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Fleet maintenance key in cost of living crisis, urges Trakm8

From spiralling energy bills to continually inflated fuel prices, this winter will see British businesses face unprecedented cost pressures.

While businesses will understandably be looking at where they can reduce spend across their operations, Trakm8 is urging those with a fleet division not to scrimp on vehicle maintenance.

Paul Wilson, Sales & Marketing Director at Trakm8 explains: “British businesses are navigating extremely turbulent economic waters at the moment, with both the cost-of-living crisis and continued fuel price uncertainty really starting to bite. Indeed, according to research by The Motor Ombudsman*, worries about financial precarity this winter is leading up to 22% of vehicle owners to delay their service, while 33% are considering missing a service altogether.

“While this might save money in the short term, it could lead to a massive – and unexpected – outlay further down the line if the vehicle fails. This will be exacerbated among fleet operating-businesses, where costs associated with unexpected vehicle downtime can run into the tens of thousands. And when you consider the fact that businesses are having to run older vehicles for longer thanks to the ongoing parts shortage and delays in sourcing new vehicles, the sector really could be facing a perfect storm this winter.

“One of the surest ways businesses can avoid this is by putting proactive vehicle maintenance at the top of their fleet agenda. While there are obvious considerations such as ensuring vehicles continue to be serviced at regular intervals, businesses should also consider investing in vehicle healthcare solutions that can provide up-to-the-minute diagnostics across a wide range of vehicle datapoints. While investing in technology during a time of increased cost-watching might seem counter intuitive, it’s important to consider the wider return on investment such technology can yield. Solutions that monitor vehicle health can help identify potential issues – such as rogue tyres or oil pressure warnings – before they become vehicle disabling and lead to expensive unplanned downtime. At a time when many fleet vehicles are expected to work harder for longer, such technology can play a pivotal role in keeping fleets moving.

“It is also important to consider the impact of the cost of living crisis on grey fleets. Post-pandemic, we’ve seen a significant increase in the numbers of employees using their private vehicles for business. This is a notoriously complex area when it comes to servicing, as the onus falls on the motorist and not the business, but it’s obviously crucial to ensure these vehicles are being driven safely and in a roadworthy condition.

“For businesses, they should ensure that fleet managers have an up-to-date record of what vehicles each grey fleet employee is driving for work. Where possible, they should also maintain records of the most recent service the vehicle has undertaken, alongside details of any vehicle maintenance checks alongside road tax validity. Far from being a ‘Big Brother is watching you’ approach, such proactivity ensures both business and driver are on the right side of legislation and helps provide valuable peace of mind that vehicles utilised for business are entirely fit for purpose.”

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