After an unseasonably mild autumn, winter is coming and temperatures are beginning to plummet across the country.
For drivers, cold weather means that breakdowns and accidents are more likely, which is particularly problematic if you rely on your van to run your business. Here at Commercial Vehicle Direct we’ve come up with a winter health check to help your van run smoothly through the cold months.
1) Windscreen wipers
You can expect to face rain, sleet and even snow and hail during winter driving, so keep your windscreen washer fluid topped up. Use a screenwash that protects in cold temperatures and regularly check that your wiper blades are in good condition so that you can keep your windscreen clear whatever the weather.
With roads covered in mud and grit, your lights are more likely to get dirty in the winter. Wipe them over before you set off each morning and check that they’re working properly.
3) Tyre pressure and tread
Check your tyres regularly to make sure you don’t have any punctures and they’re properly inflated. It’s also important that your van tyres have enough tread – like cars, vans must have a minimum of 1.6mm of tread, although 3mm is recommended in wintry conditions. Because they’re often carrying heavy loads, vans are particularly likely to suffer from worn-down wheels. Also, never forget your spare tyre.
Check whether your van’s radiators need topping up, and if they do use the right kind of antifreeze and carefully check how much water you should use to dilute it.
If you keep your fuel tank at least half full it will add weight to your van and help you to get more traction when the roads are icy.
A flat battery is one of the most common reasons for vehicle recovery call-outs. Flat batteries are even more likely in winter, partly because you’re using more energy to power your van’s lights, wipers and heaters.
Remember to turn off anything electrical when you get out of your van and if you’re taking a break from your business over Christmas then run your van’s engine a few times. If your battery’s not been used for a while, it may need to be recharged.
7) Emergency kit
Just in case you do get stranded due to poor weather conditions, have some warm clothes and blankets in the back of your van. It may be a good idea to carry other emergency supplies too, including a torch, a shovel and a de-icer.
8) Van insurance
However hard you work to keep your van running smoothly, we know that things can still go wrong. Commercial Vehicle Direct offer van insurance to tradesmen across the country, working with a 20-strong panel of insurers. We offer everything from comprehensive cover to third party-only policies. You can also add optional extras including breakdown cover, to make sure you’re not left out in the cold this winter.