Fleet management involves keeping fleet vehicles in great condition while also reducing costs for maintenance and repairs. This is simple to put into words, but it’s actually a delicate balance to maintain. Oil changes are a common area where fleet managers work hard to find the right balance between preventative maintenance and reducing vehicle downtime. With today’s modern technology, many managers wonder if it’s better to use the oil life monitor (OLM) to determine when to change a fleet vehicle’s oil, or whether to stick to the standard schedule.
Decreasing Oil Change Costs for Fleet Management
Oil changes seem like a necessary evil for many fleets. When commercial vehicle leasing, you must change the oil to keep vehicles operating at their peak. This also helps reduce expensive repair costs from driving around with dirty oil. However, as more and more vehicles move to using synthetic motor oil, oil changes are getting more expensive, which affects your bottom line. In addition, oil changes mean downtime for your fleet.
Therefore, fleet management programs look to optimize oil change intervals for fleet vehicles. Reducing the number of unnecessary oil changes can help save costs and reduce downtime. This can improve profits and operations. However, how exactly do you do this? For some vehicle models, using the oil life monitoring system can assist you with this. However, there are other factors you need to consider before using OLM systems to determine oil change frequency as part of your fleet management program.
Using the OLM or Standard Oil Change Schedules?
Most oil life monitoring systems use algorithms to estimate oil life based on operating conditions. The problem with standard oil change schedules is that intervals are based on normal operating conditions. However, what happens when your fleet doesn’t meet these ideal standards? For example, some things that can shorten motor oil life include:
- Short trips
- Frequent stop-and-go conditions
- Dusty conditions
- Extreme heat
- Heavy duty use
Fleet vehicle OLM systems take these factors into account to determine the oil change interval based on what your fleet vehicles really do experience. Using OLMs to determine oil change interval can help reduce the number of oil changes and lower oil change costs over the life of the vehicle. This likely sounds like an attractive solution if you’re in fleet management. However, there are some downsides.
The main problem with using the OLM system instead of scheduled oil changes is that your fleet vehicles usually get more than just an oil change during this appointment. Things like brake inspections, tire pressure inspection, and tire rotations are some other common things that occur during fleet oil change appointments. Therefore, even if you’re changing the oil less often, you should still schedule regular inspections and services for tires, brakes, and other important safety features. Otherwise, you could actually increase costs and reduce safety because other systems can soon become neglected.
At Glesby Marks, we provide expert leasing and management solutions for fleets of all types and sizes. Our transportation experts are dedicated to helping your fleet succeed. We are your one stop for fleet services, from Denver commercial vehicle leasing to fuel cost management. Call us today at (800) 482-9498 to learn more about our solutions. We are here to serve you.