Want to reduce Vehicle breakdowns and high maintenance costs?


The blog discusses the importance of reducing vehicle breakdowns and high maintenance costs in fleet businesses. It compares the traditional reactive maintenance approach with preventive and predictive maintenance methods that aim to prevent unexpected breakdowns and detect anomalies in vehicle parts before actual failure occurs. The blog also explains the link between the CAN BUS protocol, OBD2, and J1939 and how they play a role in predictive maintenance. The comparison between preventive and predictive maintenance methods is also provided, including their features, benefits, challenges, and cost savings. Adopting predictive maintenance methods can significantly reduce maintenance costs and prevent unplanned downtime.

Truck repair cost is set to rise dramatically in the span of 2-4 years. In a fleet business the consistent vehicle uptime is important to achieve deliverables at the right time. As a fleet manager, if you experience  2-3 breakdowns per year for one truck, then it’s time to switch your maintenance methods. 

Service and maintenance are a big deal when someone owns a truck business as it has a major share in the overall annual fiscal budget. According to an IMI survey, the actual maintenance cost can exceed $15000 with the inclusion of all the parts and equipment of the vehicle. The repair cost, equipment replacement might have significant financial impact in the truck business. So, do you have a close eye on your maintenance cost as per the asset? 

If you face vehicle downtime for a prolonged period, then there is no wonder that you chose the wrong maintenance method for your vehicle. Based on the data driven vehicle lifecycle, It is certain the maintenance and repair cost rises as long as the vehicle runs on the road. 

The reactive maintenance is one of a kind followed traditionally over a long period of time. Just imagine when your truck breaks down in the mid-way of a journey where the drivers were left strangled and the deliverables didn’t reach the unloading point in a specified time. Now, who is to blame, truck driver or fleet manager?  Reactive maintenance is all about sudden damage to the vehicle and then it pays a visit to the garage for service facing an unexpected downtime

Preventive Maintenance is an orderly procedure that aims to prevent unpredicted breakdown. It follows a routine service at regular intervals of period. Even in the good running condition, the vehicle pays visits often to check the equipements health to predict when and which parts are about to fail or it needs a replacement. For example, if a motorcycle travels for 10000km, then it requires service maintenance so that it does not break down unexpectedly.

Predictive maintenance requires condition based real time monitoring tools to detect anomalies and defects of the vehicle parts, it follows a strategic maintenance approach to check the performance of the equipment with builtin predictive algorithms, so that the maintenance work can be done before the actual failure occurs and the maintenance is scheduled based on the asset condition.

Link between CAN BUS protocol, OBD2 and J1939

The introduction of OBD in 1980’s is to detect vehicle emission and gives access to the repair technicians about vehicle subsystem performance and gives analysis for the repair needs. The advancement of OBD which sends signals via Electronic control units through sensors and gives diagnostics trouble codes to detect errors in real time to schedule predictive maintenance. The telematics devices are attached to OBD ports to process the information like vehicle speed, engine oil, fuel usage, air filter clog etc. 

The complex electronic systems consist of numerous sensors and processors but the evolution of autonomous vehicles with computerized systems, internal communication between the sensors and electronic units plays a major role. This complexity can lead to fatal failures due to faulty sensors. As a measure, Controller Area Network (CAN) strengthens information sharing across multiple sensors and processors in the vehicle system. 

CAN bus is a reliable network that provides peer to peer service in which all ECU’s can transmit and receive information to all other electronics or issues within the network. When CAN BUS is connected to the OBD port, the message sent within the network will analyse and decide whether the message was relevant to take action or ignore the message, thus it plays a very important role in predictive diagnostics.

CAN provides a basic layer and however it is made mandatory for all vehicle’s to improvise the safety standards. Mostly CAN BUS connected with OBD || majorly used in commercial vehicles whereas J1939 is an important protocol in CAN bus logging and provides a higher layer of protocol to share larger information among the ECU’s. Today, the IOT is a widely adopted solution in the transportation sector with connected wifi hotspot and J1939 protocol is mainly used by heavy duty vehicles like trucks, bulldozers, excavators, tractors..etc.

The CAN-bus engine includes pre-configured decoding profiles for J1939 and FMS networks, which are used by the majority of vehicle manufacturers. Vehicle tracking, remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and remote vehicle interaction are all common use cases. On-site or remotely, the telematics database enables fleet activity and tracking, real-time asset location viewable on satellite maps, configurable screen based on desired data, and much more.

It is clear that with the development of advanced vehicular technology and automotive vehicles, adopting predictive maintenance will reap the benefits in fleet dependent business by reducing high cost.




Preventive Maintenance

Predictive Maintenance


Reduces Unexpected breakdown

Detecting Real time  anomalies of individual parts before the actual failure

Maintenance Time Period

Whenever necessary 

Schedules that can be set in advanced 

Equipment Replacement

Replaced at regular intervals

Replaced when needed

Asset Cost

Includes labour charge and high asset cost

No labour cost and reduces high asset cost


Ineffective in finding root cause and hidden problems

Accurate in finding hidden problem with root cause

What’s reduced?

Reduction in Failure rate

Prevents failures (Early detection)

Efficiency compared to Reactive maintenance

Eventually increases sudden breakdown

Reduces sudden breakdowns 

Required resources 

  • Software to schedule maintenance 
  • Maintenance Checklist 
  • Condition based software, tools, sensors

Cost savings

15 – 20 %

20 – 30 %


  • Lowers Maintenance cost
  • Unplanned downtime
  • Easy to Implement
  • Lowest risk of breakdown 
  • Elimination of unplanned downtime
  • Improved analytics with real time diagnostics


  • High Labour cost
  • Requires spare parts for individual asset
  • Complex system
  • High implementation cost

The above table shows you a detailed view on Preventive and Predictive Maintenance. 

Vamosys provides Preventive solution in FleetOS app (Fleet Management Software) as you can set service reminders that notifies you on time whenever your vehicles require repair service and also you can maintain maintenance log book digitally in the app to avoid loss of records. 

Vamosys also implements an advanced machine learning approach (Prognostics) to detect the errors before the complete failure of the vehicles to reduce downtime. It detects air filter clog, fuel filter clog, clutch wear detection, oil conditioning, degradation of starter motor and oil filter clog detection. And also, considering the driver behaviour with different parameters like acceleration and braking trends, it classifies the errors based on the severity of damage to the engine that identifies the risk to repair the damages to increase the vehicle uptime.


Sushanthi is a Content Writer who wishes to be the voice of brands to project their innovative ideas and stories through her writing skills.

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