What Are Preventative Maintenance Inspections? | A Guide to PMIs

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Updated 10/07/2023

A Preventative Maintenance Inspection (PMI), also known as a Periodic Maintenance Inspection or Preventive Maintenance Inspection, is essential for all transport operators to carry out on their vehicles as part of their fleet management. Safety defects found on vehicles, particularly HGVs and PSVs, can not only cause downtime but can cause a serious risk to drivers, passengers and other road users. Therefore, attempting to prevent incidents before they occur is essential.

In this guide, we will explore what PMIs are, what is involved in a regular inspection, and the various benefits of carrying them out. We will also explore the difference between preventative maintenance and corrective maintenance, and how you can efficiently schedule your PMIs.

What is Preventative Maintenance?

A preventative maintenance inspection (PMI) is the regular and routinely planned maintenance of a vehicle, or fleet of vehicles, in order to prevent downtime, vehicle failure and costly repairs from occurring. Without PMIs safety defects could go unnoticed, which could lead to a fine or penalty being issued by the DVSA. It could also put the driver’s and other road users’ safety at risk.

PMIs are required under an HGV and PSV operator’s licence, and they must be carried out regularly to ensure your fleet is safe to operate. PMIs must also be carried out if a vehicle has been off-road for a long time to ensure it is safe. For some businesses, preventative maintenance is carried out on work equipment too. The results of PMIs need to be recorded and stored securely for 15 months. Paperwork can be difficult to track, so it is recommended that you use a digital PMI reporting system to keep all data safe and secure.

You can find out more about our web-based interface for reporting PMIs here.

A person with a checklist checking the condition of a car engine

What is Involved in a Preventative Maintenance Inspection?

Various aspects of your vehicle are checked at a preventative maintenance inspection. Their purpose is to improve or maintain the roadworthiness of the vehicles and identify any potential defects before they become a more dangerous hazard. PMIs can be performed on or off site, and include checks such as:

  • Oil and filter changes
  • Brakes
  • Suspension
  • Seat belts
  • Lights
  • Air bags
  • Indicators
  • Electrical system

The relevant person within your company will have a checklist outlining what needs to be checked at the PMIs, and they should flag any potential issue they find. Similar to daily walkaround checks, any major defects or safety concerns should be rectified as soon as possible, and the vehicle must not be driven until they have.

PMIs can be scheduled and submitted via our easy-to-use CMS system, where all data can be stored safely and securely. Utilising a digital system can save you the hassle of keeping paperwork safe and damage free; you can try our online PMI scheduling system here.

What are the Benefits of a Preventative Maintenance Inspection?

There are plenty of benefits when carrying out regular preventative maintenance inspections, or proactive maintenance, on your fleet. Not only can PMIs keep you compliant with the requirements of your operator licence, but they can provide advantages for your vehicles, drivers and business as a whole.

Improved safety

Maintaining your fleet can help improve safety on the roads for drivers, other road users and passengers if the vehicles are PSVs. PMIs can keep all of your vehicles operating effectively and can identify potential problems that a quick daily walkaround check may not.

Greater vehicle lifespan

Leaving major defects unattended to can be unsafe and result in a fine or penalty issued by the DVSA, but it could result in complete vehicle failure. During a PMI, a mechanic can resolve issues before they become a major hazard, reducing breakdowns and increasing the longevity of the vehicle and asset reliability.

Decrease downtime

A lack of PMIs could result in your vehicles needing more time to be repaired, keeping them off the road and preventing them from carrying out important business. Regular preventative maintenance inspections can decrease the need for major repairs, helping your business run more efficiently.

Promotes health and safety

A business that follows good health and safety procedures leads to a more happy, more productive workforce. Your drivers will, most likely, feel safer driving in HGVs or PSVs that are routinely checked.

Improved customer satisfaction

Although it is a legal requirement for operators to carry out PMIs, client and customer satisfaction should also be taken into consideration when carrying out any sort of maintenance of vehicles. HGV and PSV operators should consider joining the DVSA earned recognition scheme as a way to show current and potential clients they are serious about vehicle and road safety.

Two mechanics checking on the bottom of the car

What is the Difference Between Preventative Maintenance and Corrective Maintenance?

Preventative maintenance is carried out to identify potential hazards and defects before they arise and become serious concerns. They can pre-emptively detect safety issues and carry out regular maintenance to ensure the vehicle does not need to be sent to a garage for repairs.

Corrective maintenance is what preventative maintenance hopes to avoid; this type of maintenance is carried out when a defect has been detected and repairs need to be carried out. Depending on the issue, vehicles can sometimes be off-road for extended periods of time, which is not practical for businesses that need their fleet to be operative at all times.

Our online planning system at AssetGo automatically calculates the PMI intervals displayed in calendar format and offers an overview of upcoming workloads. This can ensure that all maintenance is carried out in good time for a more efficient service.

How Can I Schedule My Preventative Maintenance Inspections?

PMIs should be scheduled regularly to keep vehicles roadworthy for a longer period of time. Operators should take note of their team’s availability when creating a maintenance schedule to ensure that work can be carried out.

Any previous defects identified and the age of the vehicles should be taken into consideration when creating a PMI schedule so you can prioritise. The severity of the potential issues and how often they occur should also play a part in creating your schedule. Operators should also pick an ideal, practical time to carry out PMIs that work with the vehicle’s own personal schedule.

It is best practice to arrange a way for these schedules to be carried out and managed effectively, which can be achieved by having a secure system in place.

How AssetGo Can Help

Our PMI scheduling software at AssetGo can arrange PMIs that work around your workshop workload, helping your fleet management systems run more efficiently. Each stage of the inspection process can be laid out for a maintenance technician to complete, creating a smoother process that no longer requires paper, which can easily become misplaced or damaged. Our daily check app will also notify the mechanic of any issues highlighted in the daily checks before starting the PMI.

To find out more about our fleet management system, get in contact with us today for a free demo.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long do preventative maintenance inspections take?

How long inspections take varies from vehicle to vehicle, but they can generally take around two hours.

How often do PMIs need to be carried out?

Vehicles over 12 years old must have their PMIs carried out every six weeks. Vehicles covering more than 160,000 miles each year with constant heavy loads must have their PMIs carried out every four weeks

Who can carry out a PMI?

There is no set person who must carry out your vehicle PMIs, as long as they are competent in doing so. This person could be an internal mechanic or technician, or an external maintenance team.