5 common issues that can cause a breakdown

The constant threat of a breakdown is enough to keep any fleet manager up at night. 

With drivers spending a large amount of time on the roads, and with fleet vehicles continuously clocking up the mileage, there's no wondering why breakdowns happen.

However, many managers may be interested to know 'how' these incidents occur - or at least the most common ones.

Recent information collected by the AA shines a light on the subject. Here are the five most common reasons for vehicle breakdown.

1) Faulty or flat battery - If drivers are constantly making short journeys, the engine is not finding enough time to recharge the battery. According to the AA, this is the most common cause of vehicle breakdown. Other battery issues can be worn or corroded terminals or clamp connections. Alternatively, an old battery could simply have lost voltage. Be sure to check your fleet's batteries regularly to prevent what could be costly delays.

2) Lost keys - Not really a breakdown, per se - although the AA listed it as the second most common problem - lost car keys can dramatically slow down a fleet and cause a backlog of work that needs to be caught up on. Scheduling is often everything to a fleet manager, and time wasted trying to find lost keys can often mean more drivers hit rush hour traffic later on. Secure key distribution can remove this issue.

3) Flat or damaged tyres - Fleet vehicles can be notorious for burning rubber. Large amounts of time spent on the road can erode tyres and lower their grip levels. Meanwhile, tyres can rather easily become damaged from driving over debris or hitting curbs. A fleet manager should be sure to check tyre pressure and tread depth regularly and ensure parking spots are free of any sharp objects.

4) Alternator faults - A damaged or faulty alternator shouldn't be too difficult to diagnose, but will need to be treated right away. If you are losing battery power quickly, this could be one of the reasons. Symptoms to look out for include dimming headlights, rising engine temperatures and (the most obvious sign of all) a red warning light on the dashboard.

5) Fuel management - Even cars with good fuel consumption can run out sometimes. A fleet manager will need to manage how often drivers fill up to help prevent them running dry while out on a job. Another problem that the AA pointed out is people putting the wrong fuel into a car - which 150,000 individuals do, the recovery experts said. If your drivers are constantly changing between petrol and diesel cars, consider using some form of warning note on the inside of the filler cap to help prevent this embarrassing, and costly, incident.