Vehicles are the very centre of the transport and logistics industry. As such, it’s important that they are kept in a condition which not only keeps them functional, but also increases their degree of performance. This is especially true of fleets, where an issue with just one vehicle can upset entire operations.

Breakdowns and on-road incidents arising from negligence fundamentally threaten the overall efficiency of a fleet. They each have a significant impact on a fleet’s productivity margins and the level of quality customer satisfaction it receives, aspects which fleet managers strive to reliably secure.

One of the primary methods used within fleet management to simultaneously reduce costs and improve driver safety is having a vehicle maintenance strategy. In essence, vehicle maintenance is how fleet managers prevent downtime and thereby maximise a fleet’s profitability. This is achieved by detecting vehicle errors and potential defects before repairing them. 

However, there are three different types of vehicle maintenance for fleet managers to be aware of, with each having distinct pros and cons. So that you can fully understand the subject, we’ve put together this piece which covers the individual details of scheduled, reactive, and predictive vehicle maintenance.

Scheduled Vehicle Maintenance

All vehicle manufacturers have service intervals. These refer to the estimated time or mileage periods at which a vehicle should have routine maintenance performed on it. Generally, service intervals are provided by the vehicle manufacturer and offer a basic guideline to keeping a vehicle in an optimal condition for usage.

Service intervals are what fleet managers use as a baseline for standard scheduled maintenance requirements. For instance, they may arrange maintenance for a certain vehicle every 10,000 miles. Routine tasks include oil changes, tyre rotation and balancing, fluid checks, air filter replacements, battery cleaning, in addition to suspension, belt, and brake inspections.

Evidently, it can be difficult for fleet managers to keep track of scheduled vehicle maintenance times for an entire fleet, and so fleet management solutions support this task by automatically collecting and storing fleet data relating to mileage. 

Likewise, such solutions offer a comprehensive overview by using CAN-bus systems to gain visibility on facets like fuel usage, engine hours, and average temperatures. This way, fleet managers can take a more dynamic approach to scheduled vehicle maintenance based on actual wear and tear, as measured by sensors.

Reactive Vehicle Maintenance

Also known as corrective maintenance, reactive vehicle maintenance implies servicing a vehicle in direct response to a specific point of failure. Rather than adhering to a predetermined schedule or proactively addressing commonly problematic areas, reactive maintenance typically occurs following malfunctions and breakdowns.

With reactive maintenance, vehicle repairs are carried out only when a core vehicle component is either no longer working properly or has failed completely. Such vehicle maintenance strategies are underpinned by an ‘ad hoc’ mentality, meaning that problems are only addressed when absolutely needed. 

For example, a fleet manager would order vehicle maintenance due to physical defects like flat tyres, as well as for internal issues, such as those denoted by alert lights, strange noises, and overall performance decreases.

Some fleet managers may be drawn towards a reactive vehicle maintenance strategy because, on the surface, it represents maximised asset utilisation. Although, owing to it providing simple emergency quick fixes, it can in fact lead to more costly repairs, prolonged downtime, and serious safety breaches. Reactive vehicle maintenance treats symptoms, as opposed to underlying causes, but is essential nonetheless.

Predictive Vehicle Maintenance

Whereas scheduled and reactive strategies are applicable to a limited range of situations, predictive vehicle maintenance is not. Predictive maintenance is a proactive approach to vehicle maintenance that aims to anticipate prospective failures and breakdowns. It involves using fleet data to monitor the condition of vehicle systems in real-time, allowing for repairs to take place before a breakdown or failure happens.

Fundamentally, predictive maintenance relies on various sensors, onboard diagnostics, and data analysis techniques in order to continuously supervise the performance indicators of a vehicle. This includes overseeing elements such as the engine temperature, oil pressure, tire pressure, brake wear, fluid levels, and other vital components of a vehicle.

By collecting and analysing this data, fleet managers are able to identify early patterns which indicate abnormalities. This might take into account a sudden increase in a fleet vehicle’s engine temperature, or equally, a substantial decrease in tyre pressure.

Of course, all fleet vehicles have parts which will fail over time. Though, predictive vehicle maintenance affords fleet managers with a singularly holistic view over their vehicles, making maintenance more streamlined as a result. The upfront cost of such an implementation is higher in comparison to a reactive vehicle maintenance strategy, yet the long-term cost savings negate this.

Vehicle Maintenance Solutions from MICHELIN Connected Fleet

In summary, the various available approaches to vehicle maintenance all have particular benefits. Scheduled maintenance serves as a base, reactive maintenance cuts costs while saving time, and predictive vehicle maintenance equips fleet managers with cutting-edge analytical methods.

Consequently, what’s best depends entirely on your organisation’s specific fleet and the scenario it finds itself in at a given time. It’s for this reason why we at MICHELIN Connected Fleet have developed vehicle maintenance solutions, instead of standalone applications. Our dashboard software integrates with fleet vehicles so that fleet managers have the ability to take appropriate measures when corresponding situations arise.

MICHELIN Connected Fleet’s fleet management services and solutions give fleet managers the level of visibility that’s required for ensuring maintenance is carried out both efficiently and effectively. Whether you operate a small business or large company, vehicle maintenance is the first step to fleet compliance. If you’re interested in reaping the benefits our service provides, then be sure to make an enquiry today. For further reading, feel free to browse our resources center.