Vans are being run for longer, increasing the cost of SMR budgets. - Shutterstock

Vans are being run for longer, increasing the cost of SMR budgets.

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The amount commercial vehicle fleets are spending on SMR has increased by 17%.

Extended lifecycle running, thanks to lack of new vehicle availability, is increasing fleet SMR budgets.

New data from tyre service and maintenance provider ATS Euromaster compares the pre-pandemic average spend on van maintenance versus the first quarter of 2022. Whereas average spend was £118 pre-pandemic, it has now risen 17% to £138 on average.

Mark Holland, operations director at ATS Euromaster, said, “The SMR rise is down to the additional work that is required rather than actual cost, although that may change again as inflationary pressures begin to take hold.

“We’re seeing vans being run for longer than average lifecycles and double-shifted so the mileage and wear is increasing substantially. Meanwhile many of the vans we see at our service centers are from self-employed last-mile delivery drivers who are driving up and down curbs and so on, all day every day. In turn this means greater costs with wheel alignment, shock, and suspension work, and damaged tires on a more regular cycle.”

In line with extended lifecycles, ATS Euromaster says it has seen an uplift in the demand for consumables such as:

  • Brakes, disks, pads, and fluid
  • Wheel alignment
  • Puncture repair, if possible
  • Shock and suspension maintenance

Holland added that the other impact from longer lifecycle running was the demand for emergency repairs with downtime adding to the rise in SMR costs.

“We’re seeing an increase for emergency and same-day service. And that’s simply because fleets have not kept their vehicles in tip-top condition and preventative maintenance has disappeared.

“Drivers think they can just drop their van into our service centers for emergency attention. Whilst I would love that we could service every request ‘there and then,’ it is simply not possible 100% of the time. At the moment we’re seeing an increase of drive-ins as well as forward maintenance bookings via a variety of channels such as the website or third-party partners.

“So I’d urge all fleet managers and drivers to think ahead to ensure their vans receive proper SMR attention before it becomes a critical failure leading to that worst scenario of all - vehicle downtime and cost.”

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