Average off-road times for fleet vehicles have dramatically increased in the last few years, according to new research.

The data has been released by the fleet technology solutions provider Epyx, and uses statistics compiled from its 1link Service Network platform. Since the pandemic, vehicle off-road times (VOR) for service, maintenance and repair has increased in almost every region of the UK. The longest average downtime is Northern Ireland, at 2.40 days, and the shortest is the North West, at 1.82 days.

In Scotland VOR times have increased from 1.96 days in 2020 to 2.39 days in 2023.

What are the reasons for these major VOR increases? Shortages in components, parts and the supply of new vehicles are the main factors, extending replacement cycles, meaning that vehicles are remaining on the road for longer. The older the vehicle, the harder it is to get spare parts.

“It is interesting to see how VOR across the UK varies quite dramatically, with a difference of nearly a day between the longest and shortest”, said Tim Meadows, chief commercial officer at Epyx. “For fleets that rely on a high level of utilisation, that is a relatively significant period of time.”

“Obviously, these figures are very much a reflection of local supply and demand for service and maintenance – as well as the impact of ongoing issues such as parts shortages – but they also mean that there are potential opportunities for national fleets to steer their SMR buying towards areas where VOR times are shorter in an effort to minimise the issue.”

“There is quite a lot of managerial effort being placed on containing these SMR waiting times as much as possible”, said Meadows.