Ensure regular servicing

Ensuring company vehicles are serviced and maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations improves reliability and safety, extends vehicle life, keeps newer models within warranty terms and preserves resale values.Additionally, fleet operating and fuel costs are kept in check as defects will be spotted before they become serious, better MPGwill be achieved and CO2 emissions will be reduced.It sounds simple, however, there are numerous examples of corners being cut in terms of vehicle maintenance which, ultimately, can return to haunt fleet decision-makers in terms of extended vehicle downtime, end of contract recharges caused by poor service history and excess mileage and road accident investigation.

Facts:

Regular servicing ensures (1)

  • An extended  vehicle life
  • Defects are uncovered before they become serious and costly
  • The risk of a breakdown is reduced
  • Accident risk is minimised through routine safety checks
  • Better fuel economy and reduced CO2emissions
  • An improvement in a vehicle’s residual value

A key part of every risk management strategy includes organising maintenance work to reduce the risk of vehicle failure (2)

The issue

With service intervals being extended up to 20,000 miles or two years and vehicles being reallocated, it is easy to see how vehicle services are missed.Additionally, drivers are increasingly working to tight schedules which means finding time to have their vehicle maintained is never easy, nor is it ever convenient having vehicles off the road for any length of time.Meanwhile, drivers may not even know when their next service is due, especially if they haven’t owned the vehicle from new.But, even if they do remember, lead times with many garages can be several weeks leading to a vehicle missing its scheduled service, resulting in warranties being invalidated, future resale values being affected and routine servicing repairs becoming more complex and costly.That, of course, can all lead to a re-charge to the company, something which is totally avoidable if proper care is taken and vehicles are serviced on time. Not only that, but being in possession of an auditable vehicle service, maintenance and repair schedule is a key part of any occupational road risk management regime.The Health and Executive’s ‘Driving at Work: Managing work-related road safety’ guide makes clear that “maintenance schedules”should be in place and that “vehicles are regularly checked by a competent person to ensure they are safe”.In ensuring that a vehicle is fit for purpose and maintained in a safe and fit condition suitable for use on at-work journeys, according to the HSE guide fleet managers should ensure:

  • adequate maintenance arrangements are in place
  • maintenance and repairs are carried out to an acceptable standard
  • planned/preventative maintenance is carried out in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations

When investigating road crashes the police want answers to three questions:

  1. the purpose of the journey;
  2. the condition of the driver;
  3. and the condition of the vehicle.

The importance of having a comprehensive maintenance policy in place and ensuring that work is undertaken on schedule and not delayed was underlined during a case at Leeds Crown Court in November 2009 (3) when a business owner pleaded guilty to gross negligence manslaughter and was jailed for three years after one of his drivers was involved in a fatal accident.An investigation by North Yorkshire Police, working with the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency, concluded that the cause of the crash was acute brake failure due to poor maintenance with the company repeatedly failing to act on warnings to fix faults with the braking system (4).

How ProFleet2 can help

Ensuring vehicles are serviced on schedule and that businesses are in possession of an auditable service, maintenance and repair vehicle history are fleet management essentials and this is where ProFleet2 comes into its own.ALD Automotive will contact individual drivers pro-actively by SMS text messaging, e-mail or fax two months or 2,000 miles prior to their next vehicle service becoming due, guaranteeing any work is carried out on time with minimal inconvenience.If service bookings are not actioned by drivers ALD will then contact fleet managers and whilst not replacing the driver’s obligations it does, at least, provide added peace of mind where drivers are not as conscientious as they could be.ProFleet2 therefore minimises costs, eliminates risk exposure and ensures fleet managers have a robust service, maintenance and repair history for all vehicles under their control.

Information sources

  1. Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ ‘Drive Green, Drive Safely’ guide, www.smmt.co.uk
  2. Health and Safety Executive’s ‘Driving at Work: Managing work-related road safety’ guide,http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg382.pdf
  3. BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8359720.stm
  4. North Yorkshire Police, http://www.northyorkshire.police.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3098