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‘Sea-change’ in driving habits takes major toll on vehicle health

Changing driver habits triggered by lockdown have taken a heavy toll on vehicle health, increasing the risk of downtime.

Trakm8’s analysis shows a 46% rise in batteries needing a recharge in the 12 months between pre-lockdown February 2020 and full-lockdown February 2021

The likelihood of battery failures – already the number one cause of vehicle breakdowns – has increased 33% in the 12 months between pre-lockdown February 2020 and full-lockdown February 2021, according to new research by Trakm8. Its analysis also shows an associated 46% rise in batteries needing a recharge.

The research, which looked into the overall health of more than 5,000 vehicles, additionally reveals a 4% decline in fault codes, corresponding with a significant reduction in mileage triggered by the pandemic; according to a report by Verizon Connect, the first lockdown in spring 2020, saw the number of hours on the road by commercial drivers drop by 55%.

Peter Mansfield, group sales and marketing director at Trakm8, commented: “This sea-change in our driving habits has led to a significant increase in vehicle health issues, as our new research indicates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s batteries where this impact is most apparent. With drivers spending far less time on the road than before the pandemic, the frequency of vehicle usage is also down, leading to extended periods of inactivity – a perfect storm, in other words, for spikes in battery failures.

“Flat or inadequately charged batteries can be a frustrating and time-consuming hassle for drivers. For fleets, it can also prove to be a costly irritation, with flat batteries among the leading causes of unexpected downtime for commercial vehicles.”

To help combat the issue, Trakm8 has developed a new Connectedcare solution, which can provide valuable, real-time insights into battery health.

The Connectedcare solution uses advanced battery algorithms to run a series of checks every time a vehicle engine is cranked, sending notifications to fleet managers if the battery is suffering a fault or requires replacing.

Mansfield continued: “Software such as Connectedcare are vital tools in the armoury of the modern fleet manager, providing vital, accurate and timely insights into a whole range of vehicle health points, helping them eliminate avoidable downtime and ultimately, keep their fleets moving.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006.