Fleet News

Firms pay the price as drivers ignore basic checks

FLEET drivers are causing thousands of pounds damage to vehicles by ignoring basic checks that are crucial with longer car service intervals.

Modern fleet cars can go up to 30,000 miles without a visit to the garage, but simple checks, particularly for oil levels, must be carried out regularly. Yet many drivers who cover thousands of miles a month on business shun basic checks, even when alerted by their car's oil pressure warning light.

As a result, engine damage and early wear and tear can lead to expensive garage bills and wipe hundreds of pounds from a vehicle's residual value.

Jason Francis, managing director of cfc solutions, said: 'Longer service intervals are to be welcomed because they play a part in reducing fleet running costs. However, they are not without their problems and we are already finding that a number of our customers are seeing vehicle damage, especially from low oil levels.

A whole generation of company car drivers has been educated that checks on oil level and tyre pressures are something that happens when a car gets serviced. When intervals ran at 6,000 miles, this was much less of an issue, but with 20,000 mile services, they need to carry out checks again.'

Last year, fleets called on manufactures to help tackle driver negligence when running in new vehicles, following a series of early engine failures.

Members of the Association of Car Fleet Operators said they were becoming aware of a growing string of incidents in which engines, particularly diesels, had failed because they had run out of oil early in their lives.

In some cases, new engines may use up to a litre of oil every thousand miles during running in. If drivers do not check this, then the engine may well seize.

Some companies have resorted to fines of thousands of pounds for drivers who land companies with bills that could reach £6,000.

Jason Francis, managing director of cfc solutions, said fleet managers had to take control of their drivers and use technology to their advantage.

He added: 'cfc solutions software can be set up to generate reminders either based on mileage or time elapsed for drivers. Taking basic action could save expensive repair bills and show that a company is meeting its duty of care to drivers.'

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