Vehicle off road times on the rise as average age continues to rise

Protective eyeglasses on top of kit with spare parts and handtools for repair and checkup work of cars against repairman

According to new data from Epyx, vehicle off road times—the interval of time between when a car or van enters a workshop and is eventually repaired—have grown.

The average was 1.91 days in 2023 as opposed to 1.74 days in 2022 and 1.63 days in 2021.

The average time from the creation of a company car or van booking to the vehicle’s scheduled maintenance has increased, according to data from Epyx’s 1link Service Network platform, which is used by vehicle operators operating over four million units to manage and process SMR.

It has risen from 11.87 days in 2021 to 12.92 in 2022 to 13.74 in 2023.

According to Epyx, the increases are being driven by the fleet cars and vans’ average age, which is rising.

The average age of a fleet vehicle at the moment of service or repair for the entire year of 2018 was 3, as opposed to 2.86 in 2022, 2.74 in 2021, 2.55 in 2020, and 2.40 in 2019.

Accordingly, vans’ ages in 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, and 2019 were 3.58, 3.39, 3.25, and 3.03 years old.

Tim Meadows, chief commercial officer at Epyx, said: “What is perhaps surprising in looking at our statistics, bearing in mind that vehicle supply has improved substantially, is that the rate of ageing does not appear to be slowing and is still increasing for both cars and vans.

“It’s clearly going to take some time for this metric to stabilise and start to fall.”

According to Meadows, the practical operations of vehicles are affected by this ageing fleet.

“Older vehicles, especially those with higher mileages, will always tend to need more SMR,” he said. “They especially have an increased propensity for major components to fail, such as gearboxes. This is not just expensive, but means cars and vans spend more time in workshops, unavailable for use.”

He continued: “Because fleet vehicles are generally needing more SMR as they age, there is more downtime. Again, this is just an unavoidable effect of operating ageing cars and vans.

“It also means providers of SMR are under pressure to meet the needs of these older fleets. It is a question of an increased degree of demand meeting a level of capacity that is largely unchanged, and lead times are continuing to rise.”

He noted that in order to get the most usage and value out of older fleet assets, all of these findings highlighted the necessity for fleets to proactively review their SMR plans on a regular basis.

“Fleets are very much in a position where the cost of parts and labour is rising, while their need for SMR is also increasing thanks to these ageing fleets,” said Meadows.

“We’re engaged in ongoing conversations with many of our customers about the best ways that our technology can be used to minimise spending in this area as much as possible and there are many interesting and effective measures being put in place.”

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