Two-thirds of company car drivers do not check the coolant and oil levels of their cars as often as recommended, while one in five admit they have no idea how to do so.
A survey compiled by the AA reveals that the vast majority of employees using cars for work are not doing enough checks, although 80% said they would do so if they were shown how to.
Last year alone, the AA attended 13,000 call-outs relating to coolant issues and 12,500 for engine problems due to low oil levels.
The bill to companies from repairs, administration and lost working time could run into millions of pounds as a result.
The issue of maintenance checks has come into sharp focus in recent years as service intervals have increased and drivers assume that modern cars are more reliable and therefore need less looking after.
Particularly at risk are drivers who use their own cars and organise their own servicing.
Roger Williams, head of major fleets and leasing at AA Business Services, said: ‘This research reveals a worrying trend. Although company car drivers are likely to have maintenance checks as part of their contract, motorists who drive vehicles bought through cash-for-car schemes, or use their own vehicles for business, could be at an increased risk of breakdown by failing to complete basic checks on their vehicles.’
Reacting to the problem, the AA has urged fleets to remind drivers of the issues and has created a number of podcasts demonstrating how to do simple tasks, which fleet managers can forward to colleagues.
They can be found at www.theaapodcasts.com