Maintaining Fleets during Lockdown

Geotab explores four questions that fleet owners might ask around fleet maintenance, during lockdown. Namely battery, tire maintenance and services.

4 Questions on Fleet Maintenance

Question 1: How can you maintain your tires when a vehicle isn’t moving for an extended period?

During the current lockdown, most of us will not be using our vehicles or fleets for the next several weeks and this could cause problems with your tyres. As the weight of your vehicle presses down on the tread area, which remains unchanged if you don’t move the car, your tyres could deform. This could damage the internal structure and cause deflation. It is therefore recommended to give your car an uninterrupted 15-minute exercise at least once a week.  Drive the car for a few kilometres so that the fresh oil is circulated inside the engine. Wheels24 advises that the pressure should be checked and adjusted if needed, before driving long distances. Read more on tyre pressure monitoring.

Question 2: How do I maintain my vehicle’s battery?

It is better to remove the battery if you’re vehicle will not be used for the next few weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.  Also, smear petroleum jelly or grease on the terminals and the wire ends to prevent rusting. Ensure that the battery is fully charged and top up the water level. Store the battery in a cool and dry place, well away from direct sunlight. According to The Automobile Association (AA), the negative terminal can also simply be disconnected. The negative terminal should be disconnected prior to disconnecting the positive terminal.

Question 3: Do I still need to take my vehicle to service?

In many countries, car dealerships and vehicle service centres are closed or operate with limited availability. It depends on the situation in each country whether vehicles can still go for their maintenance or annual service in times of COVID-19. Read more on setting up maintenance alerts in MyGeotab.

Various countries, including the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Belgium, have extended vehicle inspection expiration dates. Some countries give priority to business-critical vehicles.

If you own your fleet, it’s up to the local fleet manager to verify and communicate the situation in their country to the respective drivers. If the fleet is leased, it’s always best to get in touch with the leasing company to see what needs to be done.

Question 4: How should you deal with accidents in times of social distancing?

While the roads across the country have become less congested as more people stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still going to be times when a fleet driver may find him or herself involved in a collision.  

Even after you’ve been involved in an accident, you need to respect social distancing rules, keep at least six feet apart from each other in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  When filling in the accident statement, think of the usual precautions. You need to fill in the same document as the other driver or drivers, and you may have to share a pen. That’s not a problem, but it’s good practice to disinfect your hands afterwards. If that’s not possible, do not touch your hands until you can wash them.

Consider asking your insurance company to rather submit the statement electronically. Read more on accident reconstruction and notifications.

Useful things businesses can do during COVID-19 lockdown:

  • Online training: corporates are exploring the benefits of online meetings. Fleet managers can use the technology to offer courses on driver behaviour. Increased driver safety will benefit the corporate bottom line – and those drivers themselves.
  • Strategy review: corporate mobility has been slowly moving to a new paradigm: shared, electric, multimodal. This is the time to do some deep thinking about how to align your strategy to that future; also, because economic necessity will speed up the transition. 

Author: Sonja Dickinson – Executive Personal Assistant to MD, Geotab Africa

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