Maintenance and repair account for 10% of a fleet’s expenses, according to the most recent survey by the American Transportation Research Institute. That equals 15.6 cents per mile and has changed little from the previous year’s survey.

 And while things like drivers and fuel make up bigger portions of fleets’ budgets, 10% is no small amount.

 While there is no way to eliminate maintenance and repair expenses, there are things fleets can do to maximize the benefits of those expenditures.

  • Review your maintenance practices: A good place to start is by reviewing your maintenance practices. What worked five years ago, probably isn’t the best solution with today’s trucks. Technology allows you to set maintenance inspections and schedules for different asset classes so you are not stuck with a one-size-fits-all approach to your maintenance program.
  • Rely on pre- and post-trip inspections: Remind drivers of the importance of pre- and post-trip inspections and make sure you take action on items noted in their DVIRs. Drivers will be more inclined to be thorough with their inspections if they see that you are acting on problems they are identifying on the inspection forms.
  • Track PM compliance: Setting a maintenance schedule is only half the battle; you need to make sure the needed service is actually completed. An automated system makes this easier. But even if you go the manual route, tracking makes sure scheduled maintenance services don’t get overlooked, especially for trucks that don’t make it back to your facility on a regular basis.
  • Use VMRS Codes: VMRS is the universal language of repair and makes it easy for you and any outside service providers you use to understand the exact nature of the problem and what was done to fix it.
  • Monitor failure trends: Capturing data from all service events allows you to analyze it for component failure trends. You can then use that information to proactively replace components before they fail.
  • Invest in training, tools and equipment: Without the proper tools, equipment and trained technicians, maintenance and repair can take longer than they should. While there is cost involved, it will be money well spent, helping to speed up the repair process and ensure that repairs are done right the first time.

Your trucks will always need some type of maintenance and repair, but you can stretch your budgets by following these few simple changes.