Cutting costs or cutting corners?

Industry ombudsman urges van drivers not to ignore regular servicing and safety checks to save costs


Commercial vehicle owners are reducing their spending on regular and even occasional vehicle maintenance as they attempt to find ways to save expenses during the current cost-of-living crisis.

A new report from automotive regulator The Motor Ombudsman has revealed that a combination of increased cost of living, record inflation levels and soaring fuel costs has led to a huge reduction in the number of both car and van drivers opting out of regular vehicle maintenance.

The industry group says that 71% of garages and workshops taking part in its recent survey have seen motorists reduce their spending on both routine and unscheduled maintenance and repairs when compared with the first six months of last year.

Cut backs

When garage and service centre owners were questioned about what drivers had specifically skipped since the start of 2022 in terms of vehicle maintenance, nine out of ten (91%) said that they had cut back on taking their van in for its annual service.

Additionally, more than half of the garages questioned (58%) said that demand had dropped for the topping-up of fluids, such as oil and air conditioning coolant, with 55% reporting a fall in bookings for the replacement of wear and tear components such as tyres, brake discs and wiper blades, when compared with the volume seen between January and June 2021.

“Even in these challenging times, it is important motorists keep their vehicle both roadworthy and legal at all times, and that any maintenance is carried out by a business that is accredited to The Motor Ombudsman’s comprehensive Motor Industry Code of Practice for Service and Repair,” says Bill Fennell, chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman.

“This will give consumers the added of peace of mind that a vehicle repairer will deliver high standards of work and service.”

Safety first

Even though service intervals are lengthy in modern vans, with possibly as much as 20,000 miles between scheduled checks, it’s still vital to carry out regular safety checks yourself – especially if you are putting off going to a qualified garage or dealer for as long as possible.

At the very least, check in and around your van at least once a week for:

  • Damaged wheels or tyres
  • Blown lightbulbs or cracked lenses
  • Unusual or unexpected fluid on the road, which could mean a leak
  • Chipped or cracked windscreen or side glass
  • Correct oil levels
  • Full windscreen washer reservoir
  • Body damage
  • Electrical equipment all in working order
Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.

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