Commercial Vehicles, Fleet, Maintenance, Pre- and Post-Trip Vehicle Inspections, Proper Vehicle Inspections, Vehicle Breakdown Prevention
Your commercial fleet is a crucial part of your business, therefore regularly inspecting and maintaining your vehicles are of utmost importance.
Kat Sandoval of Automotive-Fleet.com offers some tips and advice for fleet managers and drivers to aid them in conducting efficient vehicle inspections.
According to Sandoval, pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections are beneficial for any type of fleet. Fleet managers are expected to provide fleet drivers the necessary training, in order for them to be able to assess the condition of their vehicles and to determine what needs repairing.
The first step is for a fleet driver to familiarize himself or herself with the vehicle. The best time to do this is during a new driver orientation. “By integrating this step into a driver orientation program, newly recruited drivers will get to know the vehicle and gauge how their driving habits should change, based on the size of the vehicle and its purpose,” writes Sandoval.
Lead Transportation Editor for J.J. Keller Tom Bray rationalizes: “The better care the driver takes of the vehicle, the longer the vehicle will last and the better the vehicle and its parts will wear. And, the fleet driver reduces the likelihood of getting into a crash. If the fleet driver is going 65 miles per hour and they need to hit the brakes, it would be nice to know they are going to work.” Sandoval advises that a routine should be set for a fleet driver to conduct a pre-trip and post-trip inspection. According to Bray, he would recommend a 7 to 9 step routine that a fleet driver should perform consistently in order for it to become habitual.
A fleet manager should also test a driver’s ability and knowledge to conduct an efficient vehicle inspection. This will determine whether a fleet driver is habitually conducting inspections and if they are actually checking on the essential components.
The second step is to show fleet drivers “where to look and how to identify when a component is not working properly,” writes Sandoval. Checking the engine compartment, doing a walk-around inspection and an in-cab inspection are crucial parts of this training. Tools such as a tire pressure gauge, tire depth, gauge, gloves and a flashlight should be made available to a fleet driver at all times to aid him or her in the inspection process.If a tire depth gauge is unavailable, a fleet driver can improvise by using a penny to check the vehicle’s tire treads.
“The fleet driver would need to insert a penny into the tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down, while facing the person inspecting the vehicle. If the fleet driver can see all of Lincoln’s head, then the tire tread is less than 2/32 inch and the tires need to be replaced as soon as possible,” advises Sandoval. For fleets running on light-duty trucks, a cargo securement inspection is also necessary.
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