School buses in the sun with a thermometer in front.

With the heat, the air conditioning in school buses becomes a top priority. Regular checks and maintenance of these systems are crucial to ensure they work efficiently.

Photo: School Bus Fleet

While kids are on summer break, school buses are in a unique position of lower use and higher maintenance. But they don’t just sit idle.

School bus fleet managers play a crucial role during these months: they are responsible for preparing buses for the upcoming school year and sometimes repurposing them for community use.

Other Summer Uses for School Buses

In the summer, school buses can be used for more than their usual purpose. Many districts and organizations repurpose these vehicles for community outreach programs, summer camps, and special events.

Buses may transport kids to summer learning programs, recreational activities, or community events and festivals. Some creative districts might even use buses as mobile libraries or food distribution centers, bringing neighborhood services.

These other uses not only keep the buses active but also serve the community. Fleet managers' coordination with these programs ensures that buses are available and ready for these roles, contributing to the well-being of the community.

Keeping Up on Summer School Bus Maintenance

As the summer approaches, it's essential for school bus fleet managers to prioritize comprehensive inspections and maintenance of school buses to ensure safety and efficiency for the upcoming school year.

  • Comprehensive Inspections: Summer is the perfect time for a thorough inspection. Fleet managers should inspect the buses’ mechanical systems, including brakes, engines, and transmissions. Any issues will be identified and fixed before the school year gets busy.
  • Air Conditioning: With the heat, the air conditioning in school buses becomes a top priority. Regular checks and maintenance of these systems are crucial to ensure they work efficiently, provide a comfortable environment for any summer programs, and prepare for the warm start of the school year.
  • Tire Maintenance: Hot weather can accelerate tire wear and tear. Inspect and rotate tires, check air pressure, and ensure proper alignment to extend tire life and safety.
  • Battery Care: Heat affects battery performance and life. Fleet managers should check battery connections, clean terminals, and consider replacing older batteries to prevent breakdowns.
  • Interior Cleaning and Repairs: Summer is a good time to deep clean and repair the bus interiors. Seats, floors, and windows should be cleaned thoroughly, and any damage should be repaired to keep the buses safe and pleasant for students.
  • Fluid Checks: Regularly check and top off all fluids, engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, and brake fluid. Proper fluid levels will keep the buses running smoothly and reduce the risk of overheating and other heat-related issues.

Getting Ready for the Upcoming School Year

The new school year should also be planned for in the summer. Fleet managers need to ensure all buses comply with safety regulations and are ready for inspection. This means updating maintenance logs, documenting all repairs, and preparing for any state or local inspections required before the school year starts.

In addition, it's important to conduct thorough driver training and re-certification to ensure that all drivers are up to date with the latest safety protocols and regulations. This may involve providing refresher courses on defensive driving and emergency procedures.

Furthermore, it's essential to assess the condition of the bus fleet and consider any necessary upgrades or replacements to improve efficiency and safety. This proactive approach can help prevent potential issues during the school year and ensure smooth operations..

Summer Thoughts

Summer may slow down the school bus, but it’s not downtime for fleet managers. Fleet managers can keep their fleet reliable and ready for the upcoming school year by using buses for community needs and doing comprehensive maintenance.

By being proactive, addressing maintenance needs early, and preparing the buses for their summer roles, fleet managers can ensure a reliable and efficient fleet for the upcoming school year.

About the author
Lauren Fletcher

Lauren Fletcher

Executive Editor - Fleet, Trucking & Transportation

Lauren Fletcher is Executive Editor for the Fleet, Trucking & Transportation Group. She has covered the truck fleet industry since 2006. Her bright personality helps lead the team's content strategy and focuses on growth, education, and motivation.

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