Fleet operators that fail to take into account the cost of replacing diesel exhaust fluid for their vehicles when calculating maintenance and repair budgets could be in for a costly surprise down the line, according to Derwent Management Services (DMS). The fluid, otherwise known to fleet managers as AdBlue _ which is in fact a commercial trademark _ is used to treat vehicle exhaust gases and ensure fleets meet and exceed stringent exhaust emissions standards. Although replacement diesel exhaust fluid was first introduced to heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) the fluid is now used within most light commercial fleets and many cars too. Nevertheless, automotive industry data provider DMS indicates that not all manufacturers make a note of the cost of topping up the diesel exhaust fluid tank or the alternative cost of a 'clean and drain' service. Both car and light commercial vehicles boast diesel exhaust fluid tank capacities ranging between 18 and 31 litres and with fluid costing around £1.10 per litre, businesses could be stung with unexpected charges for fleet vehicles post-service. Steve Chambers, research director for DMS, said: "Topping-up the diesel exhaust fluid tank could cost at least £20 per company car or van per service once labour charges have been applied. But most motor manufacturers are not highlighting either the cost of the fluid, additional labour or the tank capacity in their published SMR calculations. "In many cases, fleet managers only discover the additional cost when the vehicle has been serviced and it is highlighted on the related bill." The typical fleet vehicle undergoes up to three services during its life as a company car or van which could amount to £60 per vehicle at a most conservative estimate. "In many cases it is a hidden cost for fleet managers and therefore an unbudgeted one. On an 100-vehicle fleet with each model undergoing three services the additional SMR cost could amount to £6,000 and possibly more," added Chambers. Cost management is something that fleet operators have to keep a close rein on in the current precarious financial climate. At IT Fleet Automotive we provide a transparent fleet appraisal and refurbishment service with a detailed condition report complete with fully costed damage and repair estimates to keep you firmly in the loop. If you wish to take advantage of our industry leading fleet appraisal facilities then don't hesitate to contact our friendly team today on 01473 313057 or get in touch online using our online contact form.