What Goes in a Vehicle File?

July 20, 2010

Vehicle history files are the backbone of a fleet’s maintenance department.  These files provide records of written documentation of preventative maintenance, regular maintenance, inspections, lubrication, and repairs.  Vehicle files are a reflection of an agency’s maintenance department procedures and practices.  Therefore, the files should be organized and give detailed information about each vehicle.  The following is a list of items that should be included in each vehicle history file: 

  1. Identification of the bus, including make, model, license number or other means of positive identification and ownership.  Other examples include Unit ID #’s and Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)
  2. Documentation of all preventative maintenance inspections, regular maintenance or lubrications performed on the vehicle.  This documentation should include the following:  what type of regular maintenance or PM inspection is being performed, the date it was performed and any checklists that were used, the current mileage of the vehicle when it was performed, and the name and address of who performed the work.  If the inspection or maintenance was provided by an outsourced garage mechanic, the documentation should also include an invoice and/or receipt for services provided.
  3. Documentation of all repair work performed on the vehicle.  This documentation should include the following:  a description of the repair work being performed, the date it was performed, the current mileage of the vehicle when it was performed and the name and address of who performed the work.  A corresponding work order should also be included, as well as an itemized invoice and/or receipt for parts purchased and services provided. 
  4. If the vehicle is not owned by the bus transit system, the name of any person or lessor furnishing the bus
  5. Insurance documents outlining the coverage provided on the vehicle and contact information for the insurance company
  6. Any accident reports or road call documentation related to the vehicle.  These reports or documentation should also include any repairs that were made in relation to the incident
  7. All warranty information related to the vehicle and any documentation relating to warranty repair work performed on that vehicle

This information is not only helpful to state and/or district representatives when evaluating your maintenance department, but it should also be used as a reference tool for those at your agency.  This information can help your agency determine the effectiveness of your maintenance department by identifying possible areas in need of improvement.  For more information on how your vehicle files can be used to perform quality assurance checks, please visit our Outsourcing section for tips.