Increasing fleet van lifecycles are causing a rise in associated SMR costs, according to ATS Euromaster.

The maintenance firm said that with a lack of vehicle availability currently affecting replacement cycles, fleets needed to budget for higher costs due to vans running beyond the date they would normally be replaced.

It said there had been a 17% increase on spending in the first quarter of 2022, compared with pre-pandemic figures.

ATS Euromaster operations director Mark Holland said: “The SMR rise is down to the additional work that is required rather than actual cost, although that may change again as inflationary pressures begin to take hold.

“We’re seeing vans being run for longer than average lifecycles and double-shifted so the mileage and wear is increasing substantially. Meanwhile many of the vans we see at centre are from self-employed last mile delivery drivers who are driving up and down kerbs and so on, all day every day. In turn this means greater costs with wheel alignment, shock and suspension work and damaged tyres on a more regular cycle.”

In line with the extended lifecycles, ATS Euromaster says it has seen increase demand for consumables such as brake discs, pads and fluid, and for wheel alignment, puncture repair, and shock and suspension maintenance.

Holland continued: “We’re seeing an increase for emergency and same day service. And that’s simply because fleets have not kept their vehicles in tip top condition and preventative maintenance has disappeared.

“Drivers think they can just drop their van into our service centres for emergency attention. Whilst I would love that we could service every request ‘there and then’, it is not simply possible 100% of the time. At the moment we’re seeing an increase in drive-ins as well as forward maintenance bookings via a variety of channels such as the website or third-party partners.

“So, I’d urge all fleets managers and drivers to think ahead to ensure their vans receive proper SMR attention before it becomes a critical failure leading to that worst scenario of all – vehicle downtime and cost.”