Fleet News

What to do when a fleet car gets a flat

'MY CAP colleague, Monitor editor Jeff Knight, experienced something I had almost forgotten about last week – a flat tyre. It sounds like a fairly routine problem but when you think about it, we actually go for years these days without having to change a wheel. He picked up a nail on the shoulder of the tyre, between the tread and sidewall. It went as flat as a pancake.

He jacked the car up and, after struggling with the wheel nuts, found the alloy wheel was well and truly welded to the hub. Now was the time to call for assistance and after about an hour – which it has to be said is pretty quick – the patrolman managed to loosen the wheel with the aid of a small mallet.

He then put on the spacesaver and told Jeff not to go too far or too fast with it. Jeff went straight to the local tyre depot, which didn't have the right tyre in stock but could get one within three hours. His day was therefore rendered almost useless. This must happen time and time again with cars that either do not have a full-size spare or sport expensive low profile tyres that are not stocked at local depots due to the high cost factor.

For the fleet manager, this must cause organisational problems and spark many debates with drivers as to what to do in this situation. If a meeting has to be attended, or a plane or train caught, it becomes a bigger problem. Faced with a similar situation, I think I would have carried on with the spacesaver. But companies and drivers do need some sort of advice on this subject, due to the organisational and safety implications.

The future is fascinating

One of the exciting things about working at CAP is the feeling of being at the heart of the motor industry. It involves a careful balance between serving the customer and respecting confidentiality when we are 'cut in' on commercially sensitive thinking – a balance that has to be achieved on a daily basis.

We are now seeing new cars, vans and trucks at a much earlier stage than ever before and often we are among the first to know about new developments. I am proud that our input and opinion is often sought long before a vehicle reaches the market – from pricing and specification to the growing challenge of badging.

The editorial staff here attend an incredible number of new vehicle launches and our close relationships with the manufacturing sector cut both ways – enabling us to help them as well as fill our databases with the information that will be needed by our customers, once embargoes are lifted.

I can promise that the market – and this weekly view of it – can only become more dynamic and fascinating.'

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