When you own a business, you understand that the longer the working life of your equipment, the greater the return on the original investment in ownership. That’s especially true of depreciating assets with long lives like your commercial vehicles, which require maintenance and regular reinvestment to retain even a fraction of their original value. Eventually, there comes a time when maintenance begins to cost more than the investment in a new vehicle, but there are a few strategies that can put off that day almost indefinitely if you have a robust maintenance schedule. Here are a few tips.
Learn the Secondary Parts Market
It doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing a part in the essential drivetrain or looking for a used truck rear end to replace one that has been claimed by rust, there are a lot of deals out there on the secondary market. The key to making cost-effective replacement choices? Planning. Don’t wait for something to break. Instead, start sourcing parts when it has visible wear. This requires you to do regular vehicle inspections, but the small investment in labor they represent typically yields opportunities to keep your vehicles maintained without weathering the fallout that comes with unexpected mechanical failure.
Inspections aren’t the entire key to making it work, though. You also need to learn where to go for your used parts, and you need to start browsing them for deals regularly. This gives you the opportunity to brainstorm future upgrades by monitoring the market for great deals, which is another way to plot out those upgrades and replacements efficiently. Using both strategies gives you the best chance at savings through timely maintenance and opportunistic deals.
Implement Consistent Maintenance Practices
Regular inspections are easier when you are also following through with all the recommended maintenance practices from the equipment manufacturer. This is just as true for your vehicle fleet as it is for a drill press. You need regular tune-ups, lubrication, calibration, and the scheduled replacement of parts that are built with a limited life expectancy, like brakes and PCV valves. The schedule dictated by those maintenance practices should result in enough garage time to easily fold any other parts inspections you need into the tune-up sessions for your older vehicles.
This kind of investment in maintenance does require accepting more downtime for your vehicles, but the small sacrifice in available time each quarter will more than pay for itself through the extra years of reliable service you’ll enjoy from your biggest asset investments.