• August 26, 2022

  • Abby Nuttall

  • Articles

We know that when you have a fleet of vehicles then one part of managing this fleet is knowing when it’s time to update them. This isn’t always a straightforward or simple process so we wanted to give you some of our best advice and practices to help you know when is the best time to update your fleet.  

Things to Consider When Upgrading Your Fleet Vehicles

First, we want to take a look at things to consider when deciding if a vehicle or even the entire fleet needs to be updated. These are the main factors we think you should be thinking of when deciding on the right time for you to upgrade to a new vehicle.

Age of the Vehicle

The age of a vehicle can be a major indicator of it being time to replace it.

A general rule of thumb for businesses is that if a car is older than five years old then it might be time to consider replacing it. This is because by this point the vehicle will be out of warranty and likely experiencing enough wear and tear that maintenance costs are much more than when you first got the vehicle.

Most manufacturer’s warranties will last between three and five years so by the time you reach the five year mark it will be out of warranty and any mechanical fault will no longer be covered by this meaning there could be higher repair costs because of this as well.

Additionally in the current climate, where the entire industry is shifting towards electric vehicles we’re seeing a lot of change in the technology used in them over the course of a relatively short period change vehicles every five years or so will not only keep you up to date with the latest in design and interior tech but also in hybrid and electric vehicle (EV) technology.

Mileage on the Clock

Another factor that can be an indication of needing a new car is the mileage on the clock. Once a vehicle has travelled over 100,000 miles we recommend looking at it to see if it’s time to replace the car or van.

Depending on its usage this may come before or after the five year mark so we recommend using it as an additional indicator rather than choosing one and sticking with that.

The more miles a vehicle has covered the more wear it will have making maintenance and repair costs likely to be higher.

Vehicle Condition

Another factor to consider is the vehicle’s condition. If it’s a trade van or vehicle that covers a lot of ground then some minor bumps, scratches and cosmetic damage are to be expected but if there is more significant damage then not only could this be costly to repair but it could also lead to additional costs. If it’s not repaired swiftly it may cause further damage, the vehicle being off-road may cost you in terms of having to source a replacement vehicle or loosing profits due to the off-road vehicle and a damaged fleet, especially if it’s branded for your business may lead to a lower perception of your company by those who see the cars.

For some specialist vehicles such as a fridge van the condition of specialist equipment like the refrigeration unit will also need to be looked at and the ongoing maintenance and repair costs for these to be considered.

Outdated Technology

We’ve briefly mentioned it when talking about the age of the vehicle but another major factor should be whether the technology in the vehicle is still relevant or it has become outdated.

This includes things like new infotainment systems, sat navs and driver convenience systems that might not seem like essentials for you. These systems make driving easier for your drivers, which not only means they’ll enjoy being in the car more but will also help them be better drivers.

Switching to Electric Vehicles

One thing to consider with the ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles in under 10 years is that you may want to be making the switch to EVs soon in order to allow your drivers to get used to the adjustments they may require in driving and lifestyle, due to charging needs and in order for your business to set up the necessary supporting infrastructure.

It’s important that when transitioning to an electric fleet you consider your responsibilities towards your employees in terms of providing adequate chargers for them to use while at your business premises. Offering charging solutions at work can be an incentive for your employees to take up EVs as some might not be able to charge at home and we definitely think it’s a worthwhile investment.  For more information on why you should be investing in EV charging infrastructure read this.

You might want to take a look at our recent article on the savings EVs offer for your fleet for more information on how this move could save your business money. Additionally, an EV will save your employees money if they are taking a company car and pay company car tax on this.

When’s the Right Time to Get New Fleet Vehicles?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. It’s up to you to decide when the right time for your individual business needs is to update your fleet vehicles but we do have a few tips to help make the decision making process a little easier for you. 

When looking at replacing a vehicle we recommend asking yourself six questions:

  • Is the vehicle over five years old?
  • Does it have more that 100,000 miles on the clock?
  • Does it have any damage?
  • Does it have any significant damage?
  • Does it have out of date technology?
  • Is it a petrol or diesel engine with a high fuel consumption?

If you answered yes for the majority of these questions then it’s time to upgrade! If it’s a mixture of yes and no then you should take a closer look at the vehicle and whether this needs to be replaced as part of a wider fleet policy. If it was mainly no’s then you probably aren’t ready to update this vehicle yet.

Five Tips for Upgrading Your Fleet

1. Spread it out – don’t rush to upgrade everything at once instead spread the cost and timing by taking the fleet in sections, this will also reduce the burden further down the line with things like tax and MOT not all being due at once as well.

2. Look at different funding methods – while the old school thinking is that purchasing a vehicle so you have an asset on the books can be beneficial it’s not always the best choice. Leasing is becoming increasingly popular among our fleet management customers as it allows you to update the fleet every few years for minimal cost and fuss.

3. Think about fuel – with the rising cost of petrol and diesel and a general move towards electric vehicles consider having a mixture of fuel types to gradually transition your fleet to an EV one so you’re not making a big switch all at once but are diversifying and reducing your fuel bill.

4. Don’t forget to factor in the other associated costs – will you be including maintenance agreements to better budget for servicing and maintenance costs, how much will the tax cost on particular models and who’s paying it, when will the MOT first be due and what will the insurance be on the vehicle? These are all questions you should know the answers and costs to.

5. Be prepared to answer questions – no matter when and how you decide to upgrade your fleet you should be prepared to answer questions from your staff about the process. We recommend that you have a plan in place for the updates and all members of your fleet team are up to speed on the plan and how it will be rolled out so that they can answer questions. You might also want to produce a document with some FAQs and answers or send out an email advising on the changes and how your employees may be affected.

How Wessex Fleet Can Help Update Your Fleet

If you’re thinking about updating your fleet then we can help with every aspect of this, from planning through to procuring the vehicles and managing their in life care. Please get in touch with us on 01722 322 888 for more information on this.


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