Breakdowns can be a business owner’s worst nightmare. Breaking down on the way to a project, a delivery, a client meeting or the airport can mean losing a job, a client, a deal or missing an important flight – all of which can seriously impact your business.
That’s why it’s essential to properly maintain your own and your staff’s work vehicles.
The start of the year is a great time to check your cars are in proper working order. Here are some ideas about where to start.
1. Do what you can yourself
There are lots of steps you can take to look after your car and keep it in tip-top condition.
Tony Eljiz is the Operations Manager at NRMA car servicing, and he has plenty of tips for business owners to ensure their cars remain on the road all year.
“Make sure you regularly check your fluid levels like engine oil, brake fluid and radiator fluid. They should be maintained at the right level for the vehicle,” he advises.
2. Don't tire your tyres
Once you’ve checked your fluid levels, next think about tyre maintenance.
“Check your tyre pressure to make sure it’s correct,” says Eljiz. “If your car’s tyres are too low, they’ll wear unevenly and burn more fuel than necessary. If they’re too full, they’ll be under stress and you’ll have less traction. It’s important to check them at least once a month.”
Maintaining the right tyre pressure also helps to keep them in great condition for as long as possible, and means the business isn’t spending more than it needs to on vehicle maintenance.
3. Get the lights right
It’s also essential to ensure every light works properly. It’s a good idea to walk around your vehicle regularly and ensure your headlights and tail lights are working properly.
Aside from being a safety issue, large fines apply to anyone caught driving a vehicle without properly working lights. Any fines dent business returns, so take the time to always check your lights to make sure you’re not exposed to any unnecessary penalties.
4. All about the service
In addition to the things you can do to keep your car in great condition, it’s important to have the vehicle regularly serviced.
“Taking your car to be serviced at an NRMA car servicing centre will help improve the life of the vehicle and keep it in good order,” advises Eljiz.
He says one of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to looking after their car is forgetting to service it.
“People often wait until the car has travelled far too many kilometres to take it to be serviced, or they wait until long after the time at which the mechanic has indicated the car needs to be serviced to book it in.
“Often vehicle owners who do that find the car has unnecessary problems it may not have had if it had been taken in to be serviced on time,” he says.
It’s also a good idea to ask your mechanic to look out for anything that may need repair now or in the near future – early diagnosis of an issue could save your business down the track.
5. Monitor the way the car is driven
How a vehicle is handled makes a huge difference to its longevity. Drivers that accelerate too quickly or break too hard will cause greater wear and tear to their vehicles compared to more controlled drivers, which will cost the business more in maintenance.
Connected from the NRMA is a useful way to monitor all the car's vital signs. It's a great tool for business owners with staff on the road to keep an eye on their driving. If staff are being too hard on their cars, it's an opportunity for the business owner to coach them to take more care.
6. In a car shell
Overall, when it comes to looking after cars properly, it pays to be diligent with monitoring, consistent with servicing and timely with repairs. That's the best way to reduce your running costs and maintain reliability - because there's always somewhere better for you and your staff to be than stuck on the road.