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Scheduled Maintenance: Ensuring Long-Term Vehicle Health

As a transport manager, or Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV driver), regular scheduled maintenance is essential. Not only is it required under law, but it’s also vital in terms of safety, efficiency and ensuring that the vehicle you drive remains in top condition for the long term.

When you stick to a strict maintenance schedule, you do what’s necessary to make sure that comfortable, safe transport is provided to passengers while also avoiding costly downtime and repairs. In this article, we explore the importance of regular PCV maintenance and highlight the ongoing benefits of following an organised schedule.

Why Is Regular PCV Maintenance Important?

From minute one during PCV training, the need to operate safely is hammered home, and that’s the primary reason behind regular maintenance. By carrying out thorough, periodic inspections, you ensure that any faults or repairs are spotted in a timely manner, allowing any defective or worn-out components to be replaced and reducing the chance of an accident or breakdown.

As anyone who’s taken bus driver training will know, PCVs are subject to strict regulations, meaning that this kind of maintenance also helps operators avoid penalties and fines. It is worth noting, however, that vehicles used in PCV training differ from fleet vehicles in that scheduled maintenance isn’t mandatory (MOTs still are), but it is still recommended.

Reliable PCVs Stick to Timetables

Naturally, vehicle issues often cost less to repair when they’re spotted sooner rather than later.
Frequent maintenance helps identify and address minor issues before they escalate into major ones, meaning your vehicles remain ready for service, are able to avoid disruptions and stick to operational schedules.

Proactive maintenance is invariably much more cost-effective than reactive repairs. You also extend the lifespan of the vehicle, and PCVs that run on time reflect well on your company’s reputation, as avoidable issues do not impact the customer experience.

What’s Involved in Scheduled PCV Maintenance?

So, what does scheduled PCV maintenance comprise? It involves checking a wide range of PCV aspects that include:

  • Engine Checks – Oil and filter changes, along with inspections of the engine components, to ensure the engine is operating well.
  • Brake System Checks – PCV training shows us that braking in an emergency when driving a bus or coach can be challenging, so you must ensure your brakes are in optimal condition. Your pads, discs, and fluid levels all get inspected.
  • Tyres – While tyre condition checks are part of daily walkarounds, they’re also assessed during scheduled maintenance checks to ensure they all have the correct pressure and tread depth for maximum grip and safety on the road.
  • Electrical Systems – Scheduled maintenance also checks lights, indicators, and onboard electrical systems to ensure they’re fully functional.
  • Accessibility Ramps/Lifts – If your PCV also has an integrated lift, ramp or other accessibility features, this also gets checked and repaired if necessary.
  • Vehicle Interior and Exterior – Also inspected are seats, windows, and the vehicle’s exterior for damage that could impact passenger comfort or aerodynamics.
  • Emergency Equipment – Safety equipment, like fire extinguishers and first aid kits, are checked to see if they’re in place and in good condition.

Check out our articles dedicated to daily vehicle checks and safety equipment if you’d like a more in-depth understanding of what they involve.

What Does a Typical PCV Maintenance Schedule Look Like?

Of course, the exact maintenance schedule for each individual PCV will vary, depending on what it’s used for and its type. However, generally speaking, it will look something like this.

  • Daily Checks – Drivers perform visual inspections for obvious issues with tyres, lights, and emergency exits before the start of their shift.
  • Monthly Inspections – These are more thorough checks of the brakes, fluid levels, and electrical systems.
  • Quarterly Services – Performed every three months, these inspections/services usually involve filter replacements, as well as checks of the oils and the integrity of the suspension and steering components.
  • Annual MOT – This yearly check represents a comprehensive review of the vehicle’s roadworthiness, as required by law.

Schedule PCV Maintenance Promotes Safety & Saves Money

Regular, scheduled maintenance is crucial in terms of road safety, passenger comfort and the longevity of your vehicle. When you adhere to a structured schedule, transport managers and drivers can be sure that their vehicles remain as safe and efficient as they possibly can be.

These checks also ensure that you remain compliant with all PCV regulatory standards while actively preventing expensive downtime and major repairs. The fact that they also help you to enjoy an improved reputation as a transport company simply reinforces the need to have a structured routine in place.

About the author

Jonathan Gilder

Jonathan Gilder

Head of Training and Transport
Jonathan is a distinguished NRI HGV Instructor accredited by RTITB, with certifications in IOSH Managing Safely, RTITB Lift Truck Instruction, and ROSPA Assured PAT Testing. His expertise extends to EdI Level 3 NVQ Assessing, Btec Level 2 in Transportation of Goods by Road, and he is a skilled Trainer in Driver CPC and Incident Investigation from GH Safety.

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