Although vehicle maintenance costs are reducing in real terms year-on-year, repair costs for some fleets are on the rise due to driver abuse and 'unfair' wear and tear, according to ARI. Effective driver and tyre management is the key to keeping a lid on repair bills according to the firm. Geoffrey Bray, chairman of ARI Fleet UK, said: "Drivers are the biggest influence on maintenance costs. Manage drivers effectively and unforeseen maintenance costs resulting from a failure to care for a valuable piece of equipment will reduce. "Tyre replacement, for example, costs fleets a fortune, but frequently that is down to the driver not regularly checking pressure levels and for signs of uneven tread wear. "Fleet managers must adopt a zero tolerance approach to vehicle maintenance. That means managing drivers and changing attitudes, and the result will be reduced maintenance bills." A comparison between the costs of a Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6 S five-door 30 years ago and today's equivalent, an Insignia 1.4 T SE hatchback, found that maintenance costs were significantly reduced now in relation to the initial purchase price. The Cavalier 1.6 S _ a fleet favourite at the time _ cost £6,932 and over a three-year 60,000 mile contract average maintenance costs totalled £1,620; almost a quarter (23 per cent) of the purchase price. Today's equivalent over the same operating cycle is calculated to have maintenance costs at £1,910, just eight per cent of the purchase price. After taking 2.5 per cent per annum inflation into account, the Cavalier's maintenance costs at 2012 prices totalled £114 per month _ double the cost of the Insignia's. "Vehicles are highly technical and efficient machines. But if they are not maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations and drivers ignore dashboard warning lights in relation to topping up fluid levels or service reminders then fleets pay the price," added Bray. "Vehicle maintenance is not optional. It is an absolute essential to meet warranty terms; from a vehicle performance/efficiency standpoint; the corporate requirement to meet at-work driving duty of care regulations and best practice; to maintain an employer's image; and to safeguard a model's residual value." Enhancing residual values of fleet vehicles is something we are extremely focused on doing here at IT Fleet Automotive. We use our considerable industry expertise and fleet refurbishment technology to provide customised solutions to drive quality remarketed vehicles forward. If you are looking to refurbish your existing fleet to a high standard then why not call our friendly team today on 01473 313057 and see what IT Fleet Automotive can do for you.