More than 1.3 million vans and commercial vehicles require breakdown assistance each year, with every incident eating into working hours.
On average, each breakdown results in £114 of lost earnings, while the associated repairs can cost thousands more besides, according to figures from insurance company More Than Business.
The company says half of the most common causes of commercial vehicle breakdown could be easily avoided by taking greater care of vehicles, performing routine checks and understanding basic vehicle maintenance.
Faulty batteries cause the most problems, while punctures and overheated engines also cause bother. Regular checks on tyre and battery condition and on fluid levels can reduce the likelihood of failure.
Driver error is also often to blame. Leaving the lights on and draining the battery is the most common mistake, followed by drivers locking themselves out of vans, as well as misfuelling their vehicles.
Mike Bowman, head of More Than Business, said: “Commercial vehicles are the driving force behind many of the country’s small businesses, so it is vitally important that work doesn’t grind to a halt through avoidable breakdowns.”