As autumn disappears into the rearview mirror, heavy rain, snow, and ice are probably going to become part of daily life for the next few months. Temperatures will drop below freezing and you will have to wrap up to keep warm if you venture out. Your vehicles will feel the cold too, and there are a few things you can do to make sure your vehicles are prepared for winter.
The most sensible thing to do is to have your vehicles serviced before winter sets in. This will ensure that any repairs needed to keep your vehicles safe are dealt with before they are sliding around on ice and snow. Having your trucks or vans in a roadworthy condition is more vital at this time of year than any other. It’s crucial for the safety of your drivers and other road users.
Many parts are checked during a service, such as the radiator, belts, and hoses, to make sure they are not damaged in any way.
Engine Coolant, Fluids And Antifreeze
Your vehicles will freeze if they have no antifreeze in them, which can be fatal for the engine. This will be sorted automatically if your vehicles are serviced, but if not, you need to do this task yourself. There are kits available in most auto stores that can help you check your engine coolant and antifreeze levels, and if they are too low you should top them up immediately.
Some windscreen wiper fluids will freeze in winter conditions. They are designed for the spring and summer months, but as soon as the temperature drops they can turn to ice and make it difficult for a driver to see the road ahead. Make sure you use a washer fluid designed to cope with the colder weather so can do the job they should.
Your oil should also be changed to a winter grade oil, as this will help keep your engine running smoothly in the cold weather.
Ensuring your tyres are in good condition is always important, and it is illegal to take a vehicle on the road if they are not. In bad weather, poor tyres can result in nasty accidents more easily than in dry conditions. You should check the tread on every tyre to make sure it’s over the permissible limit, and make sure the pressures are correct too.
Tyres are not something you should only be aware of at the start of winter. Tyres should be given a quick visual check every time a vehicle is about to go on the roads. There could be a puncture or something else compromising the tyres integrity, and it should then be kept away from public highways until the tyre has been changed.
If your vehicles are serviced, the condition and pressure of your tyres will be checked. This does not mean you should not continue to check them, it just means they are good on the day of the service.
Many trucks and vans on the roads use diesel as their fuel. However, in extremely cold conditions the diesel can turn to a gel like substance, which is bad for your engine. The solution is to use winter blend fuels and to add anti-gel additives every time the tank is filled. Adding this additive, and using this type of fuel, will make it easier to start your trucks on a cold winter’s morning.
The most common cause of vehicles breaking down in the cold is a weak or dead battery. The cold weather will drain the life out of batteries more quickly, and diesel engines require a strong charge to be able to start. Generally, a battery will last somewhere between 48 and 72 months, and you will soon realise it’s weak when the vehicle becomes hard to start, or the headlights dim when the truck slows down.
Of course, the obvious answer is to replace the battery, but you must also check all the connections and mounting brackets to make sure they are fine as well.
Brake Pads And Shoes
Making sure your brakes are up to the job should be a priority. If they are too worn, they will not stop the vehicle when they should. It can be hard enough to stop a heavy truck on an icy road without the brakes not being up to standard. As part of having your vehicles serviced, the brake pads and shoes would be changed if required, and all the brake pipes and fluids will be put in order too.
It does not have to be the night for it to be quite dark during the winter months, overcast conditions and heavy rain can both make it dull and reduce visibility considerably. You need to make sure all your lights are working properly so your drivers can see the road ahead, and other road users can see them.
As with the tyres, this is something that should be checked before your trucks head out onto the public highway.
Use The Professionals
The best way to make sure your vehicle is in good condition for winter is to have it serviced by experts. At Rathcoole Commercial, our service team are experienced and reliable and can handle any size or model of vehicle. As a dealer alternative garage, we can also cut the costs of your servicing, which if you have several trucks and vans on the road, can be a significant amount. We can maintain your vehicles without voiding the warranty, so why not give us a call today.
You can chat to one of our team of experts on 01 969 5217, or simply complete our ‘Request Call Back’ form and we will be in touch as soon as we can. Don’t take the chance that your vehicles will get through the winter without a problem, they are crucial to your business and you need them to be kept roadworthy.