Van driver checks to keep your vehicle in tip-top working order

We know that when time is of the essence and your work schedule is tight, it can be all too easy to overlook the condition of your van.

Aside from keeping to a regular service schedule, in keeping with your van manufacturer’s recommendations, there are a few essential checks that you should regularly carry out to keep your van in good working order, so you stay safe on the road.

Beyond saving you money, if your vehicle isn’t kept in good shape, it could invalidate your van insurance.

Here, we’ve compiled a quick overview of recommended checks to ensure your van is in the best and safest condition possible;

Brakes and Steering
Make sure that your foot brake works correctly and doesn’t have excessive travel. If you feel it sinking quickly or sitting lower than usual, you’ll need to get it looked at. Check that your handbrake is operating as it should too.

It’s also important to make sure that your steering wheel doesn’t have excessive ‘play’, meaning that you can turn the wheel without the tyres rotating, if it’s too loose it will affect your driving capabilities.

Lights and Safety Features
It’s crucial that all lights and indicators work correctly and that the lenses are clean and displaying the correct colour. Make sure that your brake lights and indicators come on and go off when activated and that your marker lights are working properly.

All dashboard lights need to be fully functional, to ensure that your safety systems are fully functional.

These include:

  • Automatic braking system (ABS);
  • Airbags – Supplemental Restraint System (SRS);
  • Electronic positioning system (EPS);
  • Full beam headlamp warning light;
  • Brake warning lights.

Don’t forget to check that the horn works too and is easily accessible from the driver’s seat and that seatbelts are secure and operating correctly.

Mirrors, Glass and Wipers
You need to check that all mirrors are properly aligned and secure, while your view of the road isn’t obstructed by discoloured or damaged glass.

Regardless of the weather conditions, your wipers need to move continuously when switched on, with proficient wiper blades that clear the windscreen when activated. Don’t forget to keep your wiper fluid topped up so you can keep your windscreen clean.

Battery and Fluids
The battery needs, to be in good working order, without any leaks, and must be held in place securely.

You’ll need to make sure that all fluid levels are correct, including brake fluid, engine coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, windscreen washer fluid and water levels, and ensure there are no leaks.

While the engine is running, a quick check for puddles on the ground should warn you if a mechanic needs to take a look.

Bodywork and External Checks
Always try and deal with any damage as soon as it occurs, to prevent costly bodywork down the track.

Check that all doors shut properly and are secure when closed. You need to make sure that there are no loose panels that might fall off while in transit and check for any damage or sharp edges across all sides of the van.

A quick look at the exhaust will show whether it’s emitting an excessive amount of smoke, which will mean you’ll need it looked at.

Tyres and Wheels
If you’re driving with tyres that are unsafe or illegal, you can get 3 penalty points on your licence for each tyre so make sure you check as much of your tyres and wheels as possible.

You need to ensure there is:

  • A minimum tread depth of 1.6mm;
  • Sufficient inflation of each tyre;
  • No deep cuts in the sidewall;
  • No cord visible anywhere on the tyre;
  • No missing or insecure wheel-nuts.

Any load you’re carrying must be secure, while trailers need to be securely attached with all electrics in good working order.

Make sure that your van doors will lock properly and, if you have a tail lift, you need to check that it’s functioning properly.

The Government’s website has a host of information on how to make sure your van is ready to hit the road so do take a look if there’s anything you’re unsure of.

Don’t forget, for more help and advice on van insurance and finding the best cover to suit your needs, we’re here to help.


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