Drivers are likely to be the first to spot tell-tale signs of vehicle trouble and cost ahead. For example, a driver is likely to be the first to notice dragging brakes because of their immediate effect on vehicle performance. There are regular formal maintenance checks that drivers and anybody in close contact with the vehicle should carry out. The frequency and type of maintenance may vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Application relevance

Preventive maintenance is a relevant opportunity for all equipment and machinery. Many fleet managers and drivers will already be aware of the importance of this measure as a way of preventing breakdowns, but may not have considered the importance of regular maintenance and prompt repairs in the context of fuel savings.

While the process can be started immediately, it may take some time to assess the vehicle requirements and set up a workable schedule.

Potential benefits

These programs offer the potential to deliver reduced average fuel consumption rates by ensuring that vehicles are tuned for optimal operating performance. There is emissions abatement potential up to 5%. Improving the way vehicles are maintained may also increase vehicle resale values.

Key implementation considerations

Although there is some potential to optimise fuel efficiency and improve the greenhouse performance of vehicles, the overall benefit may be considered low and the ability to quantify and attribute this benefit directly is also difficult. The positive effect on resale values may be sufficient justification.

Examples of implementation

Freight best practice guide

This guide from the UK Department for Transport is intended to help logistics and transport professionals better understand how preventive maintenance can improve the efficiency and reduce the whole-of-life vehicle costs of freight operations. The guide is supported by eleven case studies from the UK Department for Transport (2011a). For more information, see: 

How to implement a preventive maintenance program article

This feature article acts as a step-by-step guide for a fleet operator to implement their own preventive maintenance program (Government Fleet 2006). For more information, see Government Fleet 2006, ‘How to implement a fleet preventive maintenance program’.

For the full report, see Fuel for Thought – Identifying potential energy efficiency opportunities in the Australian road and rail sectors (opens in a new window) PDF 1.5 MB.