HGV maintenance plays a crucial role in the successful running of any transportation business, whether you own one vehicle or a whole fleet.
There are many aspects surrounding the maintenance of HGVs, which when implemented come together to ensure that vehicle owners and operators remain compliant with the law.
At the point of being granted your operators licence, the Office of the Transport Commissioner will issue you with a set time frame of the number of weeks you will be allowed to leave between your vehicle inspections.
Beware! Under no circumstances should you be tempted to go beyond this instruction.
Should you ever be called to public inquiry the Traffic Commissioner will study the actual length of time between your maintenance inspections and you won’t be cut any slack if dates are not as they should be.
Road safety is always the first consideration when looking at the need for vehicle maintenance. Daily inspections and walk round checks help to ensure that a vehicle that is using roads within and beyond the UK is legally safe to drive.
However, maintenance also plays a crucial role in a vehicle’s total cost per mile. Carried out properly and your vehicle’s running costs will decrease. Ignored, costs and inconvenience are bound to increase. Not only are the costs of parts and labour factored in here, but also the cost and inconvenience of having a vehicle off the road and in the garage, which represents a hit to that vehicles and your businesses productivity.
Bearing all this in mind, MHF (UK) Ltd recommends the use of a preventative HGV maintenance schedule to help you manage the condition of your fleet and to keep your vehicles running efficiently and most cost effectively.
The creation and implementation of your HGV maintenance schedule shouldn’t be seen as a daunting prospect. Follow these simple steps to stay safe, efficient and compliant – and to reduce your running costs.
Use your daily inspection sheets as a starting point to create a record of vehicle condition and servicing dates for each vehicle. You should record the mileage, fuel system type and also make a note of the usage type for the vehicle (load types, terrain usually driven on, weather conditions typically operated in etc).
Your maintenance schedule system should always record the owner name, VIN, vehicle make, model and year, tyre size and fleet number (if applicable).
Once you have a record of each HGV in your fleet, you can start to develop a unique maintenance plan for each one. You should consider recording engine hours, fuel levels, mileage as benchmark figures to help you to calculate when each vehicle will need servicing and maintenance attention. These factors must be closely tracked for each vehicle. It is also a good idea to track the routes of your HGV drivers and map where they will be closest to a service garage. If your vehicles carry out long-distance journeys this can enable you to schedule maintenance work during your driver’s scheduled downtime whilst your driver is resting. This can also help to avoid the possibility of unexpected repairs cropping up when you have an essential job scheduled for your vehicle.
Your HGV maintenance sheets can either be electronic or you can use a paper-based version, however we would encourage you to develop an electronic system for recording your HGV maintenance inspections.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that a regular driver will know their vehicle better than anyone else. Make sure you capitalise on this invaluable knowledge! If your drivers are carrying out their daily inspections properly, they will be looking out for any issues with the brakes, tyres, oil and other fluid levels and electrical checks etc. Any defects should be recorded on the daily inspection sheet and acted on appropriately.
You run a tight ship, right? And you look after your vehicles properly. Why would you risk falling out of step with your vehicle maintenance documents by not keeping your records up to date? The truth is, you don’t want to risk this happening but running a business is intense and things can get overlooked.
Rather than relying on stored paper documents, which can easily get mislaid, it is wise to consider managing your HGV maintenance sheets electronically. This will help to make the entire process completely transparent and secure. It will also be far easier to update and inspect and will simplify any administration duties for you or your staff.
“Operators must comply with the declaration they give to the relevant traffic commissioner that they will ensure that their vehicles are operated in a fit and serviceable condition. If operators intend making any changes to their maintenance arrangements, they must update the details on the vehicle operator licencing system”
DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness
Full details of the DVLA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness can be found here.
In the UK, as an HGV operator or driver you are legally bound to ensure the roadworthiness of your vehicle/s. It is your responsibility to guarantee that you meet the governing legislation outlined by the Traffic Commissioners in their Statutory Guidance Document. This means that you must ensure your vehicle/s are roadworthy at all times and that your maintenance records are up to date. Carrying out regular maintenance on your HGVs is therefore essential.
If you would like to discuss setting up a bespoke HGV maintenance schedule with MHF (UK) Ltd please contact our office on 01386 792354 or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively fill in our contact form.
DVSA Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/990212/guide-to-maintaining-roadworthiness-commercial-goods-and-public-service-vehicles.pdf