Bad Driving Habits That Could Be Damaging Your Van

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If you drive your van for a living, or need it to do your job, it may have been a while since you passed your driving test. If that’s the case it’s possible you’re slipping into dodgy habits that could be damaging your motor.

It could be bad news if you want to keep your repair bills down but longer-term consequences might also include higher insurance premiums, reduced productivity and a shorter lifespan for your vehicle.

Here is some advice on how you can keep your repair costs, and insurance premiums down.

Pay attention to warning lights

The dashboard lights are there for a reason so if you notice something flashing, or a light that isn’t normally on, it means you need to pay attention. Study your manual so you’re familiar with dashboard language and what can and can’t wait.

Just like the signal that shows you’re running low on fuel, a warning light could be indicating that you’re almost out of washer fluid or that your oil needs to be topped up. Some issues can be dealt with when you find a more convenient time but others, including power-steering failure, airbag warning, braking system and ABS or oil pressure alerts need urgent attention.

Stick within the weight limit

We know it can be tempting to cram in extra loads when you’re short on delivery time but overloading your vehicle can create unnecessary strain that results in long-term van damage. You could also risk a fine, so check your manual for your maximum load weight and stick to the guidelines.

In addition to making it dangerous to drive, overloading your van will cost you more in the long run through increased fuel consumption and excessive strain on your brakes, clutch, suspension and tyres. Don’t forget to read our advice on how to load your van safely too, to avoid any internal damage to your vehicle.

Dodge the lumps and bumps

Potholes and speedbumps are an increasingly frustrating part of everyday driving but failing to take due care to tackle them safely can create numerous problems for your van.

The impact from hitting a pothole at any speed can result in damage to suspension springs and shock absorbers, buckled wheels and cracked alloys. Taking a speed bump at pace can also cause extensive damage to the front, rear or underside of your van. Paying attention when you’re on the road, particularly in poor driving conditions can help to cushion these blows and avoid costly repairs.

Go easy on the pedals

Poor pedal operation can create several issues, from reducing the amount of control you have over your van to causing unnecessary strain or ‘burnout’, all of which can result in a hefty bill from the mechanic.

A lot of drivers are guilty of ‘cruising’ or riding the crutch, which speeds up natural wear and tear, resulting in parts failure. Flooring the accelerator in a high gear is another fault that puts your engine under unnecessary strain, particularly if you’re carrying a heavy load or driving uphill. Similarly, late braking when you’re transporting a lot of weight is one of the quickest ways to wear out your brake pads and discs – and switch to a lower gear, rather than pumping the brakes when you’re going downhill.

Take your time

We know it can be tempting to hit the ground running when you’re in a hurry but even your van needs a little time to warm up, especially in the morning.

We’re not talking about running the engine for huge amounts of time, that will increase your fuel consumption, just give it a couple of minutes and once you hit the road, try to keep an eye on the speedometer for the first five to ten minutes to prevent stress to your engine. If you drive an automatic, remember to take your time and come to a complete stop when shifting from drive to reverse, otherwise you’ll risk damaging the transmission.

If you want to avoid a trip to the garage, our best advice is to try and ditch the bad driving habits but remember, whatever your driving style, we’ll always be here to help you compare the best van insurance policies available in the market today www.thevaninsurer.co.uk