Lengthening replacement cycles prompted by the pandemic and new vehicle shortages is causing major component failures to rise sharply for some van operators, FleetCheck is reporting.
The company says that these trends mean more light commercial vehicles owned by fleets are entering the fifth and even sixth years of their operational life, and that expensive mechanical breakdowns are becoming more commonplace as a result.
Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet software specialist, said, “Quite a lot of fleets delayed van renewals around the start of the pandemic and are finding that new models can’t be sourced in suitable timescales now.
“It’s not uncommon for vans for break the 100,000 mile mark during their operational life but we are seeing numbers running well beyond that point and it is a development resulting in mechanical failures that fleets don’t often experience.
“Top of the list is probably gearboxes but we are also seeing more vehicles undergoing a second clutch or cambelt replacement. These are expensive items for which few fleets will have budgeted.
“The fact is the older vans are more costly to keep on the road than newer ones and – until they can source replacements – many fleets are starting to have to spend large sums of money on aged vehicles that, in absolute terms, are worth relatively small sums of cash.”
There were strategies that could be employed to reduce the chances of such issues arising, Peter said, and increasing numbers of fleets were using their fleet management software to put these measures in place.