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Businesses warned over driver maintenance checks as lockdown restrictions ease

Date: 07 May 2020   |   Author: Simon Harris

Fleet managers are being urged to encourage company car drivers to ensure their vehicles are road ready as the nation anticipates an easing of lockdown.

The advice from Venson Automotive Solutions follows its latest survey of UK motorists which revealed that one in five do not know when their MOT is due, and 69% are unclear about when the Government's six-month MOT exemption came into play.

The survey also found that one in four drivers has deferred a service or repair until after lockdown is lifted and as many as 28% have failed to carry out any basic vehicle health checks since 23 March.

Alison Bell, marketing director at Venson Automotive Solutions, said: "Even with the current six-month MOT exemption in place, drivers are still responsible for keeping their vehicle in a roadworthy condition - drivers can still be prosecuted if at the wheel of an unsafe vehicle.

"Businesses also have a duty of care to ensure their employees who drive on company business are safe and should therefore be encouraging regular safety checks.

"By carrying out basic maintenance checks, drivers will not only help to reduce the time their vehicle is off the road but importantly, eliminate unnecessary cost for themselves and/or their employer. Additionally, a vehicle kept in a safe, driveable condition, limits their personal inconvenience if it has to be repaired and lessens the burden on roadside assistance providers."

Encouragingly, respondents to the Venson survey claimed to have carried out some basic but important tasks: 51% said they checked the tyre pressure and 49% said they have run the engine regularly to keep the battery charged; 42% said they had have checked the oil level.

Other maintenance that drivers have carried out include moving the car to test the brakes (41%), measuring tyre tread depth (39%) and ensuring headlights and brake lights are all fully-functioning (34%).

Bell added: "When lockdown is eased, businesses will be keen to begin to make up for lost time, so the last thing they need are drivers to be out of action due to a flat tyre, flat battery, or worse.

"It's great to see that half of the respondents have checked their tyre pressure and run the engine to keep the battery charged. This is a simple bit of maintenance which is often neglected but could save hundreds of pounds if the vehicle has to be off the road for repairs."

"What's more, regardless of the government's extension, we recommend vehicles are booked in for MOTs well in advance of their new due date in order to help avoid bottlenecks building after lockdown. Those responsible for fleet vehicles should also ensure that service routines are maintained to avoid invalidating warranties and generating unnecessary maintenance costs for their business."

Venson vehicle safety checklist
Battery care - start the engine once a week and allow it to run for about 15 minutes. This will re-charge the battery and help keep the engine in good condition.
Oil - check oil levels and for any leaks.
Check windscreen wipers and screen wash
Coolant - is the level correct?
Damage - is there any damage to bodywork that might affect roadworthiness? If you're not sure ask for advice.
Dashboard - check for warning lights when the engine is running.
Rubber - are the tyres safe, correctly inflated and legal? Do you have a working spare or alternative solution in the vehicle?
Windscreen and mirrors - do you have clear all-round vision and is the glass damage free?