As an independent business owner, you have a lot invested in your vehicle. It’s your means of transportation, a way to haul goods and pick up passengers, and sometimes it’s even your outdoor office. You depend on your vehicle, but do you stop to think about how much it relies on you? Here are a few tips on how to maintain your business vehicle to ensure it keeps running, and by extension, keeps you in business.
Get Regular Checkups
Presumably, you make a yearly visit to the doctor for a checkup. Do the same for your vehicle, bringing it in for periodic inspections and maintenance. Cars, vans, and trucks last longer with basic upkeep and expert assessment of whether repairs or upgrades are required. Regular services you can’t do without include having the tires reviewed for potential flats and blowouts and checking the integrity and traction of the tread. Oil changes are usually needed every 6,000 miles and can keep your vehicle on the road for years.
Keep It Clean
It should go without saying that a clean vehicle speaks well of the person driving it. Certainly, a clean car looks better for any business, particularly if it carries your company logo on the sides. But clean cars don’t just look good—they also run better. Keep the exterior sharp and occasionally clear the inner workings free of any road grit and grime. Spring for detailing every few months and instruct fleet drivers to keep the interiors looking good and trash-free. No matter how messy the work gets, no one likes to see a dirty vehicle parked in their driveway.
Establish Safe Driving Policies for Fleet Drivers
Want to maintain your business vehicle as well as possible? Keep drivers informed that vehicles are their personal responsibility. Create a checklist they can follow before and after a job to keep the fleet clean and running steadily. Well-maintained vehicles that never have accidents are also a great way to reduce the premiums on your insurance. Reward employees who take especially good care of their vehicles, and they’ll be inspired to keep it up.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Put a roadside emergency kit in your trunk or another storage area. Various kits are already available for purchase, but if you want to put together your own, be sure it contains the following:
- A tire pressure gauge
- A jack and tire iron
- Roadside flares or signals
- Tire sealant
- A first aid kit
- Jumper cables
- An empty gas can
- A two-gallon water container
- A utility tool
- A poncho
- A flashlight and extra batteries
- An emergency blanket
- A battery-powered radio and charger for your smartphone
Be ready for anything, and you’ll be prepared to better help your customers.