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Fleet Maintenance Technicians

The Job

Firetrucks and police cars. Semi-tractor-trailers and other large trucks. Taxis. Buses. Rental cars. Delivery trucks. Cranes, bulldozers, forklifts. Tractors and other agricultural equipment. These are just a few examples of the variety of vehicles and equipment that fleet maintenance technicians maintain, diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair.

Duties for fleet maintenance technicians vary by employer, but most technicians diagnose and troubleshoot any issue that causes a vehicle or equipment to not work properly. This can be anything from a truck not starting or an electrical short in the lighting system, to problems with acceleration or chronic issues with an engine overheating. Technicians use their expertise, a visual inspection, and digital testing tools to determine what is wrong, and then prepare a plan to fix the problem. They repair the issue and often operate the vehicle or equipment to ensure that is again in working order. They provide oral and/or written reports that summarize the issue and the repairs that were made to fix it.

Some technicians specialize in repairing and maintaining a certain type of vehicle, such as electric-powered buses, or construction equipment, such as bulldozers and graders. Others focus on a particular system—such as refrigeration, electrical, or hydraulics. Others are generalists who can repair almost any type of vehicle or equipment in their employer’s fleet.

Fleet maintenance technicians spend a lot of time on preventive maintenance because keeping a vehicle or heavy equipment in working order saves their employer money, reduces downtime, and eliminates the need to address issues caught during government inspections. They perform scheduled inspections of vehicles and equipment to identify issues that must be addressed. They read technical guidelines and industry publications to stay up to date on product recalls, emerging technology, and best practices in fleet maintenance.

Technicians are increasingly required to install and repair cutting-edge technology that improves fuel efficiency; lowers emissions; reduces the risk of collision; collects precise measurements of weight, axle load, engine temperature, and other data to identify potential issues before they become a major problem; and replace fossil fuel–powered systems with those that are powered by electricity. They digitize systems and other components that were once primarily mechanical in nature. Technicians also install telematics technology that is used to monitor vehicles and equipment by utilizing GPS technology and onboard diagnostics to track the asset’s movements on a computerized map and diagnose and troubleshoot computer issues and manage software updates.

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