So you’ve taken heed and decided you will protect your TSL by introducing a Fleet Management system. Having done that and introducing systems like a daily walkaround inspection and a VCA (vehicle condition assessment) before your vehicle is presented for a CoF, you are finding that you are getting an almost 100% pass rate but you are still getting failed at roadside inspections and your breakdown rate hasn’t changed. So what’s happening?

The answer is attitude! You are basing your maintenance on passing a CoF, the minimum standard for compliance, so any wear or deterioration in the post CoF period means your vehicle is no longer compliant and you risk having faults identified at roadside earning you an offence notice or even worse, your driver finds a fault during the walkaround check that means the vehicle is out of service, or there is a breakdown. Either way the vehicle is no longer doing its job, you have to rush around to service your customers so you don’t lose them and you are hit with a hefty bill for unplanned maintenance and possibly a recovery and callout fee.

So, what’s the answer? Simple, do what the Repair Rule requires! Maintain your vehicles to within safe tolerance of original manufacture rather than minimum compliance. While this may seem to be a lot of expensive work it will give you, as a transport operator, a much easier life, no more chasing breakdowns or arranging urgent unplanned maintenance in the middle of the night, just a well-documented system of planned maintenance.

You could invest in some of the new predictive maintenance tools but, unless you operate a large and diverse fleet, simply maintaining to the manufacturer’s requirements will meet the legal requirement of ‘within safe tolerance of original manufacture’. 

The vehicle manufacturer can advise you how often to change oil and filters, how many Kilometres you can get out of wheel bearings, the wear limits on brake shoes/drums or pads/discs and the expected life of all the other wear items on the vehicle. Build these into your service schedule with a factor of safety to accommodate our potentially harsher conditions and watch your blood pressure and stress levels drop. If you use aftermarket or non-standard parts you need to check their wear rate compared to the OE parts and build that into your maintenance planning. Don’t be tempted to say ‘these will last till the next service’. Wear has a tendency to be cumulative not linear, the last 5mm on a brake pad or shoe wears far quicker than the first 5mm, a bit like the cake of soap in your shower- there seems to be plenty, then its gone. Once you have done the initial groundwork your vehicle management system can be used to manage your vehicle maintenance letting you look after the other important stuff, like your customers, your cashflow – and fishing.

For More information or to discuss your needs contact

Steve Bullôt

Tohora Enterprises