Storing Your Fleet
COVID-19 has most likely impacted your business. Whether you’ve reduced your schedule or temporarily shut down, your fleet can be impacted during the downtime. That’s why it’s important to protect your vehicles the best you can until you reopen.
If you’re storing your company-owned vehicles for more than a month:
- Do an oil change before storing them. Dirty oil can cause engine damage.
- Perform maintenance that you may have skipped while the vehicles were in use.
- Fill up the gas tank to prevent moisture collection and keep seals lubricated. Gasoline can sit for about six months, and diesel can sit for about 12 months without deteriorating. Be aware that E85 gasoline breaks down in less than six months and can damage engine parts.
- Don’t engage the parking brake but use tire blocks instead if it’s necessary.
- Clean the vehicle to prevent damage to the paint and reduce the potential for critters or foul odors.
- Keep pests away by plugging the tailpipe, covering heater vents and using mothballs or strong smelling oils, like peppermint, cinnamon or clove.
When you store your company’s fleet, it’s also a good idea to take measures to try to prevent vandalism or theft. You can reduce these risks by:
- Using a locked, secure facility with adequate lighting
- Not parking vehicles under trees or other objects that can fall
- Disconnecting and removing batteries
- Removing high value tools and equipment
- Storing keys in a locked facility that has an alarm system
- Taking off the license plates and storing them securely
Sanitizing Your Vehicles and Limiting Infection Spread
When you’re ready to take your fleet out from storage, it’s important to inspect, clean and sanitize each vehicle to help keep your drivers and employees safe. That’s why it’s a good idea to create a policy that explains to employees how to sanitize vehicles and what to do to reduce the risk of infections.
Some key areas you may want to include in your policy are:
- Identifying points of contact in a vehicle that need to be sanitized between each use
- What to do if a driver tests positive for COVID-19, such as quarantining and using a third-party to sanitize the vehicle
- Not allowing multiple employees to be in the same vehicle
- Cleaning and disinfecting process for shared tools
- How to use personal protective equipment
You can also create or use training resources to help your drivers understand what parts of a vehicle are commonly touched and the proper way to disinfect them. El documento National Road Safety Partnership Program has a pre-start process to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Staying Safe on the Road
While lockdown measures were in place, traffic decreased in many states. But, as the country reopens, it’s important to remind your drivers to be proactive while on the road. Encourage them to use defensive driving practices to help keep them safe, like:
- Be farsighted while driving in an effort to take the best course of action if something goes wrong up ahead.
- Keep your eyes moving to check for potential hazards and other drivers’ actions.
- Take in the whole picture so there’s enough time to respond to any accidents or slowing vehicles.
- Maintain adequate space between you and cars ahead of you.
- Communicate your every move, like using turn signals to change lanes or using your brakes to communicate you’re slowing to a red light.
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