It’s easier than ever to keep your fleet running smoothly for thousands of miles. If a vehicle has less than 50,000 miles on it today, chances are it still has 75 percent of its driving life ahead of it. That’s good news if you’re a company managing a fleet of vehicles. It wasn’t that long ago that hitting the 100,000-mile mark on the odometer was a major milestone. Today, vehicles are built to last. With the proper maintenance and attention, there’s no reason you shouldn’t expect to see that 50,000-mile reading on the odometer one day roll right past 200,000 and keep ongoing. Here at Autoworks, we're going to give you some tips on how to make that happen!
Avoid short trips - The difference between driving short distances and longer distances is that the engine never has a chance to reach its optimal operating temperature on short trips. Here’s why that’s a problem. Water is a byproduct of combustion. When the engine is nice and hot and operating at its most efficient temperature, the water turns to vapor and is ventilated out of the engine. But on short trips, the engine never gets up to that optimal temperature, and as a result, that water can remain in the engine, collect in the oil, and settle in the exhaust system where it causes excessive wear and tear. Frequent short trips also mean an increased number of cold starts for the engine, which also translates to increased wear because the engine’s oil isn’t flowing as freely or in every place that it should until the engine is warmed up. While avoiding short trips might be impossible for a fleet vehicle, consider scheduling trips out to alternate longer distances among your fleet.
Read your owner’s manual - In addition to informing you what that little button on the dash is actually for, the owner’s manual contains vital information about the various vehicle components that need to be monitored and replaced, when that needs to happen, and how owners can perform the checks. Encourage drivers to inform you right away if any lights are illuminated on your fleet so that you can take care of the vehicle.
Follow the recommended vehicle maintenance schedule - Nothing shortens a vehicle’s life faster than a lack of maintenance. Remember your friendly mechanic and the stimulating reading found between the pages of your owner’s manual? They’re both instrumental in knowing when to perform routine vehicle maintenance, based on either mileage or time increments, or both. Maintenance schedules might be intimidating if you own a fleet, but work with one of our mechanics here at Autoworks to get you set up on a schedule that fits your needs.
While you should keep up on all maintenance items, the most important is far and away from the oil change. In addition to lubricating vital engine parts, oil traps contaminants and prevents them from harming your engine. Changing the oil gets rid of all that trapped gnarly stuff. Oil also breaks down over time, so it’s necessary to replace it at regular intervals.
Of course, don’t forget about these items as well:
Coolant, brake, power steering, and transmission fluids
Follow your owner’s manual, and your mechanic’s advice, to develop and stick with a regular maintenance schedule.
Look at the dashboard gauges and indicator lights for signs of trouble. By paying attention to how your vehicle operates normally, you’ll notice when a mechanical problem is causing something out of the ordinary to happen, enabling your mechanic to correct a little problem before it becomes a major, vehicle-ending problem.
Manufacturer recalls - Don’t ignore vehicle manufacturer recall notifications, no matter how minor you think they seem. Manufacturers don’t just issue recall notices on a whim. It has to be a serious, important issue that affects vehicle performance and/or driver and passenger safety, which means it’s something you want to take care of.
Make it shine - There are several reasons to keep your fleet clean inside and out, aside from the most obvious one of looking good when you’re behind the wheel. Removing dirt, bugs, sap, chemicals, and salt from your vehicle’s exterior and coating it with wax on a regular basis help protect the finish and prevent the vehicle body and components from rusting, corroding, and decaying. The same is true inside the vehicle where dirt and other foreign materials if left to accumulate, will increase fabric, vinyl, and leatherwear. Regular cleaning also gets you up close and personal with it, so you’re more likely to notice broken or missing parts or other maintenance items that need attention.
It’s a long way to 200,000 miles. Not every vehicle will make it to that impressive milestone, but by being a responsible fleet owner, you can increase the likelihood that yours will.
Schedule a service appointment today with our automotive repair technicians here at Autoworks in Ithaca to keep your fleet vehicles in top shape.
Thank you for visiting Autoworks in Ithaca, NY. Count on our automotive repair technicians to keep your car, truck, suv, or van on the roads longer and safer.