Cost saving tips beyond fuel savings: Properly timing maintenance


Cost saving tips beyond fuel savings: Properly timing maintenance

Source: FleetAnswers For the modern fleet, cost-savings need to go beyond fuel savings. While saving fuel is important, many fleets have a good handle on fuel-saving measures to help reduce costs. For deeper cost savings, maintenance can be an area of concern.

Condition-Based Maintenance Versus Scheduled Maintenance

No fleet manager would discount the need for routine maintenance. Oil changes and coolant flushes can keep vehicles running longer and reduce maintenance costs over the long-term. However, sometimes maintenance done on schedules only increase costs. When maintenance is performed before the vehicle needs it based on condition, simply because it is "time," unnecessary money is spent.

Instead, some fleets are moving towards condition-based maintenance. This refers to only performing maintenance based on the condition of the vehicle. Replacing tires, adjusting brakes and performing coolant flushes when they are needed rather than when they are scheduled ensures maintenance money is only spent when it is required.

For example, automobiles typically have an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, regardless on the condition of the vehicle or the performance capability of the oil. In a condition-based maintenance program, the driver or maintenance professional will consider the vehicle's performance or check the lubrication properties of the oil to determine when the oil actually needs to be changed.

Using Data for Condition Based Maintenance

In the past, the amount of time it took to assess the condition of a vehicle made this type of maintenance program nearly impossible to implement. However, the increased amount of data available through fleet management technology combined with the analytics that newer systems offer to use that data makes it possible to monitor many aspects of a vehicle's condition using fleet management systems, reducing the labor time and decreasing the number of breakdowns when necessary maintenance is overlooked because it is not "time" to perform it.

Condition-Based Maintenance Effectively Reduces Costs

While data about condition-based maintenance has not yet been reported for most fleets, the high-speed fleet industry has seen excellent results by implementing these programs. Using predictive, condition-based maintenance brought a reduction in maintenance costs between 25 and 30 percent, as well as a 70 to 75 percent reduction in breakdowns. Similar results are expected in other types of fleets.

Implementing a new maintenance plan is not always an easy proposition, but with the proof that condition-based maintenance works to reduce costs, and data available to the modern fleet, it is one worth considering.