Is Your Van Ready for Winter Driving? Due to the most powerful El Niño on record, weather forecasters have, as early as September, issued warnings to get ready for blizzards and sub-zero temperature conditions across the whole United Kingdom. The changes in air pressure over the Arctic, the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation and the El Niño seem to be the perfect storm ingredients for a horrendous winter threatening the entire UK. Winter this year, just might rival the great winter of 1947/48 and 1962/63.
Van tyres on winter road
So as a homeowner, you must do what you have to do now to keep your family safe and your home snug. As a driver or fleet manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that you have invested enough time and resources to adequately prepare you van or your fleet. This of course, includes educating fleet drivers on driving safely in poor weather conditions.
Prepare Your Van for Winter Driving
To get your van ready for winter, you should pay close attention to the tyres, the battery, coolant, oil and wipers. You should also pay close attention to certain things like headlights, and signal lights to ensure safe driving at night.
Driving in snow, sleet and ice is difficult and quite dangerous at times. Mounting the correct tyres on your van will give you a great advantage when driving through snow. Tyre pressure may decrease in cold temperature so check regularly. On the other hand the less pressure you tyres have means the more traction they have which equates to a good thing when it comes to driving on icy roads. You should also use winter tyres for additional safety in the winter season.
The capacity of your van’s battery is reduced by the cold temperature and it takes more battery power to start a vehicle in cold weather. Check the terminals, cables and fluids to make sure the battery is working fine. Check if your battery has a built-in hydrometer eye to indicate the remaining battery voltage. You can also use a handheld hydrometer to check the voltage level.
The coolant system is not only to keep the engine from overheating. It also protects the engine against corrosion. Check if you have the correct ratio of water to coolant. Most vehicles need a 60:40 ratio of coolant and water for winter. Make sure that you also have water and antifreeze.
You should make sure that you are using the proper oil as in places where the temperature hits below zero, it is best to switch to a less viscous oil. You can refer to the manufacturer’s manual for the correct. A 5W-30 motor oil is recommended for most vehicles in the winter.
Windshield and Wipers
Do not overlook winterizing the windshield. Select a washer fluid with an antifreeze solution added. Note though that some brands of washer fluids can be harsh to the van’s paint. Make sure that the wipers are in good condition. If not, change them. You might want to stock on glycerine for de-icing doors locks.
It’s useful to have one, just in case. Put together some basics and keep the kit in the trunk. While you’re at it, make sure that your spare tyre and tools are intact. Your emergency kit may include blankets, flares, radio, boots, engine oil, washer fluid, flashlight and coolant.
We have discussed the potential problems that may arise with your vehicle in the winter season. Pay close attention to the dashboard lights and what they mean to identify malfunctions in your car. Make sure your vehicle or fleet is ready for winter driving as the case may be. Don’t get caught out when the cold weather takes a turn for the worse.