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Everything You Need to Know About Creating a Top-Notch Fleet Maintenance Policy

Having a fleet maintenance policy is crucial if you manage a fleet of vehicles, whether it’s for transportation, delivery, logistics or any other operational purpose. Your maintenance policy outlines the guidelines and procedures for maintaining and managing these assets, ensuring their safety, efficiency and longevity. 

In this blog, we dive further into the importance of establishing a maintenance policy for your company’s fleet, explore what exactly it should entail and highlight the distinctive use cases that arise when managing owned versus non-owned vehicles.  

The Importance of a Fleet Maintenance Policy 

A fleet maintenance policy provides a structured approach to vehicle upkeep, repairs and safety protocols – working to prevent breakdowns, minimize downtime and extend the lifespan of your vehicles. By outlining your guidelines for regular inspections, maintenance schedules and addressing potential issues, an effective policy will promote efficiency, cost-effectiveness and overall reliability in the management of your fleet. We explore a handful of these benefits below.  


A proactive policy ensures that maintenance procedures are standardized across your fleet. This helps avoid inconsistencies and ensures that every vehicle receives the same level of care. 

Safety and Compliance 

The safety of your drivers, passengers and others on the road is paramount. Providing written rules surrounding regular maintenance helps identify and address potential safety hazards, reducing the risk of crashes caused by mechanical failures or malfunctions. 

Depending on your industry and location, there may also be legal requirements and regulations that mandate regular maintenance and inspections of commercial vehicles. Adhering to these regulations helps your company avoid penalties and legal issues. 

Reduced Downtime and Increased Cost Savings

Vehicles that are properly maintained are less likely to break down unexpectedly. This reduces unplanned downtime, which can disrupt operations, delay deliveries and increase your overall costs. 

Preventive maintenance can help identify and address issues before they become major problems. This can save your company money by avoiding expensive repairs and replacements, which is especially critical considering that the costs of repairs and the time it takes to complete them have surged dramatically.  Over the last two years, the average duration of rental for collision replacement-related cases has risen by almost six entire days. The backlog of work in repair shops has reached an all-time peak, as almost one in five shops are now scheduling appointments more than eight weeks in advance. This percentage had never gone beyond 2% until this year. 


Vehicles in good working condition tend to be more fuel-efficient and have better overall performance. This can lead to cost savings on fuel and improved operational efficiency.  Fuel savings specifically is a critical win for fleets. From January to June 2022, the price of regular motor gasoline rose 49%, and the price of diesel fuel rose even more at 55%. 

Extended Lifespan and Resale Value

Well-maintained vehicles tend to have longer lifespans. This means that your company can get more value from its investments in vehicles, reducing the frequency of having to purchase new ones. Cost is another big factor to consider here – prices for auto parts and equipment rose 22.8% between 2021 and 2022, while the cost of used cars and trucks rose 14%. 

If your company eventually decides to sell or replace its vehicles, well-maintained vehicles have higher resale values. This can provide a better return on investment when upgrading your fleet. 

Record Keeping 

A fleet maintenance policy typically includes record-keeping practices. Maintaining detailed records of maintenance and repairs can be useful for tracking expenses, analyzing vehicle performance and demonstrating your company’s compliance with regulations. 

Download Our Fleet Maintenance Checklist:
A Proactive Guide for Ensuring Proper Care, Compliance and Safety of Fleet Vehicles

Brand Image 

Your fleet vehicles are often visible to the public and can serve as a form of advertising. Well-maintained vehicles present a more professional and reliable image to customers and partners. 

Driver Satisfaction 

Vehicles that are reliable and in good condition contribute to driver satisfaction. Happy, safer drivers are far more likely to be productive and committed to their jobs. 

What Should You Include in Your Fleet Maintenance Policy? 

While the specifics can vary based on your company’s industry, size and fleet composition, here are some tips surrounding key elements that you can include: 

Maintenance Schedule  

Define the frequency and types of maintenance tasks, such as oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections and other major services. Specify whether maintenance is based on mileage, time intervals or a combination of both. 

Repair and Service Procedures  

Provide guidance on how to handle repairs and service. Specify whether repairs should be performed in-house or by authorized external mechanics. Detail the approval process for major repairs and the communication chain involved. 

Record Keeping 

Describe how maintenance records should be kept, organized and stored. This includes details such as recording dates, mileage, performed tasks and costs. These records are critical for tracking maintenance history and compliance. 

Parts and Inventory Management 

Address how parts and inventory should be managed. This might involve tracking spare parts, ordering replacements and ensuring that the necessary components are readily available for maintenance and repairs. 

Training and Certification 

Specify any training or certification requirements for mechanics or technicians responsible for maintaining the fleet. This ensures that maintenance is performed by qualified professionals. 

Emergency Procedures 

Detail the steps to take in case of breakdowns, crashes or other emergencies. Provide guidelines for handling these situations safely and efficiently. 

Warranty and Recall Management 

Describe how to manage vehicle warranties and manufacturer recalls. Ensure that vehicles are taken to authorized dealerships when necessary and that recalls are addressed promptly.

Safety and Compliance 

Address safety regulations and compliance requirements specific to the fleet’s operation. This might include vehicle inspection requirements, emissions standards and any industry-specific guidelines. 

Driver Responsibilities 

Outline the responsibilities of drivers in maintaining the vehicles. This could involve reporting any issues promptly, keeping interiors clean and performing basic checks before each trip. 

Communication Channels 

Establish clear communication channels for reporting fleet vehicle maintenance issues, requesting repairs and sharing information between drivers, mechanics and management. 

Budgeting and Cost Control 

Include a section on budgeting for maintenance expenses, monitoring costs and implementing cost-saving measures while maintaining quality. 

Performance Metrics and Analysis

Define key performance indicators (KPIs) for evaluating the effectiveness of the fleet maintenance program. These might include metrics related to vehicle downtime, repair costs and overall fleet efficiency.  

Continuous Improvement 

Emphasize the importance of continuous improvement in the maintenance process. Encourage the review and adjustment of the policy based on feedback, lessons learned and technological advancements. Regular review and updates to the policy ensure that it remains relevant and effective in managing the company’s fleet over time. 

Owned vs. Non-Owned Vehicle Use Cases 

If your company manages a fleet of vehicles that you own, this approach offers greater control, standardization and predictability over fleet vehicle maintenance and costs. On the other hand, when leveraging non-owned vehicles that are owned by drivers and used for work purposes, there is less control over maintenance practices and costs. There is, however, some added flexibility and potential cost savings for your company. We explore some of these use cases and benefits below.  

Considerations for Owned Fleet Vehicles

When your company owns your fleet, you can call the shots on maintenance, repairs and all the nitty-gritty compliance details. You can also craft a top-notch fleet maintenance policy that’s tailor-made for your business. With owned vehicles, you can ensure that every vehicle in your fleet follows the same maintenance playbook. That means consistent quality, more proactive safety measures and a seamless fit with policies and regulations.

Owning vehicles also gives you a clearer view of the financial road ahead. Because those vehicles are yours, budgeting becomes more predictable, helping you better navigate maintenance, repairs and replacements.

But it’s not just about control – it’s about ownership. These vehicles are more than just a means of transportation; they’re assets. Your company gets to decide when they retire, when they’re sold and when they’re replaced. Plus, detailed records of each vehicle’s journey – from maintenance history to performance metrics – are easy to keep track of.

Lastly comes customization. When the fleet’s yours, you can give each vehicle a touch of your brand’s magic. Think branding, technology integration and operational tweaks that match your company’s unique style.

Considerations for Non-Owned Vehicles

Now, let’s talk about the flip side – the allure of non-owned vehicles, which come with their own set of perks and quirks.

Sure, you may have less control over maintenance and repairs. After all, those vehicles belong to individual drivers who might have their own way of keeping things roadworthy. But here’s where things get interesting: flexibility. Need more vehicles during peak times? No problem. Non-owned vehicles can swoop in to save the day.

The road here might be less predictable, though. Each driver could have their own maintenance style, which could impact safety, efficiency and reliability. And maintenance costs are on individual drivers’ tabs, so tracking them may be a bit trickier. But even with non-owned vehicles, your company can set some ground rules. Drivers can be responsible for keeping their vehicles in check, but your guidelines can ensure a baseline level of care.

There’s also the data challenge. Collecting consistent maintenance records from a mix of driver-owned vehicles isn’t a smooth ride. legal and liability considerations may also pop up, especially if your drivers operate in industries with special regulations.

Lastly comes insurance coverage and liability issues. If something goes awry, like a fender-bender, you’ll need to figure out the insurance and liability side of things.

Regardless of the approach you choose, clear communication, policies and guidelines are essential to ensure safety, compliance and effective fleet management.

Must-Have Fleet Preventative Maintenance Resources 

If your company oversees a fleet, ensuring the proper maintenance of your vehicles is an absolute necessity.  

Looking to guide your team to eliminate some of the guesswork that can complicate this process? Download our “Fleet Maintenance Checklist: A Proactive Guide for Ensuring Proper Care, Compliance and Safety of Fleet Vehicles.” 

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