Predictive Fleet Maintenance: A Standalone and Complementary Strategy for Fleets - Pitstop

Predictive Fleet Maintenance: A Standalone and Complementary Strategy for Fleets

04 October 2023

Read time: 4 min

A predictable, powerful duo

Fleet maintenance is one of the most critical aspects of managing a fleet of vehicles. It ensures the safety, reliability, and efficiency of your fleet, as well as reduces the costs and risks associated with breakdowns, repairs, and downtime. However, not all fleet maintenance strategies are created equal with many still using old outdated practices simply because it is “good enough.” But there are different approaches to fleet maintenance that vary in their effectiveness, benefits, and challenges, and in today’s supply-constrained world, it’s more important than ever before to advance a fleet strategy in order to stay competitive.

One such approach is predictive fleet maintenance. This strategy leverages real-time telematics data to identify vehicle failures before they occur. In fact, a study found that implementing predictive fleet maintenance can decrease roadside breakdowns by 20% and reduce maintenance costs by 12%. This strategy is thus emerging as both a standalone and complementary strategy for fleets, offering a proactive solution to traditional reactive methods.

Preventive Maintenance: A Traditional Approach

One of the most common and traditional methods of fleet maintenance is preventive maintenance (PM). This approach involves performing scheduled inspections, services, and repairs on your vehicles based on predetermined intervals or mileage. The goal of PM is to prevent potential problems before they occur and extend the lifespan of your vehicles.

However, preventive maintenance strategies also have some limitations and drawbacks. For instance, preventive maintenance can be costly and time-consuming, as it requires frequent visits to the shop and parts replacement. Coupling this with industry-wide technician shortages as well as limited space in the shop, a perfectly healthy vehicle could be soaking up the precious time and resources the fleet has, making some PMs wasteful and inefficient. When a fleet is not taking into account the actual condition and usage of your vehicles, companies could over-maintain or under-maintain their vehicles, leading to unnecessary expenses or unexpected failures.

Predictive Maintenance: A Modern Approach

This is where predictive maintenance (PdM) comes in. PdM is a more advanced and innovative method of fleet maintenance that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to monitor the real-time performance and health of your vehicles. PdM uses sensors, telematics, and service history to collect and analyze data from your vehicles, such as engine temperature, oil pressure, diesel exhaust fluid levels, tire pressure, battery voltage, etc. Predictive maintenance then uses AI algorithms to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies in the data, and predict when a vehicle component is likely to fail or need service.

The goal of predictive maintenance is to optimize fleet maintenance by performing repairs and services only when they are needed, based on the actual condition and usage of your vehicles. PdM can help you improve fleet performance, reduce maintenance costs, increase uptime, enhance safety, and comply with regulations.

PdM + PM = Enhanced Fleet Maintenance

Predictive maintenance can be a standalone strategy for fleet maintenance, as it can replace or reduce the need for preventive maintenance. With a predictive maintenance approach, fleets can eliminate those unnecessary shop visits or part replacements, when a truck could be perfectly healthy. Instead, it helps you focus on the individual health of each vehicle, ensuring you avoid costly breakdowns and unplanned downtime by detecting problems early, to prevent them from escalating. Instead of going in at time-based intervals, a fleet is provided advance notice of any necessary part replacements, at the time they need it most. With remote diagnostics, where time is money for technicians, it can save up to 3 hours per event by technicians knowing what the issue is before the truck enters their shop.  But for fleets who have their preventative schedule running like clockwork, it can seem like a daunting task to update or overhaul a strategy completely. 

This in and of itself is what makes predictive maintenance so powerful, as it can also be a complementary strategy for fleet maintenance, working alongside preventative maintenance to improve its effectiveness and efficiency. Predictive insights on your fleet can help you optimize your maintenance schedule by providing more accurate and timely information on the condition and usage of your vehicles. It can help you adjust preventive maintenance intervals and tasks based on the actual needs of your vehicles, rather than fixed schedules or mileage. Predictive maintenance can also help you prioritize preventive maintenance activities based on the urgency and severity of the issues detected by predictive analytics.

Whether you choose to use predictive maintenance as a standalone or complementary strategy for fleet maintenance, you will need a reliable and powerful fleet maintenance software to implement it successfully. Pitstop is a leading fleet maintenance platform powered by AI that enables you to leverage PdM for your fleet. Pitstop connects to your vehicles’ onboard computers and collects data from over 100 sensors. Pitstop then analyzes the data using AI algorithms and provides you with actionable insights on the performance and health of your vehicles. Pitstop helps you predict failures, schedule services, order parts, track repairs, manage warranties, and more.

Pitstop is compatible with any vehicle make, model, or year, and integrates with your existing fleet management systems. Pitstop also provides you with a user-friendly dashboard and email alerts that allow you to access and manage your fleet data anytime, anywhere. Pitstop helps you optimize your fleet maintenance operations and maximize your return on investment.

If you want to learn more about changing your maintenance strategy to stay competitive, reach out to or book a demo.