Top tips for looking after your van

As a business owner who drives as part of their job, you have a duty of care to look after your van. After all, that van is the lifeblood of your business – you need it to work to be able to work! And every driver knows (or should know) that regular maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle in tip-top condition.
While regular maintenance and TLC will help to keep your van on the road and prevent problems, you still need to take out van insurance, which provides protection against the unexpected. Insurance Factory can save you time by comparing van insurance policies on your behalf. We have access to a leading panel of specialist providers, and will strive to find you the right level of cover, for the best possible price.
Now let’s take a look at some other top tips for looking after your van:

Do the daily ‘van walkaround’

It’s a really good idea to get into the habit of carrying out a daily ‘walkaround’ of your van before you start work. The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has created this comprehensive guide of what you need to check as you walk around the vehicle. For instance, it says you need should check:
  • All doors close properly and are secure when shut.
  • Any load is sufficiently secure.
  • The tow bar is secure.
  • If applicable, the trailer is securely attached with all electrical connections working properly.
  • The exhaust doesn’t emit an excessive amount of smoke.
  • Brake fluid, engine coolant, power-steering fluid and engine all are all the right levels.
  • The fuel filler cap is securely fitted.
When you’ve done all the necessary checks outside of the van, there are other checks to carry out from the driver’s seat. These include checking that all lights are working, brakes are working (i.e. they don’t have excessive travel) and that the washer fluid is topped up.
As the DVSA notes, if you notice anything wrong with your van during the daily check, you should get the issue seen to as soon as possible. A small problem could turn into something much more serious if left for too long – potentially costing you more money to put right.

Don’t neglect your van’s tyres

You van’s tyres are the only things that make contact with the road, so it’s really important to make sure they’re in great condition at all times.
As a Capels blog explains, tyres should be checked for roadworthiness every morning. Keep an eye out for bulges, cuts in the sidewall, exposed cord or missing wheel nuts – if you notice any of these, you should fix the issue before you set off.
The general rule is to check a vehicle’s tyre pressures every fortnight. However, because you’re using your van a lot every day, and potentially carrying heavy loads, it’s best to test pressures at least once a week. You’ll be able to find the right pressure in your van’s user manual, or by using this National Tyre Service tool.
Check the tread of each tyre at the same time as checking pressures. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but it’s recommended that tyres have around 3mm for decent performance on the road. Here’s a  handy tip shared by Tyre Safe: roll a 20p in the tread grooves of your tyres – if the outer band is obscured, your tread is above the legal limit. If you can see the outer band, your tyres could be unsafe, not to mention illegal.
 Driver checking tyre tread depth using tool

Book in regular servicing

While carrying out daily checks will help you to ensure everything is on your van is working as it should, it’s still important to book in regular services with a trusted, local garage. Honest John recommends that you should get your oil and filter changed at least every 10,000 miles or once a year – whatever comes first.

Invest in the right security

Unfortunately, company vans can be a target for thieves – regardless of whether or not you have a ‘No tools kept in this van overnight’ sticker on your rear window. If you’re planning on keeping tools or other cargo in your van overnight, you should look at taking out additional cover under your van insurance policy.
Simply Business shares some top van security products you should consider investing in, which include:
  • A stoplock, which is a device that links the two rear doors together, making it much harder for thieves to pull them apart.
  • A van vault, which is essentially a van ‘safe’ available in a range of shapes and sizes. You can pick a vault depending on what you’re carrying, too – for instance there’s one specially designed for storing copper piping for roofs.
  • A dashcam, which can prove invaluable in catching the criminals in the event your van is broken into.
  • A disklok, which is a Thatcham-recommend device that fits over the steering wheel and is locked by the driver to immobilise the van.

Clean your van

We’ve all seen filthy vans on the road, plastered with the words ‘clean me’ or some explicit picture on the back! If you drive around in a filthy van branded with your company name, it won’t do much for your reputation. So, keep it clean!
Keeping your van clean will help to prevent issues like rust. Plus, it’s safer; a thick layer of grime over your lights will mean they won’t shine as bright, potentially impacting your visibility of the road. Get into the habit of clearing out clutter at the end of each day, and schedule in a deep clean every couple of weeks or so.

Get the right level of van insurance

Whether you’re a delivery driver, scrap dealer or are in another line of business requiring the daily use of your van, we can help to find you the right level of cover that matches your business and budget.
We take the time to understand the unique needs of your business, before comparing quotes from our panel of insurers. Van insurance policies arranged through the Insurance Factory contain many benefits as standard, plus you can choose from a number of optional extras, including:
  • Guaranteed 14-day van replacement.
  • Excess protection.
  • Cover for breakdown, accidental damage and tools.
  • 14-day van replacement
  • Cover for gadgets and keys.
Get a free, no obligation quote today!