It’s common for people to believe that a vehicle not in use is a vehicle that doesn’t need to be maintained. However, it’s not actually the case.
Vehicles not in use don’t require extensive maintenance, but they must be maintained nonetheless.
In this blog we’ll go through some simple ways to keep your fleet vehicles ready for when business picks up again.
Remove Rust From Your Brakes
After several days of not driving at all, a thin layer of rust begins to form on the surface of a vehicle’s brake rotors. This is especially likely to happen when it rains. You can verify this yourself by looking through the wheels at your rotors.
The way to solve this rust build-up is to arrange a way to take each vehicle out for a short drive. If a driver has their vehicle at home, remind them to take it for a drive around their neighbourhood once a week. If the vehicles are parked, have someone at the office do it for a handful of vehicles each day.
When you start driving, you may hear a distinct grinding sound as the brake pads scrape the rust off. The sound will stop after a few kilometers, once the rust is cleared. And that’s it. Once the sound stops, you can take the vehicle back and look at the rotors, which should be shiny again.
If the sound persists after 10 kilometres of stop-and-start driving, and you notice that braking isn’t working the way it normally would, then a trip to the auto repair shop may be necessary.
Protect Your Battery by Starting Your Car
Another thing to consider is maintaining the health of your vehicles’ batteries. It’s a good idea to let each vehicle run for a few minutes every few days.
More importantly, starting the engine also allows it to be sprayed with oil. When you shut the engine off, this oil slowly goes from the top of the engine to the pan at the bottom leaving some components dry after sitting for long periods.
By starting the car, you’re soaking those parts in oil, making the next start less harsh. It also runs the fuel pump, keeping fresh pressurized fuel in the fuel lines.
Starting your vehicles also allows you to check the health of the batteries, so you’ll know if they’re ready to drive in case of emergency or when business picks up again. Putting them in gear and back in park engages and disengages the brake calipers and drum shoes.
Fill Your Gas Tank
Filling up each vehicle’s gas tank prevents moisture from building up in the tank. Moisture in the tank increases the odds that:
- Your vehicle will stall
- The overall mileage will be reduced
- Acceleration will be decreased
- The vehicle’s engine won’t start
All of this can be avoided by simply topping up the fuel in the tank. And of course, remember to continue Covid-19 hand washing protocols after filling the tank and touching the payment pinpad. You could also use disinfecting wipes to clean the pump and pinpad before touching them.
Inflate Your Tires
This is especially important for fleets in areas with volatile weather and temperature (aka most of Canada). Temperature changes affect tire pressure, and a vehicle left sitting will slowly lose its tire pressure over time.
This great two-minute video shows you how to check your tire pressure and prevent overinflation when you go to fill them up:
A Happy Fleet is a Maintained Fleet
Keeping unused vehicles maintained doesn’t require a lot of effort: inflating tires, filling up the gas tank and short drives around the block is all you need to do. Setting aside a half hour each week or two is more than enough to ensure that no unexpected hiccups occur when these vehicles are put back into use.
Get to Know the Author
Jennifer Chapman has been a valued member of the Canadian Fleet Management community for over 20 years. Her dedication to quality and cost-awareness is eclipsed only by her commitment to finding the best solution for her clients. Continually thinking outside the box, Jennifer is well-known for her ability to manage teams and implement process improvements, as well as advance workplace involvement in non-profit community efforts. Having obtained her CAFM and ASE certifications, Jennifer is well-poised to help fleets be successful in the 21st Century.Meet our team