Keep Your Vehicle Fleet Sparking

dreamstime_xs_50502700Keeping your fleet vehicles well-maintained can be a daunting task. It may be tempting to leave them by the wayside and tend to other things at your facility. Even if your corporate vehicles aren’t used often, it’s still important to keep them gleaming and in good operational order. Why? Because when they’re in use, they serve as rolling advertisements for your business.

Here are five tips to help you keep your vehicle fleet sparking.

1. Keep a simple checklist of weekly and monthly maintenance inspections.

All vehicles should go through a series of weekly and monthly checks to ensure bigger issues don’t develop. Each week, have your fleet manager or drivers check oil levels, windshield wiper fluid, and fill the tanks with gas.

Each month, check battery cables, wiper blades, tire pressure, as well as power steering and brake fluid. Also check for any abnormalities in “feel” or sound when driving. If anything seems “off,” take the vehicle to your mechanic as soon as possible to avoid any further damage or necessary repairs.

2. Plan bigger maintenance checks for all your vehicles at the same time.

Some vehicles may be used more often than others. As often as you can, try to rotate which vehicles in the fleet are used so one isn’t receiving more mileage and wear-and-tear than the others. This will make it easier to schedule things like safety inspections, tire rotation and balance, brake pad replacement, and oil changes for all your vehicles.

If all your fleet vehicles are used fairly consistently, plan these maintenance tasks for the entire fleet at the same time. Not only will it be easier for you to manage and keep track of, it may also save you money by completing tasks or buying in bulk.

3. Check your tires consistently.

Tires can wear differently from vehicle to vehicle, even if your fleet vehicles are the same make and model. Each month, you should check your tires “cold” for air pressure levels. Do this before driving or at least 3 hours afterward.

Be sure to have your tires rotated and balanced regularly. For a typical vehicle that’s driven every day, tire rotation should take place at least every six months. For vehicles consistently being driven substantial distances in a day (equating to 6,000-8,000 miles), rotating tires every 3 or 4 months is optimal to ensure even wear. Carefully track your mileage to know the best time to rotate your fleet’s tires.

It’s also important to check your tires’ tread condition. Begin tracking tread 1 to 3 months after having new tires installed. The best way to do this is to purchase a tread depth guide from any automotive store.

When checking tread levels, test in three different areas of the tire to ensure you are getting an accurate reading: the outer edge, the center, and the inside edge. Measurements legally must be at 2/32 inches or above. For safety, do not wait until your tires reach this limit. When your treads are measuring at 4/32 inches, it’s time to start shopping for tires.

4. Wash your fleet regularly.

It goes without saying that your vehicle fleet is an important part of advertising for your business. Maintaining clean and organized vehicles will speak well of your business and can potentially bring you new customers.

Depending on your location and how often your vehicles are used, consider washing your fleet once every 1 to 4 weeks. Keeping a schedule for washing can help you stay organized and keep your fleet looking great.

When washing the exterior of the vehicles, use a biodegradable product, like Worldwide Janitor’s All Purpose Car Wash. When added to water, the powder becomes sudsy and will rid your vehicles of water spots, dirt, mud, bugs, and other soils and will dry streak-free. For hard-to-clean spots caked with bugs or heavy grime, use a Bug Squeegee. If you have a few small touch-ups, simply use a Watersprite Synthetic Chamois.

5. Inspect windshields and windows for cracks or chips in the glass.

Getting small chips in the windshield is part of driving a car. Rocks and other debris are often kicked up by other vehicles, especially on highways. If you spot a chip or the start of a crack, have it repaired immediately. Stopping the spread of the crack will lengthen the life of your windshield and keep your vehicle looking like new. If your business is located in a cold area, it’s imperative that you don’t wait to make these repairs. The cold air will only make the crack spread faster and cause you to consider replacing the entire windshield.

Fleet vehicles are a great addition to many businesses. They serve as an excellent source of advertisement and can help you keep your customers happy. Maintaining sparkling vehicles will only add to your success.

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