The Smart Service Dispatch

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February 24, 2021

 

Field Service Vehicle Maintenance Tools and Considerations for the New Year

Follow this guide to keep your vehicles in tip-top shape this year.

With the ball dropped, a new year rolled in and winter chills started setting in. Start this year off on the right foot with some great tips for caring for your vehicles in the field. Employees and customers appreciate well-maintained of equipment, so let’s go over some maintenance considerations and tools every vehicle should carry.

Vehicle Maintenance

150 years ago, getting to work may have meant feeding the horses and strapping on a saddle, but today we have the convenience of cars, vans, and trucks. To keep these running smoothly, consider these key elements. 

Tires 

Checking your tires in the winter can be especially important. When the cold air settles, it can lead to a drop in tire pressure. Low pressure can cause poor fuel economy and excessive tire wear. Newer vehicles will have TPMS sensors to take care of this for you, but it doesn’t hurt to check for yourself, especially since you may also detect dry rot and excessive wear. Older or worn out tires won’t perform nearly as well as a fresh set, and the cost goes towards ensuring technician safety.

Remember, don’t just check the tires on the road! Make sure the vehicle spare is also in good condition. It won’t do much good if you can’t use it in the event of an emergency. 

  • Quick Tip: All Tires have a manufacture date stamped onto them. You can refer to this to see the recommended replacement age for your particular set. 

Battery 

Test to make sure your battery maintains voltage and can consistently start a vehicle. A battery that may run fine in warmer weather could suddenly stop performing normally when cold weather rolls in. This can lead to a longer start in the day, or even a tech stranded at a job site.

Fluids 

Vehicles need a variety of fluids to run properly, and all of them have different cycles and different things to look out for. Make sure to top these off and that you have no unexpected leaks or drains. Look out for the following:

Coolant – Make sure the color matches the manufacturer’s specification. If you notice your temperature gauge reading higher than normal, consider replacing this.

Oil – Replace your oil on a regularly tracked schedule. Constant low oil may show signs of other engine wear.

Windshield Washer Fluid – Top off when low and make sure to purchase weather-specific fluid.

Transmission Fluid – Check if this smells burnt or if there are signs of excessive wear (metal flakes in it). This may indicate larger issues with the transmission itself.

Brake Fluid – Make sure it’s topped off and bled properly. Signs of loss here could mean big trouble for drivers on the road.

Tracking Vehicle Maintenance

Tracking your maintenance is arguably as important as doing it. Having a good system in place to know when everything needs done can prove critical to maximizing your fleet. A great tool inside the field service software Smart Service gives you the ability to track all of the above info per truck, and to set reminders based on mileage. (Existing customer? We have a great guide on this here!)

Truck Emergency Service Tools

No one wants to break down on the road, but sometimes it happens. Staying prepared for common disaster scenarios can minimize downtime and improve tech safety. Make sure techs stay prepared for quick-fixes. Keep these tools handy to help them help themselves.

Portable Air Pump

A portable air pump gives techs a great way to top off tires on the go, as well as assisting in case of a sudden low tire. A portable air pump can make sure a vehicle can limp along enough to get it into a safer position or service shop. It won’t help you if a tire goes completely flat, but if you’re slowly losing air it’s a great stop-gap until you can get the tire fixed or replaced. 

Portable Jump Starter

A portable starter can offer a little more assurance that a tech won’t get stranded on the go. These typically have their own battery for quick usage. Make sure yours has enough power to start your vehicles or it won’t do you much good in an emergency situation.

Roadside Emergency Kit

Every vehicle should have a good roadside emergency kit: a go-to bag full of small tools, jumper cables, reflective signs, and medical supplies. These work great for on-the-spot fixes or to assist someone else in need. You don’t have to spend a large amount of money here, you can find tons of basic kits online for a reasonable price. 

Nobody wants to break down on a job site or get stranded on the road. You can minimize the chances of this by doing proper maintenance and staying prepared for the most common vehicle issues. Tracking in-house equipment is just as important as tracking the things you do on a job, so give yourself an advantage by maintaining what you own.