A Complete Guide to Preventative Maintenance Inspections for Vehicle Fleets

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Updated 03/08/2023

A Preventative Maintenance Inspection (PMI), also known as a Preventive Maintenance Inspection or a Periodic Maintenance Inspection, is a legal requirement under HGV and PSV operator licences and must be carried out by a competent professional every four to six weeks, but these can sometimes be longer. Failure to carry out PMIs can result in more downtime, expensive repairs and a decrease in asset lifespan. To ensure your fleet is always working at its very best, consider setting up a schedule for your preventative maintenance inspections for excellent fleet management.

In this guide, we will explain everything you need to know about PMIs, including what they are, who they concern, and how you can carry out and schedule each inspection.

A truck driver wearing a hi-vis and hardhat checking the wheels of his truck

What Are Preventative Maintenance Inspections?

As mentioned, PMIs are routinely planned maintenance that can ensure all vehicles within a fleet are safe to operate, and to prevent potential defects from becoming safety concerns. Preventative maintenance can also be carried out on work equipment. The results of PMIs need to be stored securely for 15 months, and can be done so via a digital fleet management system.

HGVs, trailers and PSVs need to be checked internally and externally during a PMI to identify potential defects. Checks that should be performed include, but are not limited to:

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Suspension
  • Brakes
  • Seat belts
  • Indicators and lights
  • Electrical systems

The relevant person within your company, or externally if you utilise a garage, will have a checklist to ensure they are evaluating all aspects of a vehicle. Traditionally, paper checklists are used, but they can become easily damaged and lost. Using a digital checklist can make processes within your business much easier, with PMI results stored securely on an easy-to-access database.

There are various benefits to PMIs that can increase efficiency and decrease downtime. PMIs can improve safety within your business, increase vehicle lifespan, promote health and safety and improve customer satisfaction. Preventative maintenance should also not be confused with corrective maintenance; preventative maintenance helps to identify potential hazards before they occur, whereas corrective maintenance fixes issues that have already created a safety defect.

To find out more about PMIs and what they involve, you can read our previous guide here.

Who Do Preventative Maintenance Inspections Concern?

There is no set person within your company who is required to carry out PMIs, as long as they can carry them out effectively and their identity is reported to the traffic commissioner. They also don’t have to be an internal source; businesses can take their fleet to a garage for preventative maintenance inspections. Mechanics, drivers, and fleet managers should make themselves aware of their PMI schedule.

There are different types of preventative maintenance that businesses with fleets need to be aware of: time-based, usage-based, predictive and prescriptive. Each form of preventative maintenance should be scheduled accordingly in order to suit the needs of the fleet and keep them in an optimal condition.

Any vehicle that is over twelve years old should be inspected every six weeks, whereas any vehicle that covers 150,000 miles a year with a consistently heavy load should be inspected every four weeks. However, even if a vehicle is younger than 12 years and doesn’t cover more than 150,000 miles should still be routinely inspected. Therefore, fleet managers should create automatic schedules for their fleet to ensure the proper maintenance is carried out.

To find out more about who preventative maintenance inspections concern, you can read our previous guide here.

Truck Manager with a digital tablet

How Do I Carry Out and Schedule a Preventative Maintenance Inspection?

To schedule a PMI, fleet managers must ensure that all vehicles are booked in for their maintenance checks when they are needed. To do this effectively, you should consider a digital PMI programme such as our system at AssetGo. All preventative maintenance inspections can be placed into an automatic calendar that fleet managers and mechanics can access, ensuring no vehicles are missed and safety is paramount. Drivers will also be able to see any important upcoming dates on their app.

PMIs should take place on time and be carried out in a thorough manner. Mechanics can then use your fleet management app to carry out their checks and report any defects, which can be accessed quickly by drivers and fleet operators. All relevant people within your business should be trained to use a PMI scheduling system.

A vehicle cannot technically fail a PMI, but it can be declared inoperable if major defects are found. At this point, the vehicle will be sent for corrective maintenance to repair any issues. In order to create a PMI checklist, a list must be made of all areas of a vehicle that must be inspected, and mechanics must note what they find and whether a vehicle has passed. A record of daily checks can also be helpful in checking to see whether a potential defect has already been spotted.

You can find out more about carrying out and scheduling preventative maintenance inspections in our previous guide here.

In Conclusion

Our fleet management system here at AssetGo can store all important data from preventative maintenance inspections carried out in the last 15 months, as well as details from daily walkaround checks. Our app and CMS system can also automatically schedule PMIs and ensures your fleet is fully operational before any vehicle is taken back out on the road.

To discover more about our fleet management system, or to request a free demo for your business, get in touch with us today.

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