Company cars are a great option for your workforce, but it’s the routine maintenance of these vehicles that will help ensure their longevity and success on the road. Indeed, having a fleet of company vehicles comes with a unique set of challenges — and any downtime can lead to any number of issues.
As the old saying goes, “time is of the essence,” so having one or more company cars out of commission for several days worth of repairs can cost your business plenty of money and resources. To help avoid this conundrum, take stock of your fleet and mind the following car basics:
Review the Manual
No one is expected to read their driver’s manual cover to cover, but it would be wise of you to skim its contents to avoid any surprises down the road. For example, be on the lookout for any specific maintenance guidelines pertaining to a vehicle’s specific make and model, including:
- What type of motor oil to use
- How often you should change the oil
- What type of fuel to use
- How frequently air filters should be replaced
- When to replace timing belts
While mechanics can offer you some general rules when conducting these tasks, the information in your owner’s manual should always trump any generic advice. This way, you’ll help maintain the vehicle’s warranty and keep it running in top form.
Keep an Eye on the Tires
Like you would with your own vehicle, regularly inspect your fleet’s tires every month — or on a routine basis as you see fit — to ensure they’re operating with enough air pressure. Your best option is to keep a tire pressure gauge on hand at all times and top off the tires with more air at your local gas station when necessary. Additionally, you should also be cognizant of any tire tread wear.
If the tread looks worn, use a coin to measure how much of the tread is intact. Simply insert a quarter into the tire tread with the president’s head facing down. If the tread doesn’t reach Washington’s head, it’s time to buy a new set of tires.
You should always replace tires at the first sign of excessive wear to avoid suffering a blowout, which could cause a serious accident and much more damage. After replacing one or more tires, have them checked by a professional to ensure they’re properly rotated, balanced and aligned.
Change Your Oil Regularly
Follow the guidelines outlined in the owner’s manual for how often you should change the oil in your fleet. If you’re new to this — or simply have a cloudy memory — set a calendar reminder after every oil change to remain on schedule with the next required maintenance.
But it shouldn’t be all about management or custodians. Have your employees learn how to change the oil on their own, so they can check for any signs of trouble, like oil that looks muddy or murky.
Monitor All Fluid Levels
Your vehicles use an assortment of different fluids to run in optimal condition. As responsible drivers, your employees should know how to inspect the power steering, transmission and windshield wiper fluids as well as the coolant to make sure these levels aren’t low and, more importantly, that your fleet isn’t subject to any damage.
If any fluid levels look low, take the car in for service as soon as possible. Additionally, be wary if you ever find a large puddle of fluid underneath your work vehicles, as this could indicate a leak of one of these essential fluids. This, of course, could lead to any number of serious issues.
Change Air Filters
Your work vehicles have two air filters: a cabin and an engine air filter. The cabin air filter is part of the vehicle’s climate control system, which when clean, is able to more efficiently cool and heat your vehicle to a desired temperature. Meantime, your engine air filter is even more important, as it plays a critical role in your car’s engine performance.
Your driver’s manual should indicate how often the engine air filter should be changed. If your employees are driving your work vehicles frequently — or if they routinely drive in heavy traffic — the air filter will likely need to be changed even sooner, as these harsh driving conditions tend to wear them down.
Wash Your Car
It goes without saying that you should take pride in your company vehicles by keeping them spick-and-span. One way to achieve this is by requiring your employees to take these vehicles in for a professional wash every week or two. Having clean work cars is important for more than just aesthetic reasons, though.
When working in a customer-facing position, having a filthy company vehicle can reflect poorly on your business, indicating cleanliness isn’t a priority and that details may be overlooked in your work.
At the end of the day, keeping your company cars in good working condition — and shiny and sparkly — can help ensure their and your business’s longevity for years to come.
Over to You
Do you have company cars in your business? What are some things you do to keep them in great shape? Comment below!