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The Importance of Maintenance on Aging Church Vehicles

Commercial auto fleets have not been replaced at the same pace since the economic downturn, which began at least five years ago. The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) reports the average age of commercial vehicles is six model years behind the current model year.

When the current model year was 2007, the variance was only two model years behind—proving commercial vehicles aren’t being replaced at the rate they once were. This information suggests that church-owned vehicles are aging and are not being replaced. It is critical that routine scheduled preventative maintenance checks are being performed. Taking these proactive measures helps provide a safe church vehicle to members.

Someone in the church should be assigned the responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of church vehicles. A schedule for regular preventive maintenance, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, should be completed by a trained, certified mechanic and include the following:

  • All vehicles should be on a complete maintenance and inspection schedule based on mileage or time in service. Items that should be inspected and maintained on a regular basis include the following:
    • Brake system
    • Steering and suspension systems
    • Oil and lubrication systems
    • Electrical systems
    • Coolant systems
    • Exhaust systems
    • Tires and wheels
    • Safety and emergency equipment
  • A program for part replacement should be implemented in which critical parts are replaced before in-service failure occurs. Examples of such parts include these:
    • Brake shoes and pads
    • Springs, shocks and struts
    • Belts and hoses
    • Windshield wiper blades
    • Tires with a tread depth less than 1/8 inch should be replaced.
  • Each vehicle should have a vehicle history file in order to record inspections and other important maintenance information, such as overhauls, rebuilds and major repair work. This will provide a cost record for each vehicle and allow for the quick evaluation of prior maintenance on any vehicle as well as minimize exposure during litigation following an accident.
  • Each date of purchase, date and mileage of all preventive maintenance and repairs should be recorded.

Transportation of people and materials is a critical element of your ministries and operations. By following routine scheduled preventative maintenance on your church vehicles, your chances of breakdowns and possible accidents will be reduced. For additional information on Transportation Safeguards, visit the Resources page.

© 2024 GuideOne Insurance. GuideOne® is the registered trademark of the GuideOne Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This material is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to give specific legal or risk management advice, nor are any suggested checklists or action plans intended to include or address all possible risk management exposures or solutions. You are encouraged to retain your own expert consultants and legal advisors in order to develop a risk management plan specific to your own activities.