If a week is a long time in politics, five years can be an eternity in the development of car technology. It's moving at a breathtaking pace. Features that once seemed unimaginably advanced, such as blind spot detection and adaptive cruise control will soon be standard equipment on even the cheapest vehicles.
If you run a business then it pays to keep up-to-date with the latest vehicles, not just because you're missing out on the latest features on offer, but because those older vehicles will be costing you more than they should.
But how do you know when it's time for them to go? Well there are five clear signs telling you when it's time to upgrade your company vehicles.
1. They're older than 5 years
New car warranties are a lot longer than they used to be. It may be hard to believe now, but for a long time a 12-month warranty was the norm for new cars. Now it's as long as 7 years in the case of Kia, with 5 years rapidly becoming the new normal for other carmakers.
Those longer warranties are a sure sign of a general improvement in build quality across the board. They're great news for business buyers because you have the reassurance that if something goes wrong in that time it's not your problem. After that you're on your own, of course. So if you're out of warranty you could be up for much higher costs should things go "pear-shaped" with your vehicle.
In most cases if your car is older than five years it's out of warranty, which means more expenses and higher risks should something go wrong. Upgrading it at that stage is just good business sense.
2. More than 100,000 kms
When your car goes over the 100,000 kilometres mark it's entering "motoring middle age", which means it's going to start costing you more in maintenance costs.
True, it may be far from "over the hill" with a lot of years left in it, but it's going to be an increasing financial burden on your business. How much more is it going to cost you? Well roughly 30% more according to all the best data on fleet management.
So if the clock has ticked over the six-figure mark it's another sure sign that it's time to upgrade.
3. Severe cosmetic damage
Minor dings and scratches in cars are a normal part of motoring, albeit an annoying one. They're usually nothing to worry about but when cosmetic damage becomes severe it can be a much bigger problem than mere annoyance.
For starters there's the damage a battered and bruised vehicle covered with your branding does to your image. It's really not a good look.
Worse than that, however, severe cosmetic damage can actually be dangerous. Paint that's been knocked off can lead to rust which can weaken the structural integrity of a car if left long enough. Severely dented bumpers can lose their ability to absorb impacts in a collision. Badly dented doors can damage the locking mechanism, making it dangerous in a crash.
For all these reasons severe cosmetic damage is a very good reason to upgrade your vehicle.
4. Outdated safety features
Today's gee-whizz high-tech safety feature on prestige cars is tomorrow's standard equipment on everyone's average set of wheels. In recent years all cars have become dramatically safer as features like active brake assistance, lane departure warnings and auto emergency braking become the norm.