Preparing Your Vehicle Fleet for Winter

truck in snow

Winter is a dangerous season on the roads, with the wet and cold weather and darkening skies, so it’s more important than ever to be diligent. But is there more we can do to prepare beyond mentally readying ourselves? There are checks your team can perform themselves to ensure your fleet of vehicles is prepped for harsher days and nights.

All trucks and vans are different, so make sure drivers follow the vehicle’s manual when it comes to these winter season checks.

Check: oil and coolant levels

Checking these fluids is crucial to a smooth-running vehicle. As with cars, oil lubricates the engine, keeping it working in order, while the coolant stops the engine from overheating and breaking down. 

Drivers need to check the engine oil is within the recommended markers on the dipstick and that the colouring is right – a thick and discoloured oil is too old for use and must be changed before it clogs the engine.

Keeping the coolant topped up is especially important in winter, due to the antifreeze component. Just like in a car, this stops water from freezing inside your engine and causing serious damage to the parts within. 

Check: tyre tread

The tyres on a truck or van are the main point of contact with the road, and therefore very important to a vehicle’s overall health. Winter brings with it rain, ice, snow and fog, all potentially dangerous while driving something so large, so make sure they are checked regularly by your team or a professional like those at our Norfolk Truck & Van depots.

Truck tyre treads must have a depth of at least 1mm in a continuous band throughout the central three-quarters of the tread width, and the same applies to regrooved tyres. Tyres grip the road’s surface, so when the weather is wetter, a worn-down tyre will have less ability to evacuate water from the road through the tread pattern. Because of this, the truck could aquaplane, an incredibly dangerous thing to happen to both the driver and those on the road.

Check: wipers and lights

Wipers and lights defend against the weather and darkness of all seasons and are especially crucial in winter. Test the wipers by spraying the windscreen with washer fluid and turning on the wipers to ensure they wipe the liquid away smoothly. Your team should run their fingers along the wiper blades to check for any tears. If the wipers fail either of these tests, they need to be replaced. 

Getting caught out without lights on the long nights of winter is not only dangerous but illegal. Testing the lights regularly to check the bulbs and fuses are in good condition helps keep everyone on the road safe.

Tip: conserve battery health

A vehicle losing power halfway through a long journey can be a disaster both both the driver and your business. To get the most out of the truck or van’s battery, it’s advisable to do the following all year round:

  • Keep the truck or van stored out of the elements
  • Regularly get the battery professionally tested
  • Turn off the radio, heater and lights before switching off the engine
  • Check the battery’s cables and clamps for corrosion that could restrict current flow
  • Avoid using optional devices that use power, such as the radio, for longer than necessary

Tip: ask the professionals

For an accurate and efficient winter check, head to your local Norfolk Truck & Van depot. Our expert team will service your vehicles and make sure everything is working as it should in preparation for the season, with advice to help you get your vehicle fleet through it with ease. Pop by to see us today, or get in touch with your depot over the phone.

For the Norfolk depot, call 01603 253 300. For the Suffolk depot, call 01473 834 200. For the London depot, call 0208 804 1266. For our Norwich Van centre, call 01603 253 999.