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Loxley_house_key.jpgBen Franklin was a patriot, a statesman and packed more wisdom into his writings than most Americans before or since. Every shop should have at least one of his quotes framed on the wall.

 “Well done is better than well said.”

 “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

 “It takes many good deeds to build a reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

 But the most important bit of Franklin wisdom for anyone in charge of fleet maintenance is one of his most famous quotes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

 We don’t have to tell you that an efficient routine maintenance program can make a huge difference. Dedicating yourself to that ounce of prevention can save you major headaches and even more cost. Once a part fails, the costs to transport and repair a vehicle are usually much more significant than if you’d caught and fixed issues before they caused a breakdown.

 So what are the key things to consider in a fleet maintenance program? These are a good foundation.

Pre-trip walk arounds. Drivers spend far more time with your trucks than your techs, so it’s a good idea to involve them in prevention as much as possible. One of the easiest ways for them to participate is to perform a simple walk around before leaving for their destination. Have them turn on the engine so that they can pick up any strange sounds that may signal a problem. Then have them walk around the truck and trailer to check everything that’s visible.

Don’t skip regularly scheduled maintenance. It can be tempting to stretch your maintenance mileage in order to try saving a few bucks on costs over the long-term. Eventually, this is bound to backfire and something will break down, which could easily cost you more than any savings on maintenance.

Use a comprehensive maintenance checklist. This seems like a no-brainer. But without a checklist, some techs may skip over items that could eventually have a big impact on your overhead. If you don’t have one already, develop a checklist of the crucial maintenance components and don’t let vehicles on the road without a tech checking everything on the list.

Compare your data. You already log your mileage, fuel costs and engine hours. But do you log your breakdowns and unscheduled repairs? If not, you should start. And once you do, look at all of that data to see if you detect patterns that might cause you to make modifications to your maintenance.

Use the best equipment. Equipment and tools are overhead, so it may seem counter-intuitive to spend money to save money. But the right equipment and tools can keep your productivity up and your vehicles on the road. Our MACH Series mobile column lifts are surefire ways to keep things moving. They adjust to different wheel sizes. They’re faster and easier to set up than other mobile column lifts. And their rise speeds beat anything else on the market.