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Preventive Maintenance: More than an Oil Change


Regular preventive maintenance is key to the performance of your fleet and to keep downtime low. Amerit Fleet Solutions outlines some misconceptions and rules to live by when it comes to understanding that preventive maintenance includes far more than just an oil change.

When talking with prospective clients our team often hears the same question when it comes to preventive maintenance (PM): “My local repair shop only takes 30 minutes for an oil change, why does your PM take longer?” We’ve heard this misconception enough lately that we thought it warranted further conversation.

The common mistake made is the impression that a 30-minute routine oil and lube change is the same as a PM program. The second misconception is that an oil change is enough to keep a fleet running at peak performance. The driving force behind this way of thinking is a strong one: a 30-minute oil change seems to save money compared to a full PM service.

However, at Amerit we firmly believe — and our data proves — that a full PM program is fundamental and critical to your fleet’s performance. A PM program actually saves you a great deal of money and delivers profitability when looked at from a broader perspective.

Rule #1: Not all vehicles are created equal.

When it comes to maintenance, not all vehicles are created equal. A PM schedule that works for half your fleet may not be best for the other half. Amerit partners with customers to create individualized service plans that allow for the differing composition, age, use patterns and long-term plans of your fleet.

Our PM programs allow you the maximum flexibility, visibility and control to not only schedule routine services during downtimes but also allows you to take a more comprehensive view of your vehicle and fleet, drawing a direct line between PM services and improved performance and lifespan.

Vehicles are comprised of many unique components that keep them running. The clutch, transmission and tires, for example, each play a role in a vehicle functioning correctly and are specific to every type of vehicle. A comprehensive PM program goes beyond changing the oil and lube of an engine; it is tailored to monitor and maintain individual needs of every component for each vehicle type.

Rule #2: A good PM is not only preventive but also predictive.

It is in the name — a good PM prevents breakdowns and undue wear and tear. At Amerit, we go one step further. Our technician teams are dedicated and focused solely on a very small number of customer’s vehicles, ensuring that the fleet receives the quality and consistency of service it demands. Our techs are also trained to go one step further by predicting potential problems and failures before they happen.

More than a standard oil change, our PM covers up to 100 items. We check, test, inspect and record the condition of every part of the vehicle, entering complete data on its condition directly into the client’s fleet management system. This may seem time consuming and costly but, in fact, it could potentially save on expensive repairs, unforeseen downtime, road calls, mitigate safety risks, and avert the time and dollars spent on major repairs that would go unforeseen under lesser processes.

Rule #3: A PM program takes a little more time but saves a lot more money.

Let’s look at three areas of savings that the standard oil change cannot address:

Safety and Department of Transportation Inspections

Amerit’s PM program includes all components of a Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection to ensure safety and compliance with DOT standards.

Many times, DOT inspections occur randomly and unexpectedly. In the event a vehicle is not up to code, the penalty can be extremely costly. Beyond that, if a vehicle does not pass inspection, it may present a danger to the driver and those sharing the road.

By incorporating the elements of a DOT inspection into a PM service, Amerit ensures that the vehicle is safe for the road and will pass any unpredicted DOT inspections.

Tires

The value of tires is immeasurable for the safety and efficiency of your vehicle. Properly maintained tires not only last longer but they improve fuel efficiency and deliver savings as well.

For example, proper air pressure — or lack thereof — presents the greatest risk to a vehicle. If a tire is not inlated properly it immediately diminishes fuel economy. Over the long term, tires that are under inflated are more susceptible to casing damage, a problem that has no other solution than to replace the damaged tires with new ones. If left unattended, worn and damaged casing presents a real safety concern.

Amerit’s PM program monitors and prevents casings from premature failure by rotating or replacing tires at the appropriate time and checking air pressure on each tire of every vehicle. A task that takes only 10 minutes during a routine PM prevents a repair that would take as long as two hours and at a much higher cost. Amerit also measures tire tread to make sure the tread depth is to legal DOT standards, as well as safe for the current weather conditions. If the tread is not up to code, the casing becomes susceptible and threatens putting the vehicle out of service by DOT criteria.

Engine Coolant

Engine coolant plays an extremely important role in the functioning of a vehicle’s engine. Used to prevent both freezing and overheating, it is made of unique chemicals that must be checked and replenished on a periodic basis.

In the event these chemicals are mishandled or not attended to, they can cause irreversible damage in a short period of time. Correcting and repairing the damage is time consuming and costly but can be easily mitigated with a proper, full PM service.

A PM improves profitability vs. an oil change

Recently, Automotive Fleet magazine revealed its 22nd Annual Operating Cost Survey (November 2013). “Stable fuel prices and maintenance costs, combined with a decrease in total fuel consumption due to increased use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, resulted in less volatility in fleet operations during the 12 months ending August 2013.”

In a landscape where costs are finally flat over the prior year, most of us breathe a sigh of relief. But that does not remove the pressure to deliver greater profitability than in previous years. Even in the world of flat costs, using our thorough, comprehensive PM program will not only drive savings in many areas but will extend the life of vehicles, mitigate safety risks to the Fleet, drivers and community, and reduce unforeseen downtime by ensuring your leet is in peak condition.

We have never met an oil change that can say that.

For more information on Amerit’s PM Program and how it could be tailored to meet your fleet’s needs, call us today at 877.512.6374.

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