Using effective maintenance strategies, fleet managers and business owners can help prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems, reducing downtime and extending the lifespan of their fleet.

A fleet manager’s job is simply that — managing a fleet. This means fleet vehicles, drivers, other employees, finances and more. Fleet cards and vehicle tracking help improve fleet maintenance by providing detailed reporting and data analytics. These reports include insights that allow for efficient preventive maintenance scheduling, identifying negative driving behaviors leading to unnecessary wear and tear, and ensuring timely upkeep of essential components. This ultimately contributes to reducing downtime, minimizing maintenance costs and maximizing the lifespan of fleet vehicles. All of these factors lead to a bigger bottom line. The more money you have, the better your organization can grow.

Good fleet maintenance management is crucial for ensuring vehicle longevity, reliability and safety.

The Importance of Efficient Fleet Maintenance

Good fleet maintenance management is crucial for ensuring vehicle longevity, reliability and safety. Using effective maintenance strategies, fleet managers and business owners can help prevent minor issues from escalating into major problems, reducing downtime and extending the lifespan of their fleet.

While many tools can greatly improve how businesses manage their fleet vehicles, some companies still rely on traditional fleet maintenance. But the problem with old-school tactics is they are prone to inconsistencies and errors.

Challenges in Traditional Fleet Maintenance

To adequately manage fleet maintenance, many data points must be tracked, including vehicle service histories, fuel consumption and mileage reports. Historically, tracking this data has been done manually, and, as previously mentioned, many businesses still do so today. These processes are time-consuming and prone to human error, leading to inconsistent maintenance practices and increased operational costs.

Revolutionizing Fleet Maintenance with Technology

The most efficient fleet managers and business owners use technology to assist with fleet maintenance. There are several tools out there, but perhaps the two most powerful are fleet cards and vehicle tracking. When put together, there’s a synergy that optimizes virtually every aspect of fleet vehicle maintenance.

Let’s look at each fleet management solution in isolation and then explore their potential when used in tandem.

Introduction to Fleet Cards

Fleet cards, also known as fleet fuel cards, business gas cards or fuel cards, are specialized payment cards allowing drivers to purchase fuel and, in some cases, pay for fleet-related expenses such as parts, services, maintenance, and tires. These cards are similar to credit cards in their payment function but also include fuel savings as a per-gallon discount or rebate. In addition to savings on fuel purchases, fuel cards also offer several benefits that help with fleet management.

Benefits of Fleet Cards

  • Real-time data: The vast majority of fleet cards are much more than simply a payment solution. These fleet management tools track every aspect of fuel and fleet-related purchases. Here are a few of the data points gathered by even the most basic of fleet cards:
    • Purchase date and time
    • Purchase site location
    • Vehicle identifier or driver
    • Fuel type and grade
    • Mileage
    • Fuel purchase volume
    • Fuel purchase amount
  • Spending controls: Fleet cards can be programmed using spending or purchase controls. This feature allows business owners or fleet managers to set parameters around purchases. These restrictions prevent unauthorized purchases and help ensure transactions are limited to fuel and approved fleet-related expenses. Some common options for purchase controls include:
    • Time of day: You can program specific cards to be functional during certain hours. This prevents cards from being used during off hours.
    • Day of the week: It’s easy to program a card to be functional on certain days. Like the time of day, this prevents a fleet card from being used on days when a driver would have no need to fuel a fleet vehicle.
    • Purchase amount: Set a predetermined maximum dollar amount for purchases to prevent multiple fill-ups on one transaction.
    • Purchase volume: Set a maximum number of gallons per fill-up.
    • Number of purchases: If drivers do not need to fill up more than once or twice in a given time frame, fleet managers can set a cap to the number of times a card can be used in a specified time window.
    • Fuel grade: Restrict purchases to regular unleaded gas to ensure the appropriate product is used.
    • Fuel type: Restrict purchases to unleaded, diesel or allow both.

These purchase limits are a great tool to help ensure cash flow. Whether you’re a small business or a large company, clear limits or parameters around fueling prevent overspending and misuse.

  • Automated expense tracking: Fleet cards simplify fuel expense tracking by automatically recording all transactions in a fleet card dashboard. This eliminates the need for manual receipt collection and expense reporting. In addition to providing accurate and virtually instant expense information, automated expense tracking saves your drivers and accounting department valuable time. You always know the date, time, and locations of your purchases, how much they spent, and what they spent it on. No waiting for an end-of-the-month statement like with a credit card.
  • Reporting and analytics: With all your fleet card data housed in one location, your fleet card dashboard, it’s no wonder fleet cards have robust reporting features. Most fleet fuel cards offer valuable insights through detailed reporting and data analytics. This gives businesses a detailed view of their fleet expenses. Using fleet card data, a fleet manager can identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement. A thorough understanding of fuel consumption patterns enables businesses to implement more efficient routes, reduce idle time, and make decisions that will enhance overall fuel efficiency. Fleet managers also can track individual vehicle performance.
  • Accounting administration: Nothing makes business owners happy like increased efficiency, and fleet cards offer this in spades. Most fleet card providers create their dashboards to communicate seamlessly with accounting and bookkeeping software. When your accounting team has full access to your fleet data, they can easily budget and forecast.

Utilizing Fleet Cards for Fleet Maintenance Management

Considering all the benefits of fleet cards, it’s easy to see how they can be used as a fleet management solution. However, when put to good use, they can take fleet management to the next level — specifically concerning maintenance logistics. Using the valuable insights from real-time data collection, fleet managers always know how long a vehicle has been in use and can monitor for any shifts in performance, specifically in relation to fuel economy.

Whether a fleet manager is concerned about manufacturer-recommended or preventative maintenance, they have all the information they need to keep vehicles in top working order.

Advantages of Vehicle Tracking Systems

Vehicle tracking systems utilize GPS technology to monitor the location, movement and behavior of fleet vehicles in real time. This information is crucial for optimizing routes, improving driver behavior and scheduling maintenance.

Key Features of Vehicle Tracking

  • Real-time location tracking: Enables fleet managers to know the exact location of their vehicles at all times.
  • Usage monitoring: Tracks vehicle usage patterns, identifying which vehicles are over or underutilized.
  • Maintenance alerts: Provides automated alerts for scheduled maintenance based on mileage or time, ensuring equipment receives timely service.

Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Maintenance

Vehicle tracking is a powerful fleet management tool. Most tracking systems would be classified as telematics. This type of fleet tracking combines GPS location services with onboard diagnostics. The combination of knowing where a vehicle is and how the vehicle is performing can be put to good use in many ways.

Telematics gives fleet managers insights such as:

  • Vehicle location
  • Vehicle speed
  • Engine diagnostics
  • Tire pressure
  • Oil pressure
  • Fuel consumption

The comprehensive information vehicle tracking empowers fleet managers to establish robust maintenance plans based on actual usage patterns and individual vehicle health. This can help with preventive maintenance and may lead to a decrease in unforeseen expenses. These efficiencies are more than a convenience, they streamline operations, improve the use of resources and help a fleet manager plan.

Fleet Cards and Vehicle Tracking in Fleet Maintenance Management

When fleet managers use fleet card data with vehicle tracking, they have the ultimate necessary data for fleet maintenance.

Preventive and Scheduled Maintenance

The combination of fuel card transaction data and vehicle tracking insights enables fleet managers to adopt a more proactive approach to maintenance. Managers can schedule preventive maintenance more effectively by analyzing fuel consumption patterns, vehicle usage data and engine performance. This decreases wear and tear and prevents minor repairs from escalating into significant issues.

In addition to preventative maintenance, fleet managers can easily stay on top of routine maintenance and even set alerts for when a vehicle is due to be serviced.

The combination of fuel card transaction data and vehicle tracking insights enables fleet managers to adopt a more proactive approach to maintenance.

Monitoring Driver Behavior

Fuel cards and vehicle tracking systems can also be used together to monitor driver behaviors. By identifying and addressing inefficient driving habits, fleet managers can use targeted driver training programs to reduce aggressive breaking, speeding and idling — all of which can increase maintenance needs and decrease the life of vehicles.

The Future of Fleet Maintenance Management

By harnessing the power of fleet fuel cards and vehicle tracking systems, a company can ensure its fleets are maintained efficiently and cost-effectively. Many businesses have harnessed the synergy between fleet cards and vehicle tracking systems, reshaping how they manage fleet maintenance.
The value of using these technologies together is they provide companies added control over operational efficiencies and identify opportunities to increase cost-effectiveness, giving them an advantage over their competitors.

To find a fleet card that can help you streamline fleet maintenance and add life to your fleet, visit