Fleet downtime rises 20% through avoidable car faults
And according to RAC's latest Vehicle Fault Analysis (VFA) data, the number of call-outs resulting from driver error has risen 10% year-on-year to nearly 110,000.
The top three reasons for a breakdown were wheel-related, including punctures, general tyre faults and lack of replacement tyres. Call-outs to replace tyres when no spare wheel was available has seen the highest annual increase with the number of breakdowns rising almost 50% to 12,238, equating to 6,119 lost working days in 20103.
And well inside the top 10 reasons for fleet driver breakdown is running out of fuel, with more than 8,000 call-outs, equating to 1,000 annual days of downtime. Misfuelling and battery faults also feature prominently.
Frank Flynn, technical information manager for RAC, said: 'Although equipment and technology to help reduce car faults and driver errors is becoming more common in vehicles, fleet drivers need to avoid becoming overreliant and be aware of the limitations.
'In the last year or so there has been a steady increase in the number of car manufacturers that don't supply spare wheels with vehicles and, instead, provide puncture repair kits. These aren't a like-for-like substitute because if a tyre suffers sidewall damage, or is shredded as a result of being driven flat, the kit is useless. The cost of repairs and downtime should be factored into decisions about whether to equip business drivers with spares as carrying an extra tyre is often far more cost-effective.'
Flynn added: 'Breakdowns caused by running out of petrol or diesel remain an issue for fleet drivers and the rise in fuel prices isn't helping matters as drivers try to stretch out the time between fill-ups.'
He concluded: 'Our data shows that almost a third of all fleet driver breakdowns could have been avoided by increasing driver knowledge and familiarity with their vehicle as well as doing basic maintenance checks and training, such as dealing with a puncture, which all helps to save expensive repair bills and lost working days. We also advise that fleet managers consider the fault prevention technology and tools available, such as investing in spare tyres and using misfuelling prevention devices such as RAC's FuelSure.'