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Buying a Work van is a big investment, so it makes sense to look after it. Mark Barclay from GSF Car Parts shares his advice for electricians who want to keep their vehicle in good shape and make the money that they've spent on it go further.
We can't do most jobs without a vehicle, so it's vital that you take good care of your work van. Repairs and replacements can be expensive and driving a van that wouldn't pass an MOT can also result in fines, costing you more money. Using vehicles that aren't roadworthy can even lead to driving bans, putting you out of pocket while you can't work. Here are some top tips for keeping your van in fine working order for longer, to reduce the risk of additional costs in the future.
Outside your Work van
The best way to make sure your van is working at top efficiency is to perform the DVSA's daily walkaround check. This should be done every morning to catch any potential problems early on:
- Take a walk around the exterior and check that all the doors can shut properly, there's no loose body panels, and the exhaust doesn't smoke.
- Check the tyres. They should look properly inflated, the wheel nuts should be secure,with no visible cord or deep cuts. There should be a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm.
- Look under the hood to check the battery is secure and not leaking, and all fluids, fuels,and oils are at the right levels.
- For security, check the locks and see that any loads in the back of the van are adequately secured.
Inside your Work van
The second part of your daily routine should be to climb inside and check that everything works internally before you drive off:
- Test the foot and hand brakes, horn, and steering are all reacting correctly, and make sure all mirrors are properly aligned for a view of the road in all directions. Seats and seatbelts should be secure and free from damage, and wipers should be topped upwith screen wash and working fully.
- Look to see if all the dashboard warning lamps light up properly. Check that all external lights and indicators are fully operational — you can test all indicators at once by putting on the hazards. The brake lights need to come on when the brakes are applied for the safety of other drivers.
By doing these checks every morning, you can reduce the risk of breakdowns or accidents that can be costly and compromise the lifespan of your vehicle. A lot of the steps to this daily check, like checking tyres and lights, are legal requirements and ignoring them could lead to fines, penalty points or driving bans.
Keeping your Work van clean
Making sure your van is regularly washed can reduce the risk of rust, which causes your van to fall apart and costs a lot to fix. If rust does occur, use rust remover sprays and pastes to stop it from getting worse.
Regularly washing the outside of your van looks good and it shows people that you take pride in your work, bringing in extra custom. Wash the wheels first as they tend to be dirtiest, then start from the roof of the van and work downwards. Use a wash mitt soaked in specialist car cleaning solution to protect the paint while you clean, rinse with a bucket or hose pipe, then dry your van with a microfibre cleaning cloth to prevent water spots and rust.
Finally, keep the inside of your van clean and free from dirt by using disposable seat coversor floor mats, as having a clean interior can help increase resale value if you're thinking about selling or upgrading your van.
By following this advice, you can make your work van last longer. Through small amounts of daily maintenance, minimising the need for replacements and repairs, you can save yourself time and money in the long run.