A couple of weeks ago I took my car in to have the tires checked (I thought I saw a bolt in one of the tires…a horrible discovery, but it turned out to be nothing…WHEW!), and the very talkative customer service/sales guy asked me if my company has a fleet of cars for our employees. We don’t. But, it did get me to thinking about car fleets for business and the required maintenance (and costs) of maintaining them.
Businesses that have car fleets for their employees need to keep up on the regular maintenance so that employees aren’t left stranded, or the company isn’t paying a huge bill for a problem that could have been detected early on, or even prevented.
Just like with our personal cars, regular vehicle checkups are essential to detecting and preventing serious issues. Every brand has its own recommendations as to when to get the oil changed. This will also be determined by the year of the vehicle. Usually, during these regular checkups, the service company will check all fluids, tire tread and pressure (most time rotating the tires as well), filters, and change the oil.
The interval checkups will be more expensive, so purchasing a maintenance plan would be very beneficial. The interval checkups will be more frequent in the beginning if the vehicles are being purchased new, and then spread out a bit further. The interval checkups will generally consist of flushing the transmission, changing all filters, changing all fluids, and completing a full inspection of the vehicle.
Battery and Electrical Maintenance
Just like in our personal vehicles, fleet vehicles can potentially encounter battery and electrical issues. Requesting diagnostics during the interval checkups, if they don’t already offer that service, would be beneficial to ensure that nothing goes wrong. If you do end up needing to get some electrical work done, be sure that these items are handled by certified technicians so that you don’t end up with more work in the end. Batteries can also be expensive to replace, so be sure to go with a good brand that will last a long time.
Make Your Employees Responsible
Have a specific log that your employees are required to fill out when checking out a vehicle, or turn in weekly if employees have specific vehicles assigned to them. Information that should be included on this log includes: mileage, any noticed issues (i.e. electrical, the way it drives, interior issues/spills, windshield/windows, etc.), gas levels (if the company is filling up the vehicles), and anything else that you deem necessary to track. Be sure to have someone in your office who is responsible for reviewing these forms on a consistent basis to determine if and when each vehicle needs attention, and of course tracking all maintenance for each vehicle.
Follow these steps and you should be able to stay ahead of any major mechanical issues to help save your company a considerable amount of money.