Many businesses are currently facing difficult financial times and it is essential to save wherever possible and one of those areas is in the wear and tear of fleets.

Fleet managers need to adopt a mindset where they aim to get the most out of what they have.

To do this, there are a few simple things one can do to reduce the wear on their current vehicles.

One way of doing this is by using the data you have on your drivers and vehicles properly.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says telematics data provides information on problematic braking, acceleration, coasting and cruising, which when rectified through training can result in savings as crashes are reduced and fuel efficiency increased.

“If data from telematics is used properly, it can have a significant impact on the regularity of repairs and vehicle lifespan. Use telematics data to identify areas in need of improvement then implement corrective measures to see cost-savings almost immediately.”

While bad driving techniques will vary between individuals, below are some of the most common errors and basic corrections:

Speed: sudden increases and decreases in speed not only consume up to 20% more fuel but reduce the lifespan of your fleet. Reducing the speed by 20 km/h can result in savings and longer vehicle lifespans.

Anticipation: looking 12 seconds ahead to anticipate traffic lights, pedestrians or other cars, that would normally necessitate a reduction in speed, will allow one to avoid coming to a complete stop. This reduces wear and tear on brakes and saves on fuel usage.

Vehicle technology: When used in the right circumstances cruise control can also assist in saving fuel. When driving on an open highway, engage cruise control to help you maintain a steady speed. It can, however, be worse on the vehicle if you use it on winding roads or in heavy traffic.

RPM: Keep your RPMs between 2 500 and 3 000 to get the best fuel efficiency. Not only will you burn less fuel but the engine is not working as hard which will avoid premature wear.

Idling: Contrary to popular belief, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your car. Rather switch off and restart while you unload goods or wait for someone. Research suggests fleets can save up to R50 000 a year by reducing unnecessary idle time.

Teaching your drivers these basic techniques and indicating where their weak points are can make a huge difference.