Regardless of gas prices, economic conditions, or the state of your company, it’s always important to get the most out of your fleet vehicles. Being expensive assets, you want to optimize their use and ensure that at the time of resale or retirement, those cars, trucks, or vans are still in the best possible operating condition. 

Now, with the pains of the global supply chain, we’re seeing the need to extend the active lifespan of fleet vehicles. We’ve put together a helpful list of things you can do to ensure that you get the most out of your assets.

Understanding the global supply chain crisis

While most of the global demand is in the U.S., the supply is primarily in Asia — namely China — which is still in recovery from the pandemic. As a result, tensions have risen among global trade channels, leaving the global supply chain creaking with shortages of everything from raw materials to livestock feed to vehicles. 

To make matters worse, training and testing for truck drivers stalled for almost two years because of COVID-19 lockdowns. This leads to a lack of qualified drivers, in addition to the vehicle shortages facing fleet managers. 

Since fleets are still limited in their ability to purchase new vehicles, it’s absolutely critical to extend the life of your existing assets so you can continue to run your business.

Be an expert on each vehicle

Having the right information is key to being a successful fleet manager. You have to find out what maintenance each vehicle in your fleet needs in order to provide it. Rather than applying universal service schedules across your entire fleet, check the owner’s manual for each vehicle make/model to establish the right maintenance routines. Using factory-recommended parts, fluids, and processes can make a big difference in the long run. Fleet maintenance software, such as Fleetio’s, can automatically generate OEM-recommended maintenance schedules when you add your vehicle’s VIN.

Carefully track preventive maintenance (PM)

Once you know the correct PM schedules, stick to them. Make it as easy as possible to follow the recommended maintenance by setting helpful email reminders that notify you and your team when service activities are due. Once maintenance has been completed, set a process to store your records for later reference. Fleet maintenance software can give you instant access into an asset’s complete maintenance history.

With Motive, AI-powered insights help reduce operating costs with fuel and maintenance management. Proactive maintenance reminders automatically track history and schedule reminders to help you stay on top of your vehicle and asset maintenance. Additionally, you can catch vehicle defects early with fault code detection and real-time alerts to prevent costly breakdowns and delayed work schedules.

Keep a clean fleet

Proper care for your vehicles starts with the little things. A driver is more likely to care for a vehicle if it’s clean. A tidy truck (on the inside and out) will reinforce a standard of accountability. Cleaning and protecting vehicles regularly will also guard against unhealthy buildup that could cause issues down the road. Incorporate cleanliness checks into your pre-trip inspections to identify issues and hold team members accountable. 

Check the tires

Tires are great indicators for your vehicle. If the alignment is off or handling is poor, the first place to look is where the rubber meets the road. Irregular wear is a tell-tale sign that a check-up is in order, and putting off tire maintenance can cause more severe issues down the line. Take a daily look at the tires and help your vehicle stave off problems.

As we mentioned before, Motive offers a maintenance management solution that allows for custom vehicle inspection reports. Create custom electronic DVIRs for any vehicle or asset type to make sure your fleet is safe and on the road. 

Operate responsibly

This one may come as no surprise, but the most impactful way to extend the life of a vehicle is to operate it with care. This includes giving the engine time to warm up properly before each trip. If you have vehicles or equipment that are used infrequently, be sure to crank them up and get the working parts in motion every week or so.

Tracking driver behavior is a reliable way to curb unhealthy habits. GPS and other data-gathering hardware provide fleet managers with valuable data that they can use to create guidelines on how to operate company vehicles. 

With Motive’s GPS tracking system, get live updates with real-time vehicle visibility, pinpoint specific addresses, and share ETAs to reduce check-in calls and improve customer service. 

Learn more about how you can pair Motive with Fleetio’s fleet maintenance software to get deeper vehicle insights and extend the life of your fleet.