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Stay on top of fleet maintenance during lockdown, warns Venson

Fleet drivers neglecting basic vehicle checks could risk business downtime and even road safety issues as lockdown is eased.

Latest research from Venson has revealed almost one in three (28%) drivers have failed to carry out any basic vehicle health checks since lockdown measures were announced on 23 March and one in four drivers have deferred a service or repair.

Meanwhile one in five do not know when their MOT is due and almost three-quarters of drivers (69%) are unclear about when the Government’s six-month MOT exemption came into play.

Yet, as announced at the time of the MOT exemption on 25 March, vehicles must be kept in roadworthy condition or drivers could face prosecution for being at the wheel of an unsafe vehicle.

Alison Bell, marketing director at Venson Automotive Solutions, has also warned businesses have a duty of care to ensure their employees who drive on company business are safe and should therefore be encouraging regular safety checks.

“By carrying out basic maintenance checks, drivers will not only help to reduce the time their vehicle is off the road but importantly, eliminate unnecessary cost for themselves and/or their employer. Additionally, a vehicle kept in a safe, driveable condition, limits their personal inconvenience if it has to be repaired and lessens the burden on roadside assistance providers,” she continued.

“When lockdown is eased, businesses will be keen to begin to make up for lost time, so the last thing they need are drivers to be out of action due to a flat tyre, flat battery, or worse. It’s great to see that half of the respondents have checked their tyre pressure and run the engine to keep the battery charged. This is a simple bit of maintenance which is often neglected but could save hundreds of pounds if the vehicle has to be off the road for repairs.”

Bell also echoed concerns from Licence Check that the industry could see an MOT testing overload when lockdown is lifted.

“What’s more, regardless of the Government’s extension, we recommend vehicles are booked in for MOTs well in advance of their new due date in order to help avoid bottlenecks building after lockdown. Those responsible for fleet vehicles should also ensure that service routines are maintained to avoid invalidating warranties and generating unnecessary maintenance costs for their business.”

Venson Vehicle Safety Checklist

  • Battery care – Start the engine once a week and allow it to run for about 15 minutes. This will re-charge the battery and help keep the engine in good condition.
  • Oil – Check oil levels and for any leaks.
  • Check windscreen wipers and screen wash
  • Coolant – Is the level correct?
  • Damage – Is there any damage to bodywork that might affect roadworthiness? If you’re not sure ask for advice.
  • Dashboard – Check for warning lights when the engine is running.
  • Rubber – Are the tyres safe, correctly inflated and legal? Do you have a working spare or alternative solution in the vehicle?
  • Windscreen and mirrors – Do you have clear all-round vision and is the glass damage free?

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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