School Bus Fleet Maintenance

Mechanics Hub - March 12, 2014

Fleet Standards and Preventive Maintenance Plan

Maintaining a school bus fleet means a lot of planning is required. Thinking ahead is a daily routine so there is a lot of record keeping on paper and the computer hard drive. Since our fleet is monitored by the CVSE (commercial vehicle safety enforcement agency) all log book repairs and maintenance records have to be kept on file for 5 years.

There also has to be a running file on each bus that dates back eighteen months. At the end of the school year the CVSE officer comes in and performs an audit to make sure we are doing our maintenance properly and on time. There is a certain percentage of failure that we have to stay above in order to retain our fleet inspection status.

Timely Servicing - Part of the Plan

We are allowed a certain amount of mileage over the required service schedule so there is some room to breath which we use a lot because of the amount of equipment we run. There are several buses from out of town so we calculate the best time for the driver to come in. There is a about a 3 hour window for out of town buses so most times we can get the service done.

However if we find a required repair we issue a spare bus. Spare buses are a blessing and a real asset to the fleet operation. Without spare buses I could see a lot of jobs not getting completed on time. Of course they are the oldest buses in the fleet but they run and they roll.

Fleet Service Intervals

Our servicing happens every 5000 KM with an oil change at 15000 KM. This has proven to be a good schedule for us. With every oil change we take oil samples and send them out to a lab. Then I will get an email with the oil analysis enclosed.

The report indicates any excessive metals, coolant, soot and fuel among other substances which is an acceptable micro maintenance plan that helps us to keep on top of engine wear and mechanical problems. Luckily we get free oil samples from Castrol oil who supplies our bulk lubricants.

Our Free Oil Sample Plan

They provide us with free oil sampling for being their customer. All of the oil samples are sent to us with pre-paid postage. If we received a report of high coolant levels in the oil we could monitor that and start looking at the areas that are supposed to be sealed between the cooling system and lubrication system.

Motor Vehicle Inspections

In the video I showed you are board with all the pins (blue and red). This is a quick reference for me to see when motor vehicles inspections are due. With Motor Vehicle Inspections along with regular services the buses in our fleet are well taken care of.

Our buses go through a 6 month and one year government inspection in our shop then the CVSE inspector goes through them once a year as well. During our one year inspection we also carry out major component servicing so nothing gets neglected.

It's all trial and error some days when some new mechanical fault happens that may require a regular campaign to monitor it properly. If it happens to one bus I guarantee it will happen to another since many of our buses are ordered with the same specifications.

If you have any comments on this subject please comment below. Thank you for reading this post and I hope you have the time to share something you've experienced or even if you have a question. Don't hesitate to ask.