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“Don’t assume vehicles leased ‘with maintenance’ are being maintained”, warns FleetCheck

mechanic under car

Employers that lease cars and vans with an inclusive maintenance package should not assume that they are actually being maintained, warns FleetCheck.

The fleet software specialist says that, especially in smaller businesses, there is often a circle of assumptions – employers assume that the driver and leasing company are carrying out maintenance; drivers that it is the responsibility of their employers and the leasing company; and the leasing company that the issue is being tracked by employers and drivers.

Peter Golding, managing director, said: “This is something that we come across reasonably often and which we have seen a spate of in recent months, especially in SMEs.
“The issue is one of confused responsibility. The employer hands over the lease car and the leasing companydetails to the driver and assumes that they will look after the vehicle.

“However, the driver is often waiting for the leasing company or the employer to give them prompts and, because of their pressures of their job, will sometimes continue to use a vehicle until something actually goes wrong even if even the service reminder light is on.

“Leasing companies know that the legal responsibility for ensuring that the vehicle is maintained lies with the employer and so their systems are often set up to be reactive rather than proactive when it comes to maintenance - although they would clearly have something to say if a vehicle is returned unmaintained because it will affect the value.”

Golding said that managers who did not put systems in place to ensure that vehicles were being properly maintained were leaving themselves open to prosecution.

“If a serious accident occurs and an improperly maintained vehicle is part of the reason that it happened, then the owners and directors of the business will be at fault and could be given a custodial sentence,” he said. “It’s a very serious matter.

“Essentially, the managers of these businesses have handed a huge responsibility to their drivers without putting any systems in place to ensure that they are meeting fundamental legal responsibilities.”

 
 


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Comments

  • Tom - 22/05/2017 14:43

    So important for companies to have a Company Car Policy in place to .ensure drivers understand their responsibilities. This will protect all parties involved and lead to a safer vehicle that is worth more at the end of it's contract.

  • Mr.Bean - 24/05/2017 10:43

    Most cars these days will warn the driver when the car is due for a service and with connected cars, this will be easier for drivers to know what's required. Some leasing companies have a proactive servicing system which makes some assumptions and contacts the driver to check what is the current mileage. But all this should be controlled by the employer and their fleet manager. The driver should also take responsibility for this since and not expect others to do the work for them.

  • Mr.Bean - 24/05/2017 10:45

    Most cars these days will warn the driver when the car is due for a service and with connected cars, this will be easier for drivers to know what's required. Some leasing companies have a proactive servicing system which makes some assumptions and contacts the driver to check what is the current mileage. But all this should be controlled by the employer and their fleet manager. The driver should also take responsibility for this since and not expect others to do the work for them.

  • Sage & Onion - 24/05/2017 12:27

    This is why it is absolutely vital that ALL leasing companies give their customers full live visibility of the maintenance histories by allowing then view-only access to all of their maintenance database for their vehicles, including visibility of all engineers notes and conversations that have taken place with garages. Sadly this is very much lacking in some (dare I say a lot of?) leasing companies and only maintenance reports are available after the event (usually a month afterwards when invoicing has been run). The other problem is that a lot of vehicles these days are on variable servicing dependant on the driving conditions etc and this is so much harder to predict with pre-planning and we have often had vehicles turned away from garages with "service not needed yet" when the prediction report has sent the vehicle into the garage. So much downtime is wasted with this. I insist that all vehicles get at least an annual safety inspection even if the service isn't due yet. I also provide the leasing company with monthly mileage updates so they can update their system and make service predictions much more accurate, although I can't guarantee that they actually do anything with the information, especially if its a manual task for someone to update.

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