Research by the RAC has shown an alarming lack of car knowledge or understanding of modern technology. The study of 387,000 fleet call-outs in a 12-month period show that 25.5% of all breakdowns in the past year were ‘customer induced’.
In fact, the second most common reason for call-outs is a noise or smell reported by the driver that results in no fault being found by the RAC patrol.
Elvin Ravenscroft, the organisation’s technical support manager, said: ‘Fleet drivers are often unfamiliar with the vehicle they’re driving, especially in the case of hire cars, and they don’t bother to read the hand book.
‘One of the regular culprits when we find no fault with a driver’s car is the remote key fob. These tend to operate on a similar radio frequency to television set-top boxes and wireless door bells, which cause intermittent interference that stop the driver from disarming the alarm or opening the door remotely. Unfortunately, the drivers don’t realise the fob often contains a manual key that can be used to open the door and start the vehicle.’
The absence of a spare tyre is another common problem, with drivers leaving a punctured tyre in the boot from a previous wheel change and failing to have it repaired.
Flat batteries are on the list of the top 10 driver-related faults but, again, the problems are preventable.
Ravenscroft said: ‘Forgetting to switch off interior and exterior lights is a bigger problem with cars today as modern batteries are designed for a high discharge of power when starting the car, but not for a constant, steady power flow as in the case of lights.’