Saving Energy Through Preventive Maintenance

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Preventive maintenance has a direct positive impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Photo Shutterstock

A good maintenance programme for vehicles and fleet equipment means lower GHG emissions, longer-lasting vehicles and better resale value. Provided, of course, that the right technological tools and relevant data are used.

Luc Saint-Amour, Owner of NAPA AUTOPRO in Saint-Augustin. Photo Luc Saint-Amour

This is not always the case in industry, as the experts will testify.

“Today’s vehicles require much closer monitoring than they used to, and the intervals between servicing are much shorter than they used to be,” says Luc Saint-Amour, Owner of NAPA AUTOPRO in Saint-Augustin, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the field. “For example, for a certain type of truck, it used to be recommended that the differential oil be changed every five years. Today, it’s estimated that this maintenance should be carried out every 24,000 km or every two years.”

As fleet maintenance becomes increasingly complex, managers need to be able to rely on increasingly sophisticated software and data collection and analysis systems. In this context, Excel spreadsheets are no longer popular!

Moving from Excel spreadsheets to telemetry

Guillaume Poudrier, President of Géothentic. Photo Géothentic

Telemetry refers to the monitoring and analysis of information from computer systems to track performance and identify problems. Technology well integrated by fleet managers? “Not yet,” says Guillaume Poudrier, President of Géothentic, a company specializing in fleet management.

“I frequently meet customers who don’t use telemetry and who enter their data manually. However, in most projects, the initial objective is to optimize fleet maintenance management based on the relevant data for the various vehicles and equipment.”

Eliminating the time-consuming manual operation of entering data into the software is the first step towards systematizing maintenance planning.

“Telemetry makes it possible to systematize the maintenance of a fleet on the basis of real data and to use software already used by companies to avoid adding an extra tool to plan our maintenance. The aim is to simplify the maintenance management process in order to standardize it and maximize its benefits, but all too often preventive maintenance is improvised or left to the discretion of the person in charge”.

Using the right variables

Good interview planning starts with identifying the relevant variables. These variables are determined according to the use of the different types of vehicle.

“All too often, managers don’t use optimized data,” says Poudrier. I’ve seen some very big players in the industrial world base their maintenance on fixed maintenance schedules every three months, whereas after three months some machines are due for maintenance, while others, which have hardly been used at all, are not.”

The important thing, he reminds us, is to avoid disrupting routine operations during maintenance periods. This can represent a logistical challenge for companies with few or no surplus vehicles.

Expert recommendations

Roger Constantin, fleet management expert. Photo Roger Constantin

According to fleet management expert Roger Constantin, the key to fuel economy and preventive maintenance is as follows: “Always ensure that the vehicle is returned to as close to its original condition as possible. To do this, you need to plan inspections, adjustments, cleaning and component tests.”

Constantin also recommends daily visual inspections by vehicle users to detect problems at an early stage and prevent breakdowns.

“This information can be incorporated into a preventive maintenance plan to improve vehicle performance and stabilize or improve fuel consumption.”

What’s more, more and more people in industry are talking about predictive maintenance rather than preventive maintenance.

“This type of program makes it possible to predict when a part needs to be replaced,” explains Constantin. “This is essential if you want to avoid losing opportunities for your business. Losing the use of a vehicle because a part has to be replaced represents a loss of revenue.”

Eight best practices

Here are the eight practices recommended by Brandon Boring, Director of Transport for the Pennsylvania State Police and member of the North American NAFA, to effectively reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles, help protect the environment and save money through greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions:

  1. Regular engine maintenance: This includes regular tune-ups, changing air filters and replacing spark plugs if necessary.
  2. Good tire maintenance: Maintaining correct tire pressure and correctly aligned wheels can prevent unnecessary tire wear, which can contribute to inefficient fuel consumption.
  3. Scheduled oil changes: Dirty oil can increase friction and reduce engine performance, leading to higher fuel consumption and emissions.
  4. Inspections of emissions systems such as catalytic converters and oxygen sensors: Faulty emissions systems can lead to increased emissions of harmful pollutants.
  5. Driver training and behaviour monitoring: Training drivers in eco-driving techniques, such as smooth acceleration, maintaining a constant speed and reducing idling, can help improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
  6. Regular vehicle inspections: The aim is to identify and resolve any problems that could affect fuel efficiency and emissions to ensure optimum performance.
  7. Fleet optimization: Route and vehicle planning can help reduce unnecessary mileage and idling.
  8. Lifecycle management: Implementing a structured fleet vehicle lifecycle management plan can help to ensure that older, less fuel-efficient vehicles are scrapped and replaced by newer, more efficient models.


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