By Oliver Hall
A lack of basic vehicle maintenance and knowledge among fleet drivers is causing unnecessary breakdowns, increased repair costs and substantial downtime, says RAC.
Punctured tyres and the need to change a wheel is the most frequent reason for call out, the breakdown service reports.
Increased awareness and maintenance, especially concerning tyres, could save businesses a small fortune and help fleets avoid over 13,500 days downtime, according to the study.
The RAC’s 2008 Vehicle Fault Analysis (VFA) data equates to nearly 115,000 fleet breakdowns that could be avoided if the drivers conducted basic maintenance checks of their vehicles and undertook driver training.
Frank Flynn, technical information manager for RAC, says: “Our research shows that fleet drivers are causing downtime.
“And with the cost of replacement or hire cars, missed appointments, lost business contracts and warranty disputes over vehicle repairs, the impact on businesses can be significant.
“By adding together all of the call outs for punctures and calculating the resultant downtime, we can see that 2140 days were lost in 2008 for this reason alone.
“Basic training on how to look after the vehicle and change a wheel could help reduce the downtime caused.
“Of course we understand this isn’t always realistic or practical for all fleet drivers but we believe fleets in general could benefit by training drivers on how to change a wheel.
“Where the driver has had a puncture but does not have a usable spare wheel, this could be due to the fact that the driver has not had it repaired following a previous incident, or that they are simply not carrying one.
“The latter has become quite common with more manufacturers producing vehicles without a spare wheel.”