How to Use Telematics to Tackle Fleet Maintenance

The lifespan of your commercial fleet vehicles depends on your ability to synchronize and inspect your fleet maintenance schedule. Telematics can help.

Dealing with the damage and costs associated with vehicle breakdowns can cost your drivers a full day of productivity and slow down completing routes. When maintaining the vehicles in your fleet, you need solutions that are able to be flexible, affordable and full of features that help you handle maintenance with ease. The best tools integrate accurate technology and a robust set of features to bring you comprehensive coverage of the maintenance needs of your fleet vehicles. Finding the right tools to support maintenance can help you to:

  • Accurately schedule maintenance ahead of time.
  • Identify & document failure trends happening with vehicles of the same model.
  • Review & document technician repairs.
  • Have viable documentation for warranty claims.
  • Receive alerts about unprecedented maintenance issues.
  • Address fault codes drivers may not be privy to.

How to Schedule Preventive Maintenance for your Fleet

Using fleet management tools to be proactive in handling the maintenance of your fleet vehicles is especially important when you are working with a variety of vehicle types and models. Being able to have an overview of where things are can serve as a great way to protect your bottom line. Preventive maintenance involves, first establishing and documenting the state of your vehicles in the present, then incorporating fleet telematics technology that reports on vehicle diagnostics. Depending on the vehicle, there are several ways to track vehicle maintenance, including:

Time-Based. This form of maintenance scheduling is based on the calendar and makes it easy to schedule and predict the maintenance for fleet vehicles. For example, you can create a time-based schedule for when you prepare commercial vehicles for winter routes. Creating a streamlined schedule for seasonal repairs like this can be of great benefit for fleet managers looking to get the most out of their maintenance tools. Though time-based preventive maintenance works for scheduling seasonal work, it should not be used alone, as it doesn’t take into account utilization. 

Odometer-Based. Using the odometer to develop your vehicle fleet maintenance plan is another important factor to include in your scheduling. Odometer based readings incorporate the utilization factor into the vehicle maintenance scheduling process. It takes mileage into account and allows maintenance to be scheduled based on miles driven and vehicle lifetime. Using this approach helps to prevent over or under maintenance of fleet vehicles. It means conducting odometer readings consistently and being able to keep track of miles until scheduled maintenance. When used together with other preventive maintenance scheduling methods like ‘time-based’, it can be effective in helping to minimize missing important updates. 

User-Based. Seen as a better approach to scheduling preventive maintenance properly. This approach incorporates the daily wear and tear on the vehicle and routes to determine when maintenance needs to be scheduled. Usage-based preventive maintenance allows for triggers to be developed that alert fleet managers when it is time to perform maintenance. This method also allows for the prediction of future maintenance based on utilization. Being able to make predictions for maintenance allows you to also budget to prepare for when maintenance will be needed for your fleet.

Creating a Preventive Maintenance Program Using Telematics

Using a telematics-based maintenance plan can help to mitigate the issues and concerns that come with sudden breakdowns. The shelf life of the vehicles in your fleet depends on repairs being done properly as well as on time. Telematics technology uses vehicle diagnostics data, time-based, odometer based and utilization together to gauge scheduling and alerts for preventive maintenance. This well-rounded approach allows you to prevent:

  • Emergency maintenance costs
  • Missing duty deadlines
  • Delivery issues

Fleet telematics for preventive maintenance keeps you well-informed by delivering the details of the diagnostic data in a convenient dashboard for your review. When seeking to incorporate fleet telematics technology there are some important points you need to cover to ensure that you are getting the most out of your purchase. The following tips can help you to make the right decision when looking to improve your maintenance scheduling with telematics:

Creating a Predictive & Preventive Maintenance Program. This program should identify issues early so that you are able to be as proactive as possible at scheduling maintenance and repairs. Waiting for vehicle breakdowns related to preventable issues can be quite costly. Fleet management tools can help you to schedule check-ups and maintenance in advance. The point here is to be proactive rather than reactive to the needs of your fleet.

Scheduling your Maintenance. Smart fleet managers and owners have moved away from the task of manually scheduled maintenance. Tracking metrics like fuel used, miles driven, time on the road and vehicle history becomes much easier with telematics tools. Whether your fleet is large or small, coordinating maintenance for several vehicles should not be taken lightly. Using telematics to assist you will help you to identify key issues immediately and follow-up on completed repairs.

Annual Maintenance. There are several important maintenance duties that need to be done annually to ensure optimal vehicle performance. Telematics technology keeps track of all of these moving parts so that you can focus on more pressing matters in your business. Vehicle maintenance tasks like checking battery terminals, fluid levels, air filters and engine oil become less time consuming with telematics.

The lifespan of your commercial fleet vehicles depends on your ability to synchronize and inspect your maintenance schedule. Properly handling fleet maintenance can help you get more out of every aspect of your business as well as prevent unnecessary hits to your bottom line. Your vehicles are your biggest asset and should be treated with plenty of care, taking into account regular wear and tear. Consult with one of our expert Fleet Advisors about how you can save your fleet time and money with telematics-based fleet maintenance management. You can also get our guide on How To Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs With GPS Fleet Tracking.