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How to extend vehicle life

How to extend vehicle life

There are a number of ways in which fleets can extend the life of their vehicles. For example, here are a few important measures which can make a big difference: 1. Complete scheduled maintenance on time 2. Improve driver behaviour, and limit excessive wear and tear 3. Eliminate unnecessary mileage from journeys 4. Manage workload evenly across the entire fleet of vehicles (rather than overusing some and underusing others)

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Q: Are vehicle replacement costs a major issue for fleets?

A: Vehicle replacement and maintenance costs are key issues for fleet operators. Individual fleets’ replacement cycles will vary according to the vehicles used and the work they complete. Those vehicles used for more strenuous tasks (such as long-distance delivery) may be more prone to mechanical issues and hence in need of more preventative  maintenance. Outright replacement of vehicles (though necessary over time) is expensive, and so effective, regular maintenance is essential.

Q: How frequently do fleets replace their vehicles?

A: According to research from Arval, British fleets replace cars and vans after 3.9 years on average. What is particularly interesting about this finding is that it compares quite starkly with fleets elsewhere in Europe. Across 12 other European countries, the survey found, vehicles are replaced after an average of 5.7 years. However, the Arval report also found that there was some variation among British fleets of different sizes. While smaller fleets of between one and nine vehicles have an average replacement cycle of 3.9 years, for medium-sized fleets (10-49 vehicles) this declines to 3.6 years, rising to 4.2 years among fleets of over 50 vehicles. Nevertheless, these findings strongly suggest that there may be considerable scope for UK fleets to extend the lifespan of their vehicles.

Q: How do fleets calculate when vehicles need to be replaced?

A: The process of calculating when to replace fleet vehicles is known as economic life cycling. The optimum point at which fleets generally replace vehicles is the point at which vehicle depreciation intersects with increasing repair and maintenance costs to outstrip market value. Calculating this point and incorporating it into overall fleet planning is a complex process, but Telematics can assist with integrated maintenance modules that simplify the capture and measurement of total cost of ownership, helping businesses to assess optimal vehicle replacement points.

Q: What impacts total cost of ownership (TCO)?

A. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is effected by the vehicle purchase cost, maintenance costs, repair costs, depreciation and fuel consumption. By tracking the costs that effect TCO and benchmarking against similar fleets, business owners can identify how they can reduce the cost of running vehicles and extend replacement cycles. Telematics is one of the tools which can help businesses reduce total cost of ownership by enabling smarter routing, optimizing driver behaviour and implementing effective vehicle maintenance schedules.   

Q: How can telematics extend vehicle lifespan through improved efficiency?

A: Telematics systems can be used to drastically improve vehicle efficiency while also maximising their lifespan. For example, they make the process of route optimisation dramatically easier, allowing for real-time re-routing to ensure that drivers take the quickest and simplest route available to them. This helps to reduce unnecessary mileage, while telematics data can also help to eliminate engine idling (through being caught in traffic jams, for example) and thereby reduce engine run time while also helping to improve fuel efficiency. These improvements in efficiency and performance can also have an impact on vehicle lifespan through mitigating the effects of overall wear and tear.

Q: How can maintenance help to make fleet vehicles last longer?

A: As well as helping to boost productivity through the prevention of unscheduled downtime, preventive vehicle maintenance can be highly effective in extending vehicle lifespan. Again telematics has proven highly effective at simplifying the process of maintenance and enabling fleets to get more out of their vehicles. Telematics systems allow for automated maintenance scheduling based on odometer readings and engine run time, and also provide clear and easy-to-understand reports. Their instant alerts provide reminders of upcoming maintenance and also overdue tasks. This not only helps to ensure that key maintenance tasks don’t go overlooked, but also minimises potential disruption to the business.

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