Venson survey reveals confusion related to reporting company car damage and maintenance issues

July 16, 2015
The latest survey from Venson Automotive Solutions reveals that 58 percent of company car drivers think it’s their employer’s responsibility to get the car serviced at the appropriate times, even though the employee is accountable.

Fleet managers are under constant pressure from budget restrictions, and wear and tear charges often feel like a sting in the tail at the end of a leasing contract. The latest survey from Venson Automotive Solutions reveals that 58 percent of company car drivers think it’s their employer’s responsibility to get the car serviced at the appropriate times, even though the employee is accountable. Venson urges fleet managers to ensure their drivers know exactly what needs reporting and where responsibilities lie, in order to stay in control of their costs.

When asked if they undertake any vehicle maintenance, company car drivers are least likely to top up water coolants (52 percent) with only 53 percent checking oil levels. In contrast, only 66 percent check their tire pressures and inflate if necessary. Even more concerning is that almost one in three drivers (28 percent) ignore warning lights on the dashboard.

Gil Kelly, Operations Director at Venson says, “Only 42 percent of the company car drivers we surveyed see maintenance as their responsibility, which could see fleet managers facing hefty charges at the end of the vehicle’s lease. This could be avoided if fleet managers, with the support of their fleet provider, communicate about service and maintenance responsibilities, not only at the time of handing over the keys of the car to an employee, but throughout the term of the lease to reduce wear and tear costs.

“In addition, by encouraging regular maintenance checks, businesses can identify issues early. This should include pre-collection inspections, prior to the end of a contract, to allow any damage to be identified and rectified. Fleet managers could also consider implementing a policy whereby company car drivers are fined as a result of issues not being reported, and result in unnecessary costs being incurred by the business for persistent offenders.

“We also advise firms to ensure their fleet provider has provided a clearly defined end of contract damage process so it is transparent what is acceptable. There should also be room for a firm to challenge their fleet provider about the cost breakdown, to ensure there are no hidden charges. By going into a lease with a clear understanding of the procedures regarding damage and making them clear to their drivers, businesses can stay on top of damage and/or maintenance issues, as they happen.”

VENSON’S TOP TIPS TO REDUCE WEAR AND TEAR CHARGES

  • Use daily/weekly/monthly (depending upon vehicle usage) vehicle checks to spot issues early,
  • Consider implementing a fleet policy that recharges fees back to drivers if incidents aren’t reported
  • Ensure your fleet provider has a clearly defined end of contract damage process to avoid hidden charges
  • Regularly communicate and educate drivers on what needs reporting to the fleet team
  • Make sure you have a pre-collection inspection prior to the end of your contract to allow any issues to be addressed or claimed through insurance
  • Use driver training and an ongoing education program to ensure drivers are driving safely which in turn will reduce accidental damage.

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