It might be a strange thing to be advising, but business fleets must start thinking ahead about future servicing requirements going into Quarter 4.
Ensuring that vehicles are kept in optimum condition is a critical part of fleet management, but businesses will also want to avoid vehicle downtime - and the potential to lose business as a result.
The reason for the planning requirement is the pinch point in servicing availability that is predicted at vehicle workshops and garages.
A unique combination of a return to business by UK plc as the economy speeds up post-pandemic, a greater demand on service space by the increasing number of commercial vehicle home delivery firms, and a surge in MOTs from September onwards, will place maintenance space at a premium.
The Motor Ombudsman says it now expects nearly 1.3 million more MOTs in September and October than would ordinarily be seen during these two months (pre-pandemic).
The Ombudsman points to the latest figures released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that reveal nearly seven million MOTs are due to expire across England, Scotland and Wales during this period.
Tyre and service provider ATS Euromaster is also suggesting that fleets plan ahead since the data it is collecting also points to a surge in workshop requirements during this period.
According to ATS Euromaster, data it collected in 2020 showed a significant rise in MOT activity from May onwards that peaked in mid-September through to mid-November as drivers rushed to get MOTs completed following the covid MOT extension.
But in 2021, the company says that May demand was already substantially higher than 2020, and was likely to result in a higher peak than in 2020 as the previous year's MOT work cycles through the 12-month system, but with the addition of new cars entering the MOT requirement after three years of ownership.
“If you overlay these figures with fleets going back to work now - and perhaps requiring some service work after they have been left potentially unused during periods of furlough - then the potential to need servicing will be high, but the availability will be low,” says Rob Marshall, Operations Director of Gateway2Lease.
“With upwards of seven million tests expected to take place by the end of the year, it is vital to get MOTs and other repairs booked in, otherwise drivers risk a hefty fine as well as risk driver safety and insurance invalidation,” Rob continues.
“Failing to plan effectively for necessary vehicle maintenance could also result in lost revenue as vehicle off road issues impact business opportunities.”
In particular, Marshall points out that those business fleets that decided to extend vehicle leases from three to four years would be especially affected.
“If a driver is unable to get an MOT for their vehicle, not only does this make the car illegal to drive, it invalidates the car insurance with the potential waiting time running into weeks to book a slot. That also has significant implications for the loss of business if staff cannot use their vehicles.”
Rob said he would advise businesses with cars coming up for MOT to bring their vehicle in earlier - an MOT can be booked up to a month before expiry date. And to ensure any servicing or maintenance requirements are identified early and booked in advance.
If you have any questions regarding servicing or MOTs, please do not hesitate to contact us on the following number: 01299 407 360 . Our leasing experts will be on hand and happy to assist you.
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