Blog Post

Delaying Maintenance: What Can Be Safely Put Off And What Can’t? – Part 2

Let’s take a look at an every day example of preventive maintenance. Dentists want you to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day… most people may only brush once a day. We take care of our teeth for two reasons:

1.) So they will look good, shiny and white.

2.) So we will not get cavities and lose them.

We regularly go to the dentist in hopes of catching any problems early on. If you fix something at the proper time, the cost is minimum vs. waiting and finding out you need a root canal. The same is true for fleet maintenance – if you maintain your fleets well, you reduce the cost of doing things you KNOW you will need to do.

When components are ignored, they will wear out prematurely and need to be replaced unnecessarily. In order to get the most out of your fleet’s lifecycle, you must maintain, or risk early failure. Consider another example: A brake job is a simple procedure. With regular maintenance, the pad replacement normally costs $250. Waiting too long and not replacing the brake pad will lead to additional problems and mayhem.


1.) Failing a road side inspection

2.) Break down requiring additional third party labor to repair

3) An accident

It is important to note that you can decide to NOT defer maintenance anymore…. But understand that it can’t be overturned in a night. The results of Deferred Maintenance even after a fleet decides to switch to proper maintenance can be felt for years to come.

Before putting unsafe vehicles on the road, consider potential roadside inspection penalties. Vehicle maintenance violations are a huge threat to a carrier’s safety record. There are close to 200 separate violations on Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s list of point-carrying infractions, and many carry ratings of 5 points or higher.

In Amerit’s own experience, it often appears that most fleets subscribe to one of two philosophies when deferring maintenance:

1.) Buy New and Maintain

  • Extended PM intervals: Many companies already subscribe to OEM extended intervals.
  • Parking vehicle: Only works if you have a substantial spare fleet to pull from and ultimately results on pushing the cost to the next period.
  • Focus on safety items only: Defer the expense until the next period.

2.) Repair as necessary – Less concerned with comforts or vehicle appearance. Usually results in lower vehicle value at end of life, and higher driver/operator turnover.

Want to read more about this topic?
Check out Part 1 – Deferred Maintenance: What is the True Cost for Fleets?

From AFS Blog