Preventive maintenance consists of scheduled servicing, inspections, and vehicle repairs to prevent potential problems and maximize vehicle availability. Preventive maintenance is used to proactively avoid or reduce vehicle breakdowns and is based on time, mileage, engine hours, or gallons of fuel used. Preventive maintenance actions include vehicle inspection, lubrication, adjustment, cleaning, testing, repair, and/or worn parts replacement.
Why be Concerned with Preventive Maintenance?
To maximize the availability of vehicles, PM services must be performed on a scheduled basis. If preventive maintenance is not performed regularly, vehicle life span will be greatly reduced.
Some vehicles may be prone to excessive breakdowns requiring expensive repairs, causing a vehicle to be out of service when least expected and possibly when needed most. Vehicles may become unsafe due to lack of PM. Proper maintenance will also help prevent litigation from negligence.
Preventive maintenance is as important as driver safety programs. If a vehicle becomes unsafe due to lack of maintenance or repair, the fleet manager can be held liable for negligent entrustment. As defined, liability is premised upon providing an employee with a dangerous tool or instrument, such as a vehicle, while knowing, or having reason to know, that use of the vehicle creates unreasonable risk or harm to others. Simply stated, the vehicle must be safe to operate. Should the brakes fail causing a serious crash or fatality, the vehicle is impounded by authorities for investigation.
Should the investigation determine that bad brakes or other vehicle malfunctions contributed to the accident, the authorities can seek a court order to obtain vehicle maintenance records. If your operation fails to practice preventive maintenance under these circumstances, you could be prosecuted for a negligent act, which you failed to prevent.
Preventive Maintenance Methods
Vehicle maintenance and repairs can be performed in one of two methods:
- Proactive: scheduled preventive maintenance.
- Reactive: unscheduled breakdown maintenance.
A scheduled vehicle service consists of preventive maintenance, scheduled component repairs, and driver inspection. Unscheduled breakdown maintenance is most often due to lack of preventive maintenance. Reactive maintenance can be costly and should be minimized by a proactive preventive maintenance program. The object is to have the majority of vehicle maintenance and repairs scheduled rather than unscheduled.