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Only 27% of fleets perform regular maintenance checks

The firm’s data indicates that 58% of fleets tend to rely on their annual or recommended service to identify maintenance problems and a further one in ten (13%) relies solely on drivers to report potential problems. 

Yet with more than half (54%) of fleets saying that the main cause of unexpected time off the road for emergency repairs is general wear and tear (54%), this indicates a large number of fleets potentially missing maintenance problems that could be put right sooner, faster and at lower overall cost to the business. 

When it comes to the impact on costs, a significant number of fleet managers appear to be in the dark about the potential scale of the problem, with two-fifths (40%) unable to estimate the business impact costs of having a vehicle off the road – for example lost sales or lower productivity – and more than a third (36%) are unable to estimate their average annual spend on maintenance and repair. 

However, across all fleet types others estimate the cost of vehicle down-time to be an average of £727 per day in terms of lost business revenue – even more significant in light of the fact that one in five (22%) reported having vehicles off the road for unscheduled or emergency repairs on average at least once a month.

Almost three-quarters (72%) said that on average vehicles were off the road for repairs at least once a year. 

Other key research findings include:

· Per vehicle, van fleets spend twice as much as car fleets on maintenance each year – £1,392 versus £687 

· On average, the operational cost of a van fleet vehicle being off the road for one day is £726, compared to £588 for predominantly car fleets

· Van fleets are more susceptible to unscheduled ‘pit-stops’ with over a third (33%) of fleet managers reporting these happening at least once a month on average, compared to only 16% in fleets made up mostly of cars

· Tyres and engine oil are most likely to be in fleet managers’ top three priorities for maintenance (74% and 67% respectively), followed windscreen wipers / fluid (26%)

Jeremy Rochfort, national sales manager at Autoglass, said: ‘Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to vehicle maintenance. With more regular, ideally monthly maintenance checks, relatively minor issues such as a chipped windscreen can be addressed much more quickly and at much lower cost than if left to deteriorate.

‘Of course, regular maintenance is not just important for reducing the overall cost of running a fleet, it’s also crucial for safety and to project a professional business image. However, it’s striking that losing even two days of productivity per year of productivity by having a vehicle off the road can, on average, cost some fleet businesses much more than the entire annual maintenance and repair spend for that same vehicle.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.