If you have a fleet of vehicles, regular vehicle inspections are vital to the integrity of your fleet and business. The question is, where do you start?
Best Tips for Inspecting a Fleet Vehicle
The Need for Tighter Vehicle Inspection Processes
We all know fleet inspections are important. It’s something we need to do to keep our fleets in tip-top shape and to reduce future costs. However, let’s not pretend like it’s something at the top of our bucket list. Fleet maintenance – and particularly vehicle inspections – take time and aren’t always convenient. But here’s why they matter:
Inspections proactively identify issues that could compromise the safety of your vehicles. This keeps your drivers safer, as well as other folks on the road.
Lower risk of fines
Fines at roadside checkpoints add up. By inspecting vehicles regularly, you lower the risk of penalties and give your drivers one less thing to worry about.
Lower risk of negligence
If one of your fleet vehicles is involved in an accident, the other driver’s attorney is going to look into the vehicle’s inspection reports and history. If there’s no documented proof that inspections are performed regularly and properly, they can make a case for negligence.
Finally, regular and thorough inspections extend the useful life of your vehicles. They allow you to get more mileage out of your vehicles and recoup more value when selling or trading in.
Add it all up and it’s easy to see why vehicle inspection processes are important. By tightening your own processes, you can increase the likelihood of success throughout your entire department.
4 Vehicle Inspection Tips
Vehicle inspections should be taken seriously. Here are several helpful tips for getting the most out of your inspections:
Conduct Pre-Trip and Post-Trip Inspections
It’s important to conduct both pre-trip and post-trip inspections. These are daily checks that take place every time a driver starts or ends a trip. You’ll need to meet with your technicians to come up with a thorough list, but this usually includes things like:
- Vehicle condition
- Working lights
- Condition of windshield wiper blades
- Clean windscreen
- Security of load and trailer
- Condition of tires (including tire pressure)
- Presence of spare wheel and jack
- Mirror positioning
- Seat belt functioning
- Headrest positioning
- Operational horn
- Fuel level
In addition to these daily checks, you’ll want to perform weekly inspections for a more thorough look at the vehicle’s main systems and parts. This includes checks of engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, oil leaks, battery condition, and the presence of a vehicle handbook, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and warning triangle.
Automate Maintenance Where Possible
There’s no sense in performing something manually if you can automate it with technology. Thankfully, technology has made some pretty impressive advances in the world of fleet maintenance and management over the last couple of years. It’s now possible to automate many of the key areas and streamline vehicle inspections so they’re fast and painless.
Tools like Cetaris fleet maintenance allow you to create automated maintenance schedules with step-by-step instructions and procedures, which allows for quick inspections and reduces the risk of missing key areas.
Train Your Drivers
Drivers should be trained thoroughly on vehicle inspections. This includes training during onboarding, as well as regular training throughout the year.
When training drivers on inspections, hands-on, first-person training is typically best. In other words, don’t just have them watch a video or take an online training course. Gather a couple of your best technicians and have them provide actual walkthroughs and demonstrations.
Observe and Counsel Drivers
Training your drivers is just the start. You’ll also need to observe your drivers and provide counsel when they aren’t being thorough enough. For example:
- Keep an eye on your drivers’ maintenance requests and compare them against what your technicians see when they perform their semi-regular maintenance inspections. If your technicians are finding a lot of issues that should have been discovered by your drivers, this is something that needs to be brought to the individual driver’s attention.
- Observe your drivers during their pre-trip and post-trip inspections. Consider whether or not they’re performing adequate visual inspections (or if they’re just checking off boxes so they can move on with their day).
- Offer continued training and support for employees on inspections. Require employees to get ongoing support in areas where they’re lacking.
Putting it All Together
By increasing your vehicle inspection frequency and thoroughness, you can benefit from safer vehicles, lower costs, and greater peace of mind. Use this article as a source for ideas and inspiration. Your vehicle inspection processes and routines will vary slightly based on your individual needs and circumstances.
However, if you take these ideas to heart, good things will happen.