Not only will proper maintenance of your van keep you safe for the long miles on the road, it will also increase the value, if you ever need to sell it.
Doing simple maintenance tasks can prevent larger issues developing, helping you to avoid unwanted visits to the garage and saving you time and money. So, here are Moneybarn’s top tips for keeping your van road-ready…
A van’s tyres need to be checked more often than a car, as the extra weight of a van and its contents means more burden on tyres. Too little pressure increases wear and tear, but too much pressure increases the chance of a blow-out, so aim to check tyres once a fortnight to ensure they are safe and performing well.
Tyres must be correctly inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s specification for the weight of the load. Refer to your handbook to check you have the right pressure for your van. Tyres at the right pressure will also be more efficient, saving you money on fuel and helping the environment.
Look under the bonnet
You should check fluids, including oil and coolant levels, are sufficiently topped up once a week. Low oil levels can break an engine completely, leading to a highly costly replacement. It’s also illegal to drive without at least minimal levels of fluids.
Pay special attention to transmission fluids and brake fluids; if they are going down quicker than they should be, you may have a dangerous leak.
Check your battery
It’s particularly important to check your battery in the winter, as cold weather can have a negative impact on battery life. If your battery is not fully charged, or it has been adversely affected by the cold, there is the increased chance of stalling or your van not starting at all.
While you are checking the battery, look at the cables and terminals for worrying signs like cracks or breaks. If you spot any, make sure you take your van to the garage to get these looked at by a professional.
Don’t forget your MOT
Once your van is three years old, it needs an MOT by law. The test ensures your vehicle meets the minimum acceptable environmental and road safety standards. Not only is it dangerous to not have an MOT, you also can’t get your vehicle taxed without one, which could invalidate your insurance.
Aesthetics are everything
Although keeping your van clean won’t help its performance, it could reduce the chances of rust appearing and increase the potential resale value. If you’re using your van for business, keeping it clean and well-presented will also help your public image.
It’s often unrealistic to keep the interior of a van spotless, especially if your profession means dirty clothes and shoes. However, you should still take precautions to minimise damage, such as seat protectors to ensure the van’s condition is preserved as much as possible.
Let there be light
Not only is it dangerous to have a broken light, it is also against the law. Lights are an essential safety feature and should be checked regularly and any broken bulbs replaced immediately.
Vans are particular susceptible to collecting dust and dirt which can affect the performance of your lights, so make sure you clean them regularly as well.
By Martin Cariven, Field Sales Manager, Moneybarn