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5 Questions to Ask When Using Preventive Maintenance to Track Routine Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance (PM) is a huge part of successfully keeping your fleet maintained and up-to-date with inspections and vehicle repairs. Having a program set up and in place will aid in proactively avoiding breakdowns and potentially lessen the downtime of the unit. A preventive maintenance plan also contributes to the overall life of the unit, and helps to ensure that it will last longer on the road. Additionally, PM schedules will allow you to lease or rent the unit longer than a unit that has not been regularly maintained.

1. Is your Preventive Maintenance plan proactive or reactive?

Everyone has a goal to run units longer and make more money. In order to do that, you must be proactive in your approach with preventive maintenance. By definition, proactive means “acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes,” and that is the ultimate goal of a well-run preventive maintenance program. Setting up an effective preventive maintenance schedule for the units in your lease/rental (L/R) fleet will ensure that no unit is left behind, and that you will get the most out of your fleet in preparation for the future. Being proactive allows you to prevent breakdowns and other unforeseeable mechanical issues.

Setting up appropriate PM schedules with the correct intervals will make sure that users are prompted when preventive maintenance is due. Training employees on how to properly handle a pop-up when a PM is due is also a vital piece to the accuracy of preventive maintenance schedule tracking. Having valid PM Schedules will also allow for preventive maintenance reports and letters to be run to notify not only your employees, but your customers as well.

2. What are your preventive maintenance intervals and grace periods?

Researching and outlining all PM schedules needed for your L/R fleet is crucial before trying to set up preventive maintenance intervals.

With each PM schedule, an interval is required and can be based off days, meter reading, or both days and meter reading combined. For example, a “B” PM Service may be every 10,000 miles or every 90 days. Settings the intervals on the preventive maintenance code in this way guarantees that, whichever comes first, the unit will show as “due for service” through the system. Alternatively, you may use just days or a meter reading to determine when a unit is due for service. One example could be that an annual inspection is performed every 365 days. A unit in this scenario would come due every 365 days and would not come due based on any meter reading.

You may also wish to set a grace period in an effort to become even more proactive with preventive maintenance. The grace period allows you to add a buffer period in advance of the PM being due. For example, if the PM Interval is set for every 365 days and you want to be notified 30 days prior that the unit is coming due, setting a grace period of 30 days will ensure the PM schedule begins notification 30 days prior to the 365-day time frame.

3. Are the Preventive Maintenance schedules attached to the correct units with the correct information?

Part of tracking PM accurately is making sure the correct PM schedules are tied to the correct units. This is extremely important when planning to be proactive in having the system notify you when the unit is ready for its next PM service.

It is also extremely important to make sure that, when the PM schedule is initially attached to the unit, the Last Service Date field is accurate if the schedule is days-based or that the Last Service Meter field is accurate if the schedule is meter reading-based. If either one of these fields does not contain the correct information, the PM schedule will not notify you at the correct time that the unit is due for service.

Once a PM has been performed on the unit, the system will automatically update the Last Service Date and Last Service Meter fields based on the last time the PM was performed. At any time, and with the correct permissions, a user can go into the PM schedule per unit and adjust the Last Service Date and Last Service Meter fields manually, if needed.

4. Are your meter readings entered accurately?

Making sure that meter readings are entered accurately may seem small, but is key to the PM schedule being accurate and prompting you on time that the unit is due for service. An inaccurate meter reading can cost you time and money. Properly training employees to look in the unit for the actual meter reading instead of making guesses will ensure that money is spent when necessary, and keep the PM schedule up-to-date and accurate at all times. Simply put, accurate meter readings will help keep the unit on the road longer when the PM is performed routinely.

5. Are you monitoring the cost of preventive maintenance for your L/R fleet?

Tracking the expense for L/R units by the repair group and/or type associated with the PM code will allow you to see how much preventive maintenance is costing you, which will help you gauge the effectiveness of your PM plan. Utilizing reports such as the Unit Operating Statement can be a huge help in this regard, as it will give you an overall picture of revenue, expenses and profit.

Understanding the big picture of your PM effectiveness can help in making adjustments necessary to perfect your PM plan.


Being proactive with your preventive maintenance schedules and ensuring that accurate information is kept for the L/R units in the system will help to keep your units on the road and maintained for the life of the unit.

About Rachel Schoen

Rachel Schoen joined Karmak in December of 2006 as a Training Specialist in Sales and Service, and is now a Configuration Specialist for the Karmak Conversion Team. From Account Manager to Consultant, Rachel has held positions at Karmak that give her a holistic view of the heavy-duty operations we serve. Rachel graduated ATD Academy in 2014 as a part of class 029.

About Karmak

Serving more than 1,500 locations across North America, Karmak is a leading provider of business management solutions in the heavy-duty industry. Karmak’s flagship Windows-based product, Fusion, is designed specifically for the heavy-duty industry and is built to handle all of the varied demands of operating a fullservice business. To learn more, visit