It’s a question most fleet managers have to answer from time-to-time throughout their career – when is the right time to replace fleet vehicles?
Replace too soon, and the operation risks losing money by parting ways with a vehicle they could have gotten more life and value out of. Replace too late, and there is the risk of the asset breaking down or accumulating high repair costs.
To best determine when to replace a vehicle, fleet managers should follow these best practices, including: monitoring safety features, determining TCO, tallying total maintenance costs and evaluating the needs of the operation.
Safety should always be an operation’s top priority. One of the first factors in determining if a vehicle needs to be replaced is if it is not up to current safety standards. Operations have the responsibility of keeping their drivers, staff members and others on the road safe. If a vehicle has a known safety issue that can’t be repaired, then the vehicle should be replaced.
Fleets need to determine the cost of owning the vehicle. This can be determined through Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This formula helps fleets determine the overall expense of keeping a vehicle beyond its original price tag. This can include the frequency of repairs, amount of downtime, money spent on maintenance, operation costs, and more.
Maintenance and Repairs
From time-to-time, all vehicles need maintenance and repairs, whether it’s scheduled preventative maintenance or unexpected issues that need to be corrected. When the repairs start to become more frequent – and more costly – fleet operations should determine whether it’s worth keeping the vehicle or if it’s time to replace the asset. Needing to perform frequent repairs on a vehicle can result in unwanted downtime and increased costs for labor and parts.
Fleets should determine their needs before replacing a vehicle. Is the operation looking to add more fuel-efficient vehicles? Is it considering changing its services, which could result in a different type of vehicle needed? Is it looking to upgrade and replace all assets in the near future? Answering these questions can help fleet operations determine if it makes sense to replace a vehicle immediately, or if it’s worth hanging onto a bit longer to better coincide with the operation’s long-term plan.
Rebates or Incentives
Another item that can influence when a fleet replaces a vehicle is if there are any rebates or incentives available for making an upgrade. For example, if an operation is replacing an older vehicle with a newer one that’s more environmentally friendly, then there might be a rebate offered through local governments as an incentive for making the change. If that’s the case, then an operation might want to consider replacing an asset sooner.
To learn how RTA Fleet Management Software can help you manage your vehicles, contact us today to schedule a free demo.