To maintain smooth fleet operations, managers are advised to keep up regular maintenance work and schedule shop visits in advance. - Photo: ATS Euromaster

To maintain smooth fleet operations, managers are advised to keep up regular maintenance work and schedule shop visits in advance.

Photo: ATS Euromaster

The lengthening lifecycles of fleet vehicles, particularly light commercial vehicles in the online delivery sector, are putting increasing pressure on fleet service, management and repair (SMR) costs.

Lack of new vehicles are well documented thanks to the chip crisis and the war in Ukraine, but that has put the spotlight on fleet SMR costs as they start to escalate.

U.K.-based tire and maintenance provider ATS Euromaster suggests fleet managers should adopt a more planned approach to SMR scheduling to help lower vehicle maintenance expenditure and contain costs.

“It’s a false economy waiting for an event to happen before scheduling a maintenance visit,” commented Mark Holland, operations director at ATS Euromaster. “The biggest cost to an operation is having the vehicle off-road for any time. This far outweighs the expenditure on regular maintenance.

“It’s the same with tires. Scheduling visits for replacement is key to the smooth running of fleets. We often don’t have the service capacity for a rapid fit visit, and more likely, we’re also having to order in the tire, such is the wide variety of different fitments and sizes that are now required for the fleet mix of SUV, EV and ICE fleet vehicles. So what I urge fleets to do is keep up regular maintenance work, book in visits in advance, and keep your fleet operation running smoothly.”

ATS Euromaster advises:

  • Schedule maintenance — don’t ignore it, because longer life cycles mean greater wear and tear.
  • Know when MOTs are due — on longer lifecycles there will be more of them, so schedule in advance.
  • Book in tire replacements — do not leave to the last minute.
  • Don’t get hooked on false economies. Budget tires cost less than premium tires but are half as durable — meaning their whole life cost is more.
  • All-season tires are a great option for ICE vehicles as they offer consistent traction whatever the weather conditions and eliminate the requirement to swap to winter tires.
  • Cracks or chips get worse over time. It is advisable to get them repaired as soon as they appear to prevent worsening which can lead to a costly replacement.
  • Van fleets involved in curbside deliveries should flip the tires from outer to inner to lengthen service life.

Holland added: “What we are seeing is the additional cost of vehicle downtime from fleets that have been ill-prepared for greater SMR work. So our advice is all based on keeping your fleet running. And while we have your vehicle in our service bay, we’ll conduct a free vehicle condition inspection, which can pinpoint potential future maintenance issues in advance. We want fleets to run smoothly and cost-effectively. Regular maintenance and tire checking is key to this.”

About the author
Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton

U.K. and European Correspondent

Ralph Morton is the European correspondent for Automotive Fleet and Global Fleet, covering the U.K. and European beat.

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