7 Summer Fleet Maintenance Tips
Originally uploaded on May 31, 2022
Recently, we discussed our top tips for drivers getting back on the road for long journeys after over two years of intermittent COVID lockdowns. It’s also important, as we come into the summer season, to consider summer fleet maintenance. Summer heat can play havoc on different vehicle parts and making sure your drivers are safe should, of course, be your top priority. Here are the top summer fleet maintenance tips for businesses:
As tyre condition will drastically affect your fleet’s safety and operation, it’s vital to make sure they are ready for summer. Switch over any vehicles using winter tyres ahead of the warmer weather if you haven’t already. Heat greatly affects the grip of winter tyres and can lead to potential safety concerns.
You’ll also need to have your fleet’s tyres assessed for damage, such as bubbles and cracks in the sidewalls or acute wear. You will also need to have the tread depth and tyre pressure monitored to confirm that they are following the given guidelines in the vehicle’s owner manual. Accidents and vehicle downtime are often caused by poor tyre pressure.
For the sake of drivers who may be spending long hours on the road in the summer heat, ensure all your fleet vehicles’ air conditioning units are operational. To be safe, have the units evaluated by a trained staff member or a technician. The most efficient option would be for a technician to check this as part of the vehicle’s service if this is due or upcoming.
A common cause of air conditioning units malfunctioning is a low level of refrigerant. This is easy to fix, but if it is left unmonitored and develops into a fault, these units can be costly to repair or replace.
Check: Annually, before summer.
Before your drivers set off on their summer routes, it’s best to keep an eye on their vehicles’ oil levels. Depending on the vehicle, this is checked manually with dipsticks, through electronic monitoring, or through telematics.
It’s generally advised to change a vehicle’s oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles for conventional oil and 5,000 to 6,000 miles for synthetics and to check the oil even more frequently. However, if your fleet vehicles regularly make long journeys carrying substantial loads, you will need to schedule this more regularly.
Check: Every few weeks or every 1,000 - 3,000 miles.
During summer, it is vital that a vehicle’s coolant mix and coolant levels are kept topped up. Coolant changes are usually included in a vehicle’s service to keep your vehicle’s warranty in place. However, during hot weather, it’s a good idea to check them regularly.
Check: As part of a service. Check levels regularly during summer, especially if the vehicle is making long drives in heat.
Brakes can be left damaged by the intense weather changes between winter and summer. Obviously, checking the brakes is a priority during a service, but it’s a good idea for fleet managers and drivers to be vigilant about the condition of their brakes.
You can check the brakes visibly, by looking for cracking or discolouration, or by performing a slow test drive and applying the brakes. There are several ways, such as those listed here, to tell if brakes are in bad condition and need changing.
Check: Every six months or, for vehicles that make long trips, more frequently, such as when the tyres are rotated.
As with the brakes, heat can speed up the ageing of a vehicle battery, especially in temperatures over 20°C. You should regularly disconnect battery cables from their terminals to check for signs of corrosion and clean any signs of corrosion away.
When replacing your cables, strap the battery back down tightly, making sure that the connections of the positive and negative leads are secure.
Check: At least every 6 months.
When checking the brakes and tyres for signs of wear, it’s a good idea to also have a look at the vehicle’s belts for any signs of damage, such as corrosion or holes. It’s recommended to replace these every 60,000 to 100,000 miles.
Check: Along with brakes and tyres.
Making sure that all your fleet vehicles are ready for summer can be a challenge. If you are needing help keeping track of your summer fleet maintenance, or general fleet data control, we offer an excellent telematics solution which will provide you with easy to track data for each of your vehicles. Get in touch today for a free consultation.