The hot weather, long days and many miles of the summer can all take their toll on your fleet. Whether you’re running cars, vans or motorcycles, it’s important your vehicles are maintained sufficiently to stop your drivers from having breakdowns and your business from suffering costly downtime. To help, we have put together these quick tips on how to get your fleet summer ready.
Why you need to look after your fleet in the summer
From battling holiday traffic to breaking down from an overheating engine, the summer can be a challenging time for drivers and fleet managers. Although extreme weather conditions at any time of year can cause problems for vehicles, the summer season brings its own particular difficulties, including:
- Tyre problems: hot roads and weather can have a massive impact on the condition of vehicle tyres. Changes in pressure and increasing friction make them more susceptible to damage or blowouts in the summer.
- Engine and brake temperature: the hot, dry conditions of a heatwave or even mild weather can cause overheating of the engine or brakes, particularly if there are already faults in these parts of the vehicle.
- Air conditioning: your drivers might not have noticed it in the winter, but if a vehicle's air conditioning is no longer working, they’ll be sure to find out as the temperatures increase.
- Driver comfort: from low, bright sun glare to hay fever and the fatigue caused by long, hot days, discomfort can cause drivers to lose concentration on the road.
To help your drivers stay safe and your vehicles running on the road this summer season, here are a few tips for you to consider implementing.
Teach drivers basic checks
To keep your fleet in top condition, you’ll no doubt run regular servicing and maintenance. However, some parts of vehicles need to be checked more regularly than these intervals to keep your fleet in top condition. Giving your drivers some basic maintenance training will keep them safe and save you time later down the line.
This can include checks and fixes for elements such as:
- Tyre condition and pressures.
- Oil levels.
- Air conditioning.
- Window wipers and fluid.
Having some basic parts on hand for these employees to use will also encourage them to perform these checks and fix parts as often as they need to.
Focus on key vehicle parts
Your drivers can help keep your vehicles running safely, but they’re professionals in what you do, not the vehicles they drive. The hot weather conditions can affect or worsen the condition of particular elements of engines, including belts and brakes, filters, cooling systems and batteries. Therefore, making sure these parts are looked at with particular care by your maintenance team or partners is key to keeping you running.
Schedule in maintenance
Looking at each vehicle’s telematics data, identifying those that have suffered more wear and wear and booking them in for preventative maintenance will reduce the likelihood of them having a costly breakdown later on. Considering the dates, you’re bringing vehicles in to work around employee holidays or peak summer times will also help you to keep your fleet running as efficiently as possible.
Make your vehicles look great
Particularly if your vehicles are covered in your livery or branding, the summer sun is the perfect opportunity to get your business recognised. So, you don’t want it to be covered up by any dust or muck. Plus, keeping your vehicles clean will stop the build-up of any rust or damage on the chassis or parts of the engine. Give your clients and the general public the best impression of your business by making sure your vehicles are washed and looking great all summer long.
Keep drivers running safely
Summers are lighter, hotter and longer. This means drivers doing long hours need a bit of extra support to stay alert and comfortable. Making sure their air-con is working, giving them advice about wearing sunglasses, staying hydrated and taking breaks, and reminding them about the penalties for having one too many in the beer garden will help them stay safe in your vehicle. Plus, giving each driver the safety equipment (such as cones and hi-vis vests) and insurance information, they might need in an emergency will mean they’re prepared for anything this summer.