Gave us your email before?
Support to Aid
Servicing, Maintenance and repair
Regular and good quality vehicle maintenance helps project staff to carry out their work on time and within budget. Don't wait for your vehicles to break down!
Sample forms, agreements and checklists may be downloaded from the Logistics Resources Bank
Preventative maintenance saves money - and can save lives. Five good reasons for regular servicing and maintenance are:
Overall responsibility for maintenance falls to the person in charge of vehicles (e.g. the transport manager or logistician), while drivers have responsibility for regular checks and other specific tasks. Proper driving and care by drivers can be an important factor in keeping vehicles on the road and prolonging their life. Adequate training, incentives and supervision are key to this.
Daily inspections keep maintenance costs to a minimum. Each driver (or a specially allocated mechanic) should carry out a daily check before starting their vehicle each morning to spot any potential repair or maintenance requirements. A daily checklist may be kept with the vehicle logbook and signed by the driver to confirm the checks have been done. Ideally have a daily check sheet which is given to the person responsible for vehicles, so that the contact is "institutionalised". More detailed checks should also be carried out weekly.
Another example of a daily checklist (developed and contributed by Mark Snelson. Format: PDF, Size 156 kb. Please Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open this PDF file).
Drivers should be encouraged to report all problems with their vehicles, no matter how small. This should be done with written defect reports. These may have 3 copies, one for the driver, one for the office and one for the workshop. Once the repair has been completed, the form should be completed and filed in the vehicle file.
The maintenance requirements for each vehicle are specified in the manufacturer's handbook. Transfer these into a vehicle data form to be kept in the vehicle's own file. Servicing is usually carried out after a given number of kilometres, or an agreed number of weeks, whichever comes first.
Plan services ahead of time! At least a week - or more if the vehicle needs to be booked into a workshop.
Monitoring kilometres travelled makes it easy to anticipate when the next service is due. Details for this come from a monthly summary of the vehicle logbook, kept in the vehicle file.
Next-service reminders: Put an adhesive label with the 'next service due' in a corner of the windscreen.
Put up a transport maintenance notice board where everyone can see it - to show when services for each vehicle are due.
Workshop / maintenance facilities
Should you use external facilities or set up your own?
The main options are:
Your own workshop? If you have a small fleet (eg less than 5 vehicles) setting up your own facilities is unlikely to be cost-effective, but you may have to if there is no acceptable alternative. The advantage having your own workshop being able to hold regularly-used components and spares under a properly managed stock control system. Check thought to see if anyone have similar facilities close-by that you could use, rather than making your own. If you do go ahead, points to consider include:
Engineering In Emergencies, pp483-491 includes detailed guidance on setting up a vehicle workshop. When selecting an external workshop you should find out:
Advantages and disadvantages of using a main dealer, larger workshop or smaller workshop:
It makes sense to arrange to use workshops run by the larger agencies (eg IFRC, ICRC, UNHCR, MSF). Mobile workshops and heavy recovery vehicles may also be necessary. Always ensure there is recovery capacity for trucks, such as mobile workshops, recovery trucks, winches etc.
Arrangements with the workshop
Explain your requirements with the service manager or mechanic:
Consider having a legally valid service and maintenance agreement between your agency and the workshop.
Sending and collecting the vehicle
When booking the service, tell the workshop what type of service, additional checks or repairs are required.
Here's an example of a service schedule.
Provide the workshop with a repair order specifying your requirements. Describe all faults clearly and make sure that good quality oil and parts will be used.
The driver should remain with the vehicle at all times in order to:
The driver should record the work done on a job card that shows all work required and actually carried out, details of labour, spare parts and materials used, and costs. These should then be filed in the relevant vehicle folder/file.
Spare parts and stores
You need a regular and reliable supply of genuine spare parts. Beware of counterfeit or inferior quality spares - using these can have serious detrimental effects on vehicles.
Consumable items (filters, shock absorbers, brake linings etc) and spare parts must be available when you need them. Don't forget tyres, which can need replacing after only 10,000 km in rough desert or mountain conditions.
Check what can be purchased locally and also on any import restrictions. Consider keeping your own stock of essential spare parts.
Store spares securely, and protect them from the weather.
Each vehicle should have its own tool kit for essential repairs.
Drivers should know how to use the kit in the toolbox.
Making a claim against a warranty can mean substantial savings. Be aware of the warranty conditions, monitor your vehicles and make sure that records are kept up-to-date: gaps or faults in records could invalidate a claim.
Find out where the nearest authorised dealer is. The name and address of the main dealer should be found in the literature supplied with their vehicles. The main dealer is usually based in a capital city and should be able to advise you.
(This page was compiled by Isobel McConnan with contributions by Mark Butler and Pamela Malo. Original material was adapted with permission from the field manuals of UNHCR, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Tearfund, Transaid, Concern, MSF and Save the Children. The project was supported by the Fritz Institute)