If you are always fixing things that are broken, you are not doing enough to prevent them from breaking. It is true that components will eventually break, but the reason behind preventive maintenance (PM) is to do all we can to extend a school bus’s life cycle and try to calculate a reasonable replacement time before they fail.
It’s important to realize that your present corrective mode of operation has taken years to get to, and that to turn it around is going to take a while as well. However, once achieved, you could end up spending the majority of time performing PM and just a little time fixing broken buses.
When servicing buses that are 3 years old or newer, repair every defect and potential problem you find. This will keep these buses in premium condition. Now, keep doing so for the life of these buses. They will require the least amount of work on an ongoing basis and continue to be the most reliable buses in your fleet.
Buses 4 years old and older will require more work to bring back to optimal condition. When performing service on these, make a list of every defect and potential problem found during the service, as well as all issues previously known to exist on the bus. Review the list before making any repairs to these items. Sort these items into three categories: 1. Repairs that can be completed in less than 10 minutes. 2. Safety-related repairs. 3. Non-safety related repairs.
The oldest buses will require the most work. These will receive only enough repairs and maintenance to keep them operating safely. If major repairs are required, you might want to refrain from making these repairs and take them out of service if possible and replace them with newer buses. The money needed to replace major components would be better spent towards a replacement bus. It is really hard to justify putting a lot of money into a bus that is scheduled to be replaced soon.
Keep a positive attitude about improving. It takes work and time. Nothing good ever comes easy.