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Unplanned downtime can wreak chaos on your business, run up expenses and compromise the safety of your staff. So, when you rely heavily on your fleet, it’s essential that your vehicles stay up and running. 

The secret to success? Consistent and thorough van maintenance. In this article, we’ll explore proactive measures and practical tips to ensure you’re always one step ahead of potential issues that arise. 


Why is Regular Van Maintenance Important?

Vehicle upkeep can feel like a chore, but the perks speak for themselves. Explore the advantages below:

Economic Benefits:

Regular maintenance reduces repair costs and the price of resolving breakdowns. Lesser considered benefits include the impact on your annual insurance and improved fuel consumption. Both of these consequences put more money in your back pocket. 

Peace of Mind: 

As part of targeted roadside checks, the DVSA stops around 15,600 vans for spot checks per year. The DVSA estimates that these stops can cost owners and operators a shocking amount of up to £4,000 per day, per vehicle.

By adhering to regulations, you improve road safety and comply with the law – so any surprise spot checks thrown your way will be a breeze.

Avoid Downtime:

While some mechanical issues are inevitable, nipping them in the bud as soon as possible prevents severe problems that could see your van off the road. 

Unplanned VOR (vehicle-off-road) time can significantly disrupt your business. Instead, keep on top of maintenance to keep work flowing, meet commitments and ensure customer satisfaction.


Your Van Maintenance Checklist 

Follow this checklist to ensure your van stays roadworthy.

Check if the Van is Suitable

Ensure your van is safe and secure and meets your needs before you hit the road. Consider capacity, size, load capability, and necessary equipment. If your current setup falls short, it could be time to upgrade your fleet. 

​​Explore vehicles fitted with features for enhanced control, such as the tail lifts on our Luton vans or tow bars on our Dropside vans. We can also provide additional outfitting upon request. 

Inspect Lights Regularly

You are legally obliged to ensure the van’s lights are working correctly, so thoroughly inspect the following areas:

  • Taillights and brake lights.
  • High and low beams.
  • Turn signals.
  • Reverse lights.
  • Licence plate illumination.

Turn on the lights and inspect the van by walking around it. Replace any faulty bulbs, and if there’s an issue with the wiring, prioritise a visit to the garage as soon as possible.

Keep Oil and Fluids Topped Up

Oil plays a crucial role in engine function, reducing friction and heat. Refer to your van’s handbook to find the manufacturer’s recommended oil change frequency, and consider keeping spare oil in your van for emergencies.

Ensure other essential fluids in your van are topped up, including: 

  • Power steering fluid.
  • Brake fluid.
  • Screenwash. 
  • Transmission fluid.
  • Antifreeze.

Look After the Wheels

Inspect the tyres regularly, as the demands on commercial vehicles are intense. Some of the most common wheel-related checks include:

  • Inspect the tyre pressure.
  • Visually examine for cuts or bulges in the tyre. 
  • Ensure proper wheel alignment.
  • Maintain emergency spare tyres. 

You should also assess the tread depth. The legal minimum in the UK is 1.6mm, but replace tyres before reaching this limit to avoid substantial fines.

Test The Battery 

Mitigate starting issues, delays, and expensive roadside assistance by routinely testing your van’s battery.  This precaution is especially crucial when the vehicle is left stationary for an extended period or during winter months.

Consider equipping your van with a trickle charger or emergency jump leads to reduce the risk of downtime. 

Maintain the Windscreen and Mirrors 

Visibility is paramount on the roads. Inspect your windscreen and mirrors for cracks, chips or other obstructions and deal with any issues immediately. Other areas to pay attention to include:

  • The window control system.
  • The wiper system.
  • Both driver and passenger side mirrors.

Don’t Skip the Interior

Ensure the interior of your van is well-maintained, comfortable and functioning as it should. Key areas to focus on include checking the air conditioning for re-gassing and ensuring proper seat belt functionality. 

Additional interior features to pay attention to include the following:

  • The angle and condition of inside mirrors.
  • Check if the horn is working and if it’s loud enough.
  • Confirm the proper functioning of all gauges, including fuel and speedometer. 

Strategies for Enforcing Van Maintenance

Explore strategies to integrate into your business operations, making van maintenance second nature.

  • Encourage drivers to form a habit of daily walkaround checks of their van to detect issues early on.
  • Keep detailed repair records to track vehicle history and optimise future upkeep.
  • Adopt software such as Ford Pro Telematics to monitor vehicle health and detect real-time issues.
  • Conduct pre-MOT inspections to ensure vehicles pass tests, avoiding unplanned off-road time.


Request a Quote and Enhance Performance

Are you looking to upgrade your fleet? The VanDemand team has years of experience and a clear understanding of commercial vehicle needs. Share your specifications with us, and we’ll deliver the solution.

Enquire by calling 0845 646 5646 or emailing info@vandemand.com; we’ll happily assist.

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