Church Vehicle Maintenance
March 25, 2015 – Spring and summer are busy times for churches, with mission trips, youth retreats and outings, church camp, summer day programs and Vacation Bible School. This also is the time when church vehicles are used the most. To ensure that your vehicles are in good working condition, consider having them inspected and maintained to head off problems before they arise. This would include the following:
- Mechanical Inspection. Perform scheduled maintenance according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, including engine tune-up, oil change, and transmission and coolant system service. In addition, a qualified mechanic should perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle, especially the steering and suspension, electrical, coolant, exhaust, air conditioning, belts, hoses and braking systems, and any repairs needed should be completed prior to use.
- Check Battery. Since normal battery life is three to five years, consider having your vehicle’s battery tested if it is more than three years old, or you may even want to replace it before you experience any problems. Also, make sure that battery connections are clean and tight.
- Check Tires and Brakes. At least weekly, make sure that tires, including the spare tire, are properly inflated and have adequate tread depth (greater than 1/8 inch). Tire tread depth and air pressure gauges are inexpensive and easy to use. Also, brake pads, discs, lines and the emergency brake should be inspected by a qualified person and replaced/repaired as necessary.
- Inspect Lights, Signals and Wipers. Make sure that all head lights, brake lights, directional signals and emergency flashers are operational.
- Keep Fluids Full and Filters Clean. Make sure that oil, brake, coolant, transmission and windshield washer fluid levels are checked and filled as necessary. Air, oil and fuel filters should be changed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Be Prepared for an Emergency. Vehicles can break down regardless of your preventive maintenance efforts. Be prepared for those situations by making sure that each vehicle contains an emergency kit equipped with reflective triangles, a charged fire extinguisher, First Aid kit, flashlight and jumper cables. Each driver should have a means to communicate in emergency situations, such as a cell phone. Also, review emergency procedures with drivers so they know the most appropriate way to react in the event the vehicle becomes disabled.
Regardless of whether you use a church-owned vehicle, a personal vehicle, or a rented vehicle, it is also a good idea to follow a pre-trip safety inspection of the vehicle before starting out on a trip. Visit SafeChurch.com for vehicle self-inspection checklist directions and the vehicle self-inspection checklist. Please drive safely this spring and summer.
© 2018 The GuideOne Center for Risk Management, LLC. 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.