Top 10 causes of commercial vehicle breakdowns

Commercial vehicles and fleets are the lifeblood of the UK economy, but many are putting their productivity at risk by failing to protect against being off road due to breakdown.

Data from the RAC’s technical analysis team shows there is a three-in-10 chance that commercial vehicles will break down on an annual basis.

Of the hundreds of thousands of business vehicles protected by the RAC, 31% are expected to suffer a breakdown this year, based on an analysis of call-outs in the first quarter of 2019.

The amount of time a business without pre-arranged breakdown cover in place would lose when one of its vehicles breaks down could range from an hour or two, to a full day lost. This would depend on how easy it is to get a mobile mechanic to attend or whether the vehicle would need to be transported to a garage for repair.

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The most common RAC business call-out relates to batteries, whether that’s simply a flat battery or one that’s reached the end of its life. In total battery issues equate to 18% of all RAC breakdown jobs for businesses.

Tyres are responsible for generating the second biggest volume of call-outs, making up 13% of all breakdowns. And, with many vehicles now not having a spare wheel, a significant number of these will be ‘puncture no spare’ jobs which would typically be very difficult for a business to get fixed without the support of a breakdown company.

Fortunately, the RAC is well equipped for this situation with every patrol carrying a ‘universal spare wheel’ designed to fit the majority of cars and vans on the road.

Clutch problems complete the top three most common business vehicle breakdowns seen by RAC patrols. While only 5% of RAC business call-outs relate to clutch faults they usually require recovery to a garage for repair.

According to RAC data based on call-outs during Q1 2019, the top ten reasons for breakdown are as follows:

Rank

Top RAC SME breakdown call-outs

%

1

Battery

18%

2

Tyres

13%

3

Clutch

5%

4

Alternator

4%

5

Engine mechanical

3%

6

Starter motor

3%

7

Fuel – diesel contamination

3%

8

ECU – engine management

2%

9

Road traffic accident

2%

10

Gearbox - manual

2%

 

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