Fleet operations part 2

Streamlining Fleet Operations with the Otonomo Platform Part 2: From Preventive to Predictive Maintenance. The remote monitoring connection

In Part 1 of our series on streamlining fleet operations, we looked at how the Otonomo Platform makes it easy to onboard and defleet vehicles. In this installation, we’ll look at Otonomo’s Maintenance Dashboard and see how it can alert you to vehicles that need attention, so you can deal with issues in a timely manner, avoid unscheduled maintenance, and prevent costly breakdowns. 

Anyone who has ever had their car break down in the middle of nowhere understands the importance of keeping it well-maintained. It’s even more important for fleets where keeping vehicles in good working helps fleet operations run smoothly and has a direct impact on the business.  

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Preventive maintenance cuts costs 

Preventive maintenance is not just advisable, in the US, for example, it’s stipulated by Federal Law that requires the systematic “inspection, repair, and maintenance” of commercial vehicles. 

Unexpected roadside breakdowns are extremely costly for a fleet. Between missed deliveries, vehicle down-time, stranded drivers, and unscheduled maintenance, these are logistical burdens that directly impact a fleet’s bottom line. A proactive, preventive maintenance plan ensures vehicles remain well-maintained which reduces downtime, improves fuel efficiency, lowers overtime caused by unexpected breakdowns and repairs, and more. Properly maintaining fleet vehicles also has a positive impact on their depreciation, which accounts for as much as 40% of the total cost of running a vehicle. A well-maintained vehicle will not only perform better and suffer fewer breakdowns but will also be safer for both the driver and others. 

Embedded vehicle data lets you stay on top of a vehicle’s condition by providing the miles traveled, residual time for inspection and more for every vehicle in your fleet. With this data you can monitor real-time alerts to identify minor problems before they become major avoiding breakdowns and the ensuing costly unscheduled maintenance. 

Otonomo remote monitoring and predictive maintenance 

Preventive maintenance usually means scheduled maintenance based on time or distance traveled (or a combination of both such as every 6 months or 10,000 km, whichever comes first). It goes some of the way to keeping vehicles on the road, but still, not all parts adhere to this kind of scheduling. Vehicles experience different levels of wear from weather, road conditions, driver behavior and more. Nobody plans for breakdowns or accidents, but they can be avoided if early warning signs are spotted.  

Streamline Fleet Operations with Otonomo Maintenance Dashboard 

Otonomo provides API access to vehicle maintenance data, but the platform goes a step further with the Maintenance Dashboard. This dashboard displays various parameters that give you an instant picture of your fleet’s overall health. This kind of data visualization enables fleets to streamline operations by implementing a predict-and-prevent model for maintenance management instead of working on a break-and-fix methodology. By triggering proactive maintenance to mitigate engine failures and other preventable issues fleet operators can reduce vehicle downtime and cut costs.  

The Maintenance Dashboard provides a lot of information about your fleet down to the specific vehicles. Some indicators show what you should be keeping an eye on. Others should push you into immediate action to prevent a breakdown, or worse. 

Click any indicator or graph element to see exactly which VINs are affected. 

Active mil 

The Malfunction Indicator Light (mil) indicates a generic problem in the engine and can have various causes. It can be something as benign as an error in the light itself (though this is rare). It could also mean a malfunction in the catalytic converter causing excessive pollution in the exhaust – not dangerous for the car or driver, but harmful to the environment, with a possible impact on the organization’s sustainability goals. But it could also mean a malfunction in the accelerator pedal or the injection system which can endanger both the driver and others on the road. 

When this light is on, the fleet manager should take that vehicle off the road, investigate the cause and fix the issue as quickly as possible. 

Coolant Temp 

A coolant temperature warning means the vehicle’s engine is overheating and can result in serious damage to the engine. This often means there’s a leak in the cooling system and is a case for immediate servicing to determine the cause of overheating. 

Power Steering  

For vehicles with hydraulic power steering, this usually means low levels of fluid in the system. If your vehicle has an EPS (Electric Power Steering) system, restarting the engine might take care of it. Either way, if this warning indicator persists, it means the vehicle should be checked as soon as possible. 

Oil pressure 

A low oil pressure light must not be ignored. The most common reason is low oil levels, in which case you just need to add engine oil. If it persists or returns quickly, it can mean something more serious like a leak, a faulty oil pump, or a clogged oil filter. Don’t wait with this one because a low oil level can be dangerous to the extent that it could wreck the engine. 

Oil temperature 

High oil temperature is a sign of an overheating engine which may be caused by low oil levels, low level or degraded engine coolant, air in the cooling system, faulty water pump, faulty radiator fan, and more. Vehicles with a high oil temperature should immediately be pulled of the road to allow the engine to cool, and then be taken in for servicing.  

Brake Wear 

This indicates the brake pads in the vehicle are worn and should be replaced. When this warning light first turns on, it doesn’t usually indicate an immediate emergency, however, the brakes should be replaced at the earliest opportunity. 

Fuel Level 

You want to avoid your drivers running out of fuel during the day’s drive. This indicator will tell you if any vehicles are running low, and the donut chart can tell you exactly which ones should be refueled before leaving for the day. 

Tire Pressure 

As benign as this parameter may seem, tire pressure is a key component in the TCO of a vehicle and registering daily pre-trip and post-trip inflation pressures is recommended for the maintenance protocols of your fleet operations. An over-inflated tire is more susceptible to being punctured, while and under-inflated tire can cause heat to build up causing internal structural damage. A tire maintained at the proper level of inflation will run (or rather, roll) more miles which means lower operating costs for the fleet.  

Predictive maintenance leads to smooth fleet operations  

Predictive maintenance comes with a cost. Someone has to monitor your fleet’s health and act on any warning signals that arise. But there’s no question that prediction is much more effective than reaction. Understanding which vehicles are likely to need maintenance lets fleet operators plan ahead, predict costs, and manage inventory. Unscheduled maintenance and breakdowns cause delays, disrupt fleet operations, and will always cost more than being two steps ahead. 

Want to learn more about using the Otonomo Platform to future-proof your fleet operations?

Talk to one of our experts! 

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