Running a classic car hire business is all about maintenance and vehicle availability. Our cars are used for major life events like birthdays and weddings as well as our own and customer events. Making the right car available is perhaps the key measure of success.
Maintenance is business critical for Great Escape Cars, which is why we invested in our own classic car workshop employing qualified, full time mechanics to maintain our fleet. We are the only classic car hire company to do this, but it’s the only way to guarantee fast turnaround, maintain a high quality fleet economically and, of course, minimise disappointments due to breakdowns. And yet, 100% reliability will never be possible with cars that are typically 40-50 years old.
Of course the nature of old cars and the difficulties in straight substitution mean that upsets are inevitable. When this happens customers get irate and the blame often gets laid at the door of ‘poor maintenance.’ So, in the interests of transparency, we’re publishing our maintenance and breakdown figures so that customers can analyse how reliable the cars are and what maintenance work we do.
Routine Servicing & Maintenance
Every car on the Great Escape Cars fleet is subject to a standard servicing and maintenance regime. Alongside the annual MOT the cars are serviced in line with manufacturer requirements. They’re also ramp checked before the start of every season and then at least once a month. Before every hire we conduct an 18-point safety and maintenance check and we despatch every car with a feedback form to record faults or issues. These are then logged and issues checked and rectified in our workshop.
At the end of every season each car is checked and reviewed. We use this to schedule major winter work and, where necessary, restorations. Most of our cars undergo full restorations, including resprays, every 3-4 years.
Our priority is to provide cars that are safe, comfortable and reliable. But some features, like clocks, may not work. And others, like heaters, may be as good as they were when the car was new – which is to say, not very.
Despite the work we put in, we ask customers to be realistic. These are hire cars that are typically driven 1,000 miles a week in the hands of many different drivers. Some damage and deterioration is inevitable and also impractical to repair mid-season. Thankfully most customers understand this.
Maintenance Record Here’s our maintenance record for each car for the last three years. It shows the hours we’ve invested in each car per year. Where there are spikes we’ve generally restored the car during that year.
Annual Mileage Our cars work hard and getting them to a point where they can reliably cover 1,000 miles a week takes time and experience. We generally expect new cars to take 1-2 years to ‘bed in’, which is why we don’t tend to change our fleet around that much.
Breakdowns When a car breaks down we are all disappointed. This table shows how often that happens over the course of a year – thankfully our breakdowns have reduced despite significant increases in vehicle utilisation. The main causes of breakdowns are flooding – old cars are highly prone to this unless the exact starting procedure is followed – and parts failure, often due to poor quality replacements that are the bane of classic car life.
How Your Hire Costs is Spent Maintenance is easily the most expensive part of running a classic car hire fleet. At least, it is if you want to get it right. Here’s how we spend the money we earn.
Running a classic car hire fleet – and maintaining it ourselves – has taught us a lot about old cars. It’s very different from running a classic as a weekend runaround and requires pre-emptive maintenance as well as skilled and knowledgeable staff. Their commitment enables our hire cars to cover over 120,000 miles a year with a breakdown rate of just 0.9% of hires.
You can find out more about what we do at www.greatescapecars.co.uk or call 01527 893733.
Graham Eason Great Escape Cars 01527 893733