Keep Your Team Rolling With Proper Vehicle Maintenance
A contractor’s fleet of vehicles is one of the most important assets the company has. They serve many purposes from the basic of getting technicians and salespeople to customers to being rolling billboards. But it’s time to get back to the basics and keeping your fleet rolling on the road with some proper maintenance throughout the year.
Being able to stop is probably the most important thing when you are behind the wheel, so regular inspection of your vehicles’ brakes is an important part of your maintenance program.
You can visually inspect your brakes. Start by looking at the discs. Your discs should be shiny from the inside to the outer edge, and fairly uniform. You may see some lines on them, which is normal wear. If there are any rough spots or pronounced grooves in the disc, you should replace your brake discs. Always replace brake discs in pairs, so that your ability to drive and safety are not compromised.
Next, take a look at your brake pads. Follow the surface of the disc to the top; you’ll see the outside pad touching the disc. If there is 1/8 inch or less remaining on the pad, then it’s time to have them replaced. As a reference, 1/8 inch is about the width of two pennies stacked.
Lastly, check your brake lines. Rubber coated lines should be soft without any visible cracking. If you notice they are hard and cracked, they need to be replaced. Also inspect the metal lines for any corrosion.
Keep in mind, how you drive and the conditions in which you drive will affect the life of your brakes. So, doing a visual inspection of your brakes at regular intervals will help you stay on top of your needed brake service.
Many people neglect windshield wipers, but they are an important part of ensuring your vehicles are safe to drive. Ninety percent of all driving decisions are based on a clear unobstructed view of the road, which means that you need windshield wipers that are in good working order. Good working order means that your windshield wipers are not streaking and are clearing the entire surface of the windshield. If you notice that your windshield wipers are not doing this or they are squeaking or making any other type of noise, it is time to replace them.
Again, weather conditions will affect how often you need to change your wiper blades, but a general standard for changing your blades is every six – 12 months.
Headlights, Brake Lights, & Turn Signals
Ensuring that all the lights on your vehicles are working will help you avoid accidents. Regularly check your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals to ensure they are working properly. If any of them are burned out or broken, replace them immediately.
Changing a vehicle’s oil, whether it be a passenger car or a van, is important to keeping your vehicle on the road. While the amount you drive the vehicle and the driving conditions all factor into it, you should change your oil at a minimum 3,000 – 5,000 miles or three to six months. It is important for you to check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for their recommendation for type of oil and oil change frequency to ensure that you are not voiding your warranty.
In the January issue of IE3 Magazine the entire On The Road column covered tires. You can read that article at https://hvac-blog.acca.org/road07. While this article only covers five areas of a vehicle that needs to be checked, repaired, and/or replaced regularly, your entire vehicle needs to be checked at regular intervals as well. It is important to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines for regular maintenance in order to not void any warranties.
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