Commercial Vehicle Maintenance in Alberta
More than likely, your commercial vehicles represent a huge investment as far as your company is concerned. Staying vigilant in regard to your commercial vehicle maintenance is absolutely critical to the health of your business. The key to any good maintenance program is that it is consistently executed and well-tracked. Furthermore, a business operating in Alberta has to deal with all the maintenance associated with our weather - for example, our roads are salted and sanded to provide safer driving conditions, but this also comes with more damage to our vehicles.
What is commercial vehicle maintenance?
Commercial vehicle maintenance is performing regular checks on your vehicle as well as carrying out regular maintenance (such as oil, fluid and filter changes) and fixing issues before they become catastrophic. The frequency of such checks and general maintenance work will depend on your vehicle and how many kilometres you put on it. Check your owner's manual for specific instructions.
Regular checks should include checking your lights, tires (the tread and air pressure), fluids, belts, filters, battery and spark plugs. Don't forget to get your tires rotated and balanced and your alignment checked, especially if you're driving on rough roads a lot. Oil and filter changes should be done regularly, as recommended by the owner's manual and fluid changes should be done as needed.
Get a mechanic (or, if you're knowledgeable enough, you can do it yourself) to inspect your commercial vehicle periodically. Fix any issues or replace worn down parts before they become major problems to save yourself some money and headaches.
The Importance of Tracking Commercial Vehicle Maintenance in Alberta
The reasons we track maintenance on any commercial vehicle are generally three-fold. A thorough and accurate record of all maintenance and repairs allows you to keep a better eye on what exactly is going on with your vehicles. You can stay on top of your program more effectively, detect any unnecessary repeat repairs, and have a clearer picture of when certain upkeep services might be do.
Additionally, a detailed tracking record is often used by provincial auditors to ensure that you are in fact maintaining the vehicles properly. This essentially makes their job easier and ultimately helps any such audit go much more smoothly than if you did not have any records on hand. You can view the Alberta Government's maintenance program guide here.
These records also help clarify issues in the event that the vehicle is involved in a collision or some form of liability claim is established. With thorough records, you now have proof of exactly what has been done and what if any safety measures/steps were taken.
Necessary Inspections in Alberta (and Elsewhere)
There are a number of required inspections associated with commercial vehicles that you need to be aware of. First off, commercial vehicles are subject to roadside inspections. So, for instance, if there is a scale station, depending on the vehicle type, you may need to submit to it. Also, if it appears that there is something wrong with the truck, a police officer can pull you over at their discretion to try and establish what might be the problem; this could then lead to a ticket. Having a maintenance program firmly in place can certainly help you more effectively get through such inspections.
Additionally, most commercial vehicles will require pre and post trip inspections. Particularly if you’re going to be traveling some distance, you want to make sure that there are no defects and that everything is in good working order. And while it may be this way at the start of your trip, things do happen along the course of any journey; thus, a post trip inspection is also extremely crucial.
Annual safety inspections may also be required depending on the type and purpose of the vehicle in question. Many fleet operators will utilize this as part of their maintenance program. These types of inspections have to be performed by a shop licensed to conduct safeties within a given province.
Benefits of Regular Maintenance for Your Commercial Vehicles
Obviously, the better maintained your vehicle is, the more likely it will continue to do its job without mishap. It also makes your vehicle safer - it is less likely to cause an accident due to breakdown or because an important system (such as breaks or lights) are malfunctioning. You will also save money, as a major fix or accident is much more expensive than providing preventative maintenance. Furthermore, vehicles will not operate at top performance if there is a problem, leading to more costs when it comes to fuel.
You always want to be aware of what is going on with your commercial fleet. Problems and defects not only get costly, but they can be very dangerous if left unattended and a problem-plagued vehicle continues to operate on major thoroughfares. Keeping records and adhering to all requisite and routine inspections will help ensure that your commercial vehicles are up to the level they should be. Check out Aviva's detailed guide to commercial vehicle maintenance here.