The number of daily rental vehicles being offered to fleets with safety issues appears to be rising, according to the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).

The industry body says it is hearing reports from members being provided with hire cars and vans in unacceptable mechanical condition, with the situation appearing to be deteriorating.

Paul Hollick, APF chair, said: “This was a subject recently raised by our Mega Fleets Committee and appears to be a wider problem across the AFP. Essentially, we’re seeing hire vehicles being delivered to fleets that are not in a roadworthy condition.

“While this has always happened occasionally, there is a perception that the condition of hire vehicles is becoming noticeably poorer, although it appears to be a situation that appears to be affecting some hire companies more often than others.”

Hollick said many of the issues seemed to be arising from both poor long-term maintenance, with vehicles breaking down being found to have a range of outstanding fault codes, as well as others being delivered with more immediate and easily apparent problems.

The AFP said the problem could be due to the pandemic when many daily rental businesses embarked on massive disposal programmes but then experienced an immediate surge in demand once working practices returned to more normal levels. Due to production shortages, many bought from all kinds of sources, including used vehicles.

“Largely, these are the cars and vans now seen on daily rental fleets, with many on 20 plates or older, which may explain the reason why issues surrounding condition are arising,” added Hollick.

“Our advice to fleets experiencing problems of this type is first of all to ensure that you don’t drive the vehicle and report it to the rental company. You then need to have serious conversations with your suppliers and if you are not satisfied with the answers, to look for new options.”