February 5, 2021How To Take A Data-Driven Approach To Looking After Your Vehicles
The saying goes that prevention is better than a cure. When you’re dealing with something like mechanical engineering, this is even more applicable due to the slow process of degradation. It isn’t simply a matter of a vehicle working flawlessly up until it doesn’t. It’s a matter of performance steadily dropping, until it becomes calamitous and requires a major overhaul.
This is why it’s important to focus on maintenance, whether you have a couple of cars or an entire fleet. Protecting them will preserve their value, reduce the likelihood of something going wrong during use and, as an added bonus, prove very rewarding. But how should you approach vehicle maintenance?
Should you just work on your vehicles when you feel like it? Well, no. Instead, you should take a data-driven approach to ensure that your efforts have the most impact. Here’s how you can do just that:
Pay attention to native monitoring messages
For many years, most vehicles have been produced with in-built monitoring facilities to let people know when things don’t appear to be working correctly. However, plenty of people fall into the habit of disregarding some, or all of those messages, and there are two common reasons why. Firstly, there is the belief that certain messages are deliberately misleading in an effort to encourage unnecessary services. This isn’t a totally unreasonable suspicion, though they’re usually much more vague than intentionally flawed.
The second reason is the conviction that gut instinct is more reliable than diagnostic systems, with experienced drivers simply opting to disregard what the data says. This is a big mistake. If an issue gets flagged on one of your vehicles, take the time to investigate it. If the problem is overblown and insignificant, you can move on — and if it’s serious then you can address it.
Install systems for tracking driver performance
How vehicles are operated plays a huge role in determining how they fare mechanically. Just as someone who eats healthily, and exercises regularly will need less healthcare than someone who eats poorly, and lives a sedated lifestyle, a vehicle that’s driven sensibly, and carefully will pick up less wear and tear than one driven badly.
This is where telematics systems enter the picture. Installing a telematics system in each vehicle you want to maintain, will allow you to easily gather rich information about the performance of the driver (or drivers). There are various system types available, so do some research to see what suits your needs (sites like icompario are useful resources here).
Factor in the relative importance of each vehicle
You obviously need to care for every vehicle you own, but to what extent? There’s a big difference between a van that’s used every day for vital business tasks, and an old car you trot out on occasion when your other vehicles are in use. The former plays an integral role in your operation, and demands intensive and proactive maintenance. The latter, not so much.
In the end, you only have so much time and money to put towards maintenance, and you can reach a point of overkill. Using a data-driven approach isn’t solely about finding ways to expand your maintenance, it’s also about seeing where you can reduce it without significantly impacting your business as a whole, freeing up resources you can invest elsewhere.
Maintaining your vehicles will save you a lot of time and money, and likely prove quite satisfying in the process. When you eventually encounter issues that demand repair, you should put just as much effort into getting great work done — so get in touch with Treadfirst when the time comes.