The importance of preventative maintenance for construction vehicles

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Mary Tinsley • Aug 04, 2017 • Construction

Whether you have a construction fleet of five or 500, a preventative maintenance schedule is key to keeping your business’ construction vehicles operational.

Preventative maintenance is a proactive approach that ensures regular inspections of your vehicles in order to determine whether their operating condition is up to standard, as well as detect and correct any possible malfunctions or failures before they develop into major breakdowns.

Here we take a look at some of the key reasons you should take a preventative - not curative - approach to maintaining your construction vehicles.

Prevention before cure

The old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” should never be a part of your fleet manager’s vocabulary.

While most fleet managers may find a curative approach to vehicle maintenance more appealing, because it only addresses problems when they occur, there are some serious consequences to this mind-set.

Firstly, breakdowns interrupt the regular workflow significantly. In deadline-pressured environment, if a vehicle suddenly stops running or has a flat tire, the entire day is disrupted.

Secondly, breakdowns are costly. The cost is often much lower for the prevention than the cure, especially when you factor in the cost of downtime.

Also important, proper maintenance will help prevent litigation from negligence too. Fleet managers can be held liable for negligent entrustment if a vehicle becomes unsafe due to lack of maintenance or repair.

A proper preventive maintenance program can extend the useful life of your vehicles, prevent costly repairs and reduce downtime due to them being out of service.

Carrying out routine maintenance on your vehicles, even those that aren’t currently running will significantly reduce the chance of a breakdown. Without regular inspections and servicing, your vehicle life span will be greatly reduced.

A typical preventative maintenance checklist for construction vehicles will look something similar to this:

Inspection Service



Fluid levels



Lights x x Engine x x
Horn x x Transmission x x
Brake pedal x x Coolant x x
Gauges x x Washer x x
Tires x x Brakes x x
Exhausts x x Power steering x x
Radios x x Battery x x
Heater/Defroster x x Belts x x
Park brake x x Hoses x x
Steering linkage x x Battery cable x x
Blade, bucket teeth x x Fluid leaks x x
Pibot, pins, brushing x x Air filter x x
Lubricate chassis x x Starting system x x
Controls x x Charging system x x
Pump x x   x x
Motors x x      
Hoses/ lines x x      

A preventative approach also helps you keep your drivers safer since any defects or problems that make a vehicle unsafe to drive (such as braking, problems with tire/steering etc.) will be spotted before the driver is placed in an unsafe position. But if you don't take the time to stop and check your vehicles, then you may be putting your drivers at risk.

Preventive maintenance can be scheduled manually or by using fleet management software. Manual systems can be tedious and time-consuming to manage, especially for larger fleets. Luckily, technology is affordable even for the smallest fleets.

Another option is to find a specialist commercial vehicle hire company that will put this plan together for you, so you can rest assured your vehicles will always be operational.

See what The John Henry Group thought about our preventative maintenance schedule below: 


In reality, you are always going to do a little bit of both reactionary and preventative maintenance in your fleet, but your main focus should be on effectively acquiring a preventative approach. With a routine maintenance plan in place, you can keep your vehicles running at their best, ensure driver safety and limit downtime.

Find out more about improving driver safety by downloading our eBook: 'Six ways to reduce accidents across your business fleet'

Six ways to reduce accidents across your business fleet


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