Preventive Maintenance Program For Fleets: How To Save Thousands Following 4 Simple Steps

June 3, 2024

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preventive maintenance
Written by Steve Aguzzi
June 3, 2024 / 5 minute read
Blog Topic: Maintain My Fleet

Imagine your vehicle suddenly starting to consume much more gas than usual. Now, multiply this issue across a 50-vehicle fleet. This is a significant increase in operational costs. Regular proactive maintenance can eliminate issues like this one, as well as other unexpected breakdowns or costly disruptions.

Real-time data, electric, hydrogen, hybrid fleets, and connected vehicle and telematics technologies are transforming preventive maintenance programs. To explore the best practices and the future of preventive measures, we had an insightful conversation with Steve Aguzzi, the Commercial Fleet Executive at Foss National Leasing.

But before we jump into Steve’s insights, let’s clarify the most confusing part first.

Preventative or Preventive Maintenance?

Both versions are valid and have the same meaning; however, "Preventive maintenance" is the preferred term for scheduled upkeep to avoid equipment failures. Although "preventative" is sometimes used in this context, industry guidelines and literature favour "preventive maintenance.” Thus, we'll stick to this standard wording.

What is a Fleet Preventive Maintenance Program?

Preventive maintenance is about foresight. It's about addressing potential issues before they become costly problems.


A fleet preventive maintenance program is a systematic approach to regularly maintaining and servicing fleet vehicles to prevent breakdowns, avoid unnecessary downtime, reduce repair costs, and extend their lifespan. 

An effective preventive maintenance program requires analyzing operations and vehicle types to establish limits and streamline processes. Once the maintenance policy is set up, technicians will monitor compliance, ensuring maintenance is done on time. With a preventive maintenance schedule and preventive maintenance software in place, you have the data and full control over the unexpected.


Free Man in Black Uniform and Blue Cap Fixing Blue Truck Stock Photo


Getting Started with A Preventive Maintenance Program

There are four steps to implement a preventive maintenance plan from scratch: 

  1. Assess Your Fleet's Needs:
    First, take a good look at your fleet. Analyze historical maintenance data, assess your business operations, vehicle type, age, and if they have warranties to understand your fleet's unique requirements.
  2. Establish a Maintenance Schedule:
    Based on your assessment, create a maintenance schedule for each vehicle. Include regular inspections, fluid checks, oil changes, tire rotations, and other manufacturer-recommended tasks. Maintain thorough records of all services performed.
  3. Implement Fleet Management Software:
    Invest in fleet management software with features like automatic scheduling, tracking service histories, generating reports, and forecasting future needs.
  4. Train Your Team:
    Ensure fleet managers, maintenance staff, and drivers are trained on the new PM procedures. Stay on top of vehicle health metrics to identify areas for improvement.

These steps might sound straightforward, but implementing an effective preventive maintenance plan can be challenging without a dedicated, experienced fleet manager. Many companies use in-house scheduling systems, which may not be customized enough to optimize costs effectively. 

For instance, while it was once common practice to change the oil every 5,000 kilometres, modern vehicles with advanced sensors can extend this interval to 12,000 or even 16,000 kilometres. The most common failures are customizing the preventive maintenance schedule and aligning maintenance with manufacturer requirements.

If you lack experience in fleet management or have other professional obligations, consider working with a fleet management company for expertise and support. In any case, Steve's advice is to start small and scale up.


Begin with a pilot program on a subset of your fleet. Gather data, refine your processes, and gradually expand the program. Training your team and using the right tools is key to success.

What is a typical preventive maintenance schedule for a fleet of 50 vehicles?

A "typical preventive maintenance schedule" doesn't exist. While standard maintenance tasks such as oil changes, tire rotations, or brake inspections are common, each fleet is unique, and consequently, their maintenance schedules will vary.

For instance, a company that retains older vehicles for as long as possible and only repairs them at the last minute might discover that acquiring new vehicles long-term is more cost-effective than adjusting their maintenance schedules.

On the other hand, a fleet of electric vehicles with fewer moving parts but more electronic components and sensors may benefit from employing predictive maintenance based on advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms to anticipate and prevent problems.

While preventive maintenance programs vary widely, fleet managers often make the same mistakes when establishing policies.

  • Reactive Approach: They address issues after breakdowns, increasing downtime and repair costs.
  • No Data-Driven Decision-Making: Without using data for maintenance decisions, companies can't identify patterns or optimize schedules.
  • Inconsistent Maintenance Policies: Without clear policies, confusion over responsibilities, procedures, and standards leads to inconsistent maintenance.
  • Ignored Regular Monitoring and Evaluation: Maintenance requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. Fleet managers miss opportunities and competitiveness if they neglect to assess the performance of their programs.



What should you look for in preventive maintenance software and maintenance cards?

Preventive maintenance software is a game-changer for fleet management. These tools help automate scheduling, track maintenance activities, and generate detailed reports. 


Using preventive maintenance software, we can monitor our client’s fleet health in real-time and make data-driven decisions.


Maintenance card solutions, such as Foss’ fleet card, store vital information about each vehicle's service history, upcoming maintenance tasks, and warranty details. They provide access to vast quantities of data that can be utilized for predictive maintenance—for instance, using data collected via sensors on vehicles to monitor key component performance or identify any possible problems early. 

The best fleet cards also provide access to a nationwide network of reliable maintenance vendors such as Foss Fuel and Maintenance Network. You receive top-notch technical service, priority access, and various financial benefits.

What are the Costs of a Preventive Maintenance Program?

The typical preventive maintenance program cost includes a significant one-time setup investment, software licenses, training costs, and maintenance costs such as labour, parts, and consumables. It might seem like a lot at first glance, but the long-term savings far outweigh the nominal fees.


While there are costs associated with setting up a preventive maintenance program, such as fleet management company fees, we have seen an immense reduction in unexpected breakdowns and repair costs, as well as a reduction in in-house fleet management costs across all our clients without exceptions.

What's the Future of Preventive Maintenance?

Looking ahead, Steve sees preventive maintenance as increasingly data-driven. Advances in vehicle technology, such as enhanced onboard diagnostics, telematics, and machine learning, will provide more granular data on vehicle health and driver behaviour. These solutions can detect anomalies, recognize patterns, and offer insights into vehicle health.

According to Markets.us, the global automotive predictive maintenance market size is expected to be worth around USD 100 Billion by 2032 from USD 18.9 billion in 2021, with players like BM, SAP, SAS Institute Inc., Software AG, TIBCO Software Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Development LP, and others paving the way for future innovations. 

Steve is enthusiastic about future developments and recommends that fleet managers stay updated on new technologies and be willing to experiment and take calculated risks.

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