How To Keep Your Van Moving This Winter
When it gets to this time of year and temperatures drop, everyone rushes to make sure the central heating is working properly at home, but one thing that can sometimes get overlooked is a quick maintenance check of our vehicles. We all want to remain safe on our journeys and return to the nice warm homes we have. So let’s take a minute to try and make sure that we don’t find ourselves out in the cold, by the side of the road waiting for assistance, because we didn’t afford our cars and vans the same comfort checks that we made at home.
Fluid levels should be checked all year round. Oil, brake and steering fluids of course, but extra important for the winter checks are your radiator and screen wash fluids, when you should be sure to introduce a measured dose of anti-freeze to proceedings. A lot of year round screen washes are readily and cheaply available these days and many come pre-mixed to the correct dilution, saving you the trouble of having to find a water source to keep yourself moving. One fluid that can get missed though is the battery fluid, most modern batteries no longer require the need to be topped up with distilled water, but don’t get caught out if yours does. It is important if your battery needs refilling occasionally that the electrolyte levels are regularly checked, as when it is cold is when power will drain away from the cells the quickest, especially with that heater going full tilt.
Tyres are a year round key to a safe driving experience, but once again it’s worth focussing on them a little more come the cold snaps. The tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road, unless of course you still haven’t gotten that exhaust fixed. So it’s crucial they are not only roadworthy but also YOU worthy. Make sure to aid your own safe driving by making regular air pressure checks and ensuring there’s a suitable amount of tread to keep you attached to the road when things get slippery out there.
The need for caution
If snow falls, things undoubtedly look pretty for a while but the roads quickly get more perilous as the white snow turns to grey slush and if your wiper blades are not up to the job you’ll soon know about it. A quick check when stationary by squirting some screen wash will let you know if the wipers are effectively clearing your view for the road ahead, if not get them changed.
Furthermore at this time of year we should all allow a little extra time when leaving for that first drive of the day, as it takes both you and your vehicle a little longer to get going. Unless you are actually driving a tank you should never be heading off looking through a letterbox of visibility, so wait those extra moments until your windscreen is clear of ice/snow before setting off. And as tempting as it is never ever use a kettle of hot water to speed the process along, for you will crack your windscreen.
The final precaution when snow has been heavy, especially for van drivers, which might mean you getting your hands cold unless you pre-prepared with gloves and a good scraper, is to ensure your roof is free from snow before setting off. Otherwise as soon as you get moving and the heater starts to warm you up inside, that snow on top is going to move, forwards, backwards or sideways. So don’t catch yourself or other motorists out with a sudden and unexpected avalanche, it doesn’t take long to stay safe!
Brief – Van maintenance tips for winter, fun and readable. Required key words – anti-freeze, battery, battery fluid.
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