Fleet Management 101: Preparing fleets for winter, part 2


Fleet Management 101: Preparing fleets for winter, part 2

Source: FleetAnswers and Cheryl B Auto Fleet Maintenance Guidelines for Engines: To keep the fleet running smoothly, fleet managers have lists of guidelines; but certain replacement time could be added to the guidelines, if they have not yet been included. For example, water pumps tend to fail at 60,000 to 100,000 miles depending on the type of vehicle and location of the water pump. If a fleet consists of Chevrolet Malibus and the fleet management noticed that the water pumps tend to fail at about 80,000 miles, each vehicle should be scheduled for water pump replacement at 75,000 miles. If the water pump is encased within the timing belt housing, the pump should be replaced every time the timing belt is replaced to save on labor costs.

While it may seem like a waste of money to replace parts that are not broken on commercial fleet vehicles, it costs less to replace them before they break.

Guidelines for Tires and BrakesDepending on the vehicles’ schedules and the driver, tires could wear quickly. Fleet management should always check tires and brakes at least every 20,000 miles.

According to a press release featured in Market Watch, proper tire inflation is especially important during winter-driving month because tire inflation pressure can drop quickly during cold snaps. Every 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) change results in about one psi change in pressure. As a result, it is crucial for drivers to measure tire inflation frequently using a reliable tire gauge to ensure tires are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. In addition, tires that are under-or-over inflated have a smaller footprint on the road surface, which lessens their grip and result in wasted fuel.

Keeping ahead of the maintenance keeps fleet vehicles on the road, which means the company is not paying for down time when someone is supposed to be on the road.

Things that Tend to Fail During Winter and Things That Should Be Checked: All vehicles have things that tend to fail during the winter, because of the cold. In some cases, extreme cold could even pop freeze plugs out of the engine.

  • Make sure every vehicle has the proper amount of antifreeze. If a vehicle has only water, two things could happen: In winter, the block could crack if it gets cold enough, or more likely, the freeze plugs could pop out of the block. Antifreeze also protects the engine from rusting.
  • Check the hoses. Hoses that have dry rot or that have collapsed inside could split any time, but because of the extreme temperature changes in the winter, are more likely to fail. If a hose is collapsed inside, it will not have a lot of resistance when pressurized.
  • Check the brakes. A thin brake pad is not good, as that affects stopping power, but in extreme cold, the thin material could crack.

Catching problems before they happen is key to reducing costs for maintaining commercial fleet vehicles, especially during the winter when things could fail faster than normal because of extreme cold.

Below is a list of winter preparation measures from several external sources that should be part of every fleet’s maintenance program:

Some measures are routine and apply to every vehicle in the fleet, others are more specific to medium-duty trucks, but all the measures are still useful to keep trucks safely on the road.

This article includes a few simple tips on how to maintain fleet equipment and fuel tanks in one of the coldest and snowiest winters in the last five years.

The Car Care Council recommends a few steps for winterizing vehicles and provides a few preventive vehicle maintenance steps that will keep drivers from being stranded in severe winter weather.

No matter how good your fleet vehicle’s harness system is, it must be protected at the front end. This article provides a few tips on how to protect your vehicles’ wire harnesses against corrosion and contamination.