unnecessary downtime. With predictive maintenance, fleets can rest assured that they will get critical alerts for weak batteries, weeks ahead of no start conditions, as well as alerts for starter motor & alternator issues.
Here is how one government fleet, City of Long Beach, capitalized on predictive analytics to stay ahead of battery failure:
“When the shop called to inform me that I had vehicles that were about to lose their charge, I was amazed. I couldn’t believe they had that time of insight into our vehicles to predict future issues. Their team is consistently looking to improve their operation and the customer experience, and this is just another example of them being on the cutting edge of technology.” Keith Haynes, Utilities Supervisor II
8. Exterior and Interior
Last on the checklist during fleet inspections is not overlook the exterior and interior of the vehicles. Check for body damage, rust, loose panels, or broken mirrors. Inspect the seats, seat belts, and other safety features. Addressing these issues promptly helps maintain the professional appearance of your fleet and enhances driver, passenger safety and of course overall brand reputation of your business.
Regular fleet vehicle inspections are essential for maintaining a safe and reliable fleet. By identifying and addressing common issues early on, fleet managers and owners can minimize downtime, reduce maintenance costs, and ensure the longevity of their vehicles. From tires and brakes to fluids and electrical systems, each component plays a vital role in the overall performance of a vehicle. By following a comprehensive inspection checklist and addressing issues promptly, a fleet manager can rest assure their operations are running at it’s full efficiency. Coupling this strategy with AI predictive analytics, can help fleets automatically detect issues that are going to fail with high accuracy, allowing significant time back to the fleet manager where he or she would have been manually evaluating it.
Physical Inspections with AI inspections is the way to equip your fleet with highest level of Uptime.
To learn more about supercharging your Fleet Vehicle Inspection with Pitstop, book a demo today: https://pitstopconnect.com/book-a-demo/
About the Author
Shiva Bhardwaj is the Founder and CEO of Pitstop, a powerful predictive maintenance software for the transportation and automotive industry.