Church Vehicle Maintenance: Don't Skimp on Safety

Church vehicles can fall into disrepair without anyone noticing, especially if they’re seldom used or if no one is specifically responsible for maintaining them.

Even if vehicles are inspected regularly, normal maintenance may be missed when other budgetary needs are crying out for attention. However, a routine inspection and maintenance program can help keep your vehicles dependable for the people who rely on them.

Follow Government Inspection Schedule

If your vans and buses spend more time in the parking lot than on the road, they may need attention.

Additionally, if your church bus weighs more than 10,000 pounds or is designed to transport more than 16 passengers, it must follow federal Department of Transportation regulations. These include obtaining documented annual inspections from a qualified mechanic and conducting pre- and post-trip inspections.

Perform Walk-Around Inspections

  • Ask drivers to perform a walk-around inspection before each use of a church vehicle. Pre-trip inspections with the aid of a checklist are especially helpful if your vehicles are driven infrequently or if you’re borrowing or renting a vehicle. They can help you find problems before you get on the road.
  • Make sure you check tires for signs of wear, aging, or low tire pressure.
  • A post-trip inspection allows drivers to notice and report any issues that developed during the trip, such as a fluid leak or a seat belt that won’t buckle. This gives the church mechanic time to correct problems before the vehicle is needed again.

Ensure Proper Vehicle Maintenance

  • Assign a reliable individual or team to oversee your vehicle maintenance program. Doing so promotes accountability.
  • Follow a written maintenance program for each vehicle, based on manufacturer recommendations.
  • Rely on qualified mechanics. While volunteers may perform budget-friendly repairs, they could make errors that lead to costly and life-threatening accidents.
  • Keep records for each vehicle, noting dates of service and repairs.

Remember that not all maintenance costs money. Seemingly little things, like making sure tires are properly inflated, can reduce the likelihood of a tire blowout or fatal crash, especially in rollover-prone vehicles such as 15-passenger vans.

Over time, routine maintenance provides vehicles that run better, last longer, and are safer to operate.