Has the COVID 19 pandemic affected your fleet vehicles?

With the pandemic caused by the COVID-19 restrictions being lifted by many nations, the lasting effects of are starting to appear. The most pressing one is the safety of the vehicles in your fleet that have been idle due to the lockdowns and restrictions imposed on the business world in an attempt to stop the spread of this deadly virus. If you are now able to begin operation, make sure that you have contacted your broker and that your car fleet insurance is reactivated if it had been paused. 

How long can a vehicle sit idle and still be roadworthy?

Fleet vehicles in the business world are in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and engines. What they all have in common is the use of batteries, electrical systems, rubber and synthetic seals, tires and other components that are affected by non-use.

The exact time one of those systems becoming faulty is dependent on where the vehicles have been parked, the age of the vehicles and how well the vehicles were maintained before the garages were emptied of personnel who took care of them.

The first components to be affected by idle time are the batteries beginning at 2 weeks with less power followed by the tires and seals that could be damaged in a month.

Making fleet vehicles operational again

Once the lockdown and restrictions have been lifted in your area, the first step to mobilising your fleet vehicles is to inspect each one to ensure they are roadworthy.

  • Batteries can begin to lose their charge in as little as 2 weeks. The older the battery, the more likely a portion or all of the charge will have dissipated in the lockdown period. Batteries older than 3 years will likely need to be replaced.
  • Tires do not like sitting on an idle vehicle. Overnight and up to a week is okay, but 1, 2 or 3 months will cause damage. Air will leak out and the part of the tire that has contact with the hard surface it is parked on will become elongated. This will be a flat spot that might never return to its original shape, causing a vibration in the vehicle that could shake the vehicle, causing other components to fail.
  • Seals on the older vehicle could have dried out from the heat this summer, and lack of use could cause a rupture. Oil seals could be affected, but the most worrisome seals will be on the braking systems. These will have higher pressures and when they fail can cause an accident. Power steering seals will also be put under high pressure, so do not forget about them.
  • Wildlife is also a concern. With the absence of humans, the animals have come into places they would never venture to because humans were there. While most will not cause damage to the vehicle, the smallest one like insects will lead to problems. Insects and small animals like dark enclosed areas for safety purposes. On fleet vehicles, the most commonplace for insects to hold up in are the ventilation systems. Another favourite place is the intake ducts for the engine.
  • The oils in the engines and transmissions should also be changed. From months of being idle, condensation will have formed and only changing it will get rid of it before it does damage.

Getting your motor of van fleet operational again will require the maintenance departments doing inspections. You should also be ready for having to wait on necessary parts because the supply chain has been negatively affected by the pandemic. Also, remember to reactivate your commercial fleet insurance that was put on hold due to the fleet being idle. 

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