SMR risks rise as car parc ages

Servicing, maintenance and repair (SMR) issues are likely to plague fleet managers and businesses throughout 2023 thanks to a “perfect storm” of ageing vehicles and grey fleet maintenance spend avoidance.

According to Prestige Fleet Servicing, the UK’s average vehicle age is projected to increase from 7.9 to 9.7 years by 2026, leaving 85% of models aged three-plus years and requiring an MOT.

Ageing vehicles require significantly higher maintenance investment than newer models, however, garages are reporting that fewer than 50% of customers are having advisory work done post MOT, with drivers most commonly swerving tyres, brakes and suspension maintenance.

Worryingly, this trend is starting to trickle through to essential repairs.

Penny Stoolman, managing director at Prestige Fleet Servicing, said: “The average vehicle age increase is worrying in and of itself – although of course not surprising given the impact the semiconductor shortage has had on supply. When this is coupled with the maintenance spend avoidance we are seeing emerge, it creates a perfect storm for businesses, especially those with grey fleets in place.”

Quentin Le Hetet, GiPA UK country director, added: “The cost-of-living crisis is worrying for many reasons. Across Europe, the UK is already the country where the most part-worn tyres are fitted. We expect to see more drivers drawn by the appeal of part-worn tyres. It’s important to remind all garages that it is also their responsibility to educate drivers about car repair and maintenance, and to offer safe choice to motorists.”