SAVE MONEY THIS SUMMER
You’ve probably been winterizing your fleet for years—but how many fleet managers out there are summerizing their vehicles? It’s important to plan for the summer months, just as you would plan for the winter ones. We’ve put together some key tips to help you avoid costly deterioration and unplanned maintenance.
Check belts, hoses, tyres and wiper blades
Rising temperatures can have extreme - and costly - effects on the lifespan of key vehicle components. Rubber parts experience lifespan shortening during the summer months. Your engine cooling system and air conditioning system also take a beating.
In an engine running hotter thanks to rising external temperatures, belts and hoses can be at risk of speedier degeneration. Highlight these elements on planned maintenance checklists, to prevent high temperatures leaving your fleet vehicles stranded at the roadside.
Clean engines run cooler
Engine overheating is the number one cause of fleet vehicle failure in the summer months. Replace coolant with summer fluid, where necessary (see our article ‘Summer Maintenance ’ for more on organic vs inorganic inhibitors). And check engines to ensure they are clean and ready for the hot months.
A clean engine runs cooler, because it’s free of blockages that can prevent coolant circulating, drive down radiator efficiency, or stop sensors from working properly. Replacing engine fluids will help to raise the performance of the engine to its optimum level.
Air conditioning failure puts vehicles off the road
In hot weather, your drivers need access to functioning air con. The ability to maintain a cool cab temperature is vital for driver safety, and the safety of other road users.
Diminished system pressure, often caused by infrequent maintenance and failure to spot leaks, can lead to air con pumps overheating. Check the air con system at the beginning of the summer, and include air conditioning in your planned preventive maintenance for the hotter months.
Air conditioning and cost
But wait—can’t air conditioning adversely affect your fuel usage? Potentially, yes. Air conditioning has a noticeable effect on mpg at low speeds. However, it has virtually no effect on mpg at motorway speeds. Within reasonable outside temperature variations, drivers can be educated to drive with windows down in urban environments, and with windows up and the air con on at higher speeds. However, driver safety comes first: on extremely hot days, full air con use is necessary.
Purchase fuel at the right time
Buy your fuel at the right time, and you could save extra money this summer. Planned fuel stops allow you to predict and manage diesel costs. Filling up the night before you travel means you avoid heavy holiday traffic at the start of a journey.
The fuelGenie Points of Interest (POI) file on your satnav can help you find participating supermarket forecourts. With more than 1,250 conveniently-located Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Morrisons forecourts to choose from, there’s always one in your area.
If you haven’t got the fuelGenie POI file, it can be downloaded from our website: fuelgenie.co.uk.
How will you prepare your fleet vehicles for summer? Let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn.