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Essential fleet maintenance checks for the winter season

When it comes to running a fleet of HGV’s or vans, you need to work hard to keep them all on the road, especially in the winter months. You need to make sure that you can satisfy all of your customers, whilst still maintaining the highest standards of safety, which means that there are a number of checks that you need to be making on a regular basis.

Here, FleetEx, specialists in ex fleet commercial vehicles, have put together a list of some of the most important things that you should be keeping an eye on during the colder weather.

Weather forecasts

We know that the weather in the UK can be changeable, but the forecasts are often fairly close to the mark, especially when it comes to weather extremes. Keep a close eye on the forecasts for your local area as well as all of the ones that you service to look out for anything that might cause difficulties or disruption. This allows you to plan around weather such as high winds, snow or ice and inform your customers in advance if you think that there might be any delays their deliveries.

Be prepared

Whilst we can keep a close watch on the forecasts, there are still things that can catch us out, so make sure that your fleet are ready for anything. Ensure that every vehicle has all of the equipment that they need, as well as warm clothing, gloves and winter footwear in case they are stranded or have to perform external checks of the vehicle. A good torch should be an essential in every cab, as should a stock of snacks and drinks in case of delays.

Visibility

When it comes to trucks, it is important to see and be seen. That is why all lights need to be thoroughly checked before setting off as well as wipers and de-misters. It is also important to check that windows, reflective markings, plates and mirrors are all free of snow and ice as this will also impact on visibility.

Tyres

Your tyres should be part of any vehicle safety check, but this is of particular importance in winter. Pay close attention to the tread depth and the pressure of your tyres to ensure that they have all of the grip that they need in cold weather and when braking in slippery conditions.

Anti-freeze

A good stock of anti-freeze is vital in the winter months. It needs to be topped up in every vehicle on a regular basis ensuring that it is done with the correct concentration for the engine of your vehicle.

Oil levels

Check the levels of oil in each vehicle every week using the dipstick and top it up whenever it seems low, as this can prevent the engine from seizing up.

Battery

The battery of your vehicle can suffer greatly in cold or damp weather so make sure that the health of your battery is checked using the appropriate equipment.

Communication

Make sure that every driver has a safe and effective way to communicate with you. This can be a life saver if they end up stuck or broken down but can also be an important tool when it comes to warning other drivers of traffic or difficult road conditions and allows them to find alternative routes if needed.

For a business that makes its money from the roads, the winter can be your worst enemy. That is why performing these checks can be the difference between making your deliveries or not, as well as the safety and wellbeing not just of your drivers but all other road users as well.

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