Christmas is coming and with it the cold winter conditions. Many tradesmen – plumbers, window cleaners, mechanics and builders work through the winter – life goes on. Make sure your not immobilised during the colder months by making you maintaining your van and keeping it running.
Check your batteries
One of the most common causes of breakdowns in the UK during the winter is batteries running flat. This can happen for a variety of reasons – lights being left on overnight etc. But the cold weather can also cause batteries to discharge. We suggest you check your battery levels now and throughout winter and, if they drop too low, replace the battery. When the engine is off use your van’s electric appliances sparingly and, if you do get a break for a few days over Christmas, make sure you take your van out for a drive every now and then to stop it standing idle too long.
Check your washer fluid
The winter months are when you need to use your washer fluid the most. Murky water mixed with grit gets flung up onto the windscreen and smeared across the window by your wipers, making it hard to see and creating a dangerous situation. Most screen wash mixtures come with some antifreeze added – enough so that it shouldn’t freeze when used neat, no matter how cold it gets. The screen wash bottle will likely tell you how concentrated it should be depending on the temperature outside.
Check your lights
With the winter comes darkness, rain and fog, making it all the more important for you to see and be seen on the road. You’ll want to check that your lights are working including you full beams, brake lights and fog lights. Light bulbs are cheap to replace, and if you are unsure replacing lights is a service offered by most garages.
Check your tyres
While the UK legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm deep we recommend at least 3mm deep in the winter. This is because treads that are less deep than this are considerably less grippy in snowy and icy conditions. For best results we recommend switching to winter tyres with wider, deeper grooves. You should also check your tyre pressure. It is true that in controlled environments slightly deflating the tyres will increase surface area in contact with the floor and thus increase grip, however at higher speeds this becomes dangerous. As cold air is denser a drop in temperature can effectively deflate your tyres. It is important to check this pressure and make sure it falls within the manufactures suggested range.
Check your oil levels
Oil thickens in the winter, and can do so to the point where your van won’t want to start at all. Check your owner’s manual. It will tell you what oil to use in the winter and how often you should be changing it.
Your visibility and your van’s handling grip and stopping power will invariably be worse in winter conditions, as will that of everyone else on the roads. Because of this we implore you to drive safely. Be mindful of the space around you, and of black ice. Be safe this Christmas.
Still not up and running?
If you’ve done all your checks and your van still won’t start, perhaps you need a new van? Check out our website for great deals on vans and treat yourself this Christmas.