Bad driving habits that damage your van

If we asked you to name the most important asset to your courier business, we bet that you’d say your van. After all, that vehicle is responsible for transporting you and all of those packages safely to your customers – and back again.

Having a reliable van is therefore essential to the effective running of your business. If your vehicle is also fitted with the latest safety and efficiency technology, and it’s good on fuel (or better – a hybrid or electric) then these are all big benefits, too.

A valuable asset such as this needs to be insured with a policy tailored to the unique needs of your business. The Insurance Factory are specialists in arranging courier insurance for people just like you.

Once you’ve given us all the necessary details, we’ll get to work finding a competitively priced policy that suits all of your unique requirements, drawing on our carefully selected panel of leading insurance specialists.

Are you guilty of these driving habits?

Knowing just how important your van is to the day-to-day running of your courier company, no doubt you dedicate some of your time for regular vehicle maintenance. Or perhaps you have a garage do it for you!

While regular maintenance is key to keeping your van in tip-top condition and preventing things like breakdowns, have you spared a thought for how your driving habits could be damaging your vehicle?

You may be causing unnecessary damage to your van and not even realise it. So, to put an end to that, let’s take a look at some of the most common damaging driving habits that you need to ditch… right now!
A Ford van steering wheel

Shifting from drive to reverse without stopping

Is your van an automatic? If you regularly shift between drive and reverse without coming to a stop first, you need to stamp out the habit as it will be wreaking havoc on your vehicle’s transmission band.

Using the brakes to slow and stop wears the discs and pads – two serviceable and easily replaceable components. On the other hand, work carried out on the transmission band will involve a great deal of labour, and you’ll have to pay for the privilege.

You risk damaging your van if it’s manual, too. However, most modern models won’t let you switch between drive and reverse without first coming to a stop.

Revving the engine before it’s warmed up

It’s always a good idea to sit with your van’s engine on for a couple of minutes before you set off.

As Popular Mechanics explains, this helps to circulate oil through the engine and get both the engine block and oil up to the right temperature.

Cold revving doesn’t speed up the process – in actual fact, it could end up causing damage because the abrupt temperature change creates stress between the engine components.

Resting your hand on the gearstick

It can be incredibly tempting to rest your left hand on the gear stick when you’re steadily moving through the gears, but this should be avoided at all costs.

Why? Well, your hand puts extra strain on the transmission’s bushings and synchronisers, causing premature wear.

Of course, it’s also safer to have both hands on the wheel, as this will allow you to take control should you need to carry out a sudden steering manoeuvre.
A gear stick in a van

Hitting speed bumps and potholes

It’s easier said than done, but you should try to avoid hitting potholes as they can cause serious damage to your van. It could buckle the wheels, crack alloys and upset the tracking and wheel balancing.

Figures from cited by the Express revealed that drivers in Britain spend a whopping £1.7m every single year on repairs to vehicles damaged by potholes.

Remaining extra vigilant at all times, anticipating what’s ahead of you, will help to prevent causing unnecessary damage to your van. Similarly, driving over speed bumps slowly and steadily will prevent damage to the front, rear or underside of your van.

Late braking

There may be times when you had no other choice but to harshly apply your brakes at the last minute – for instance if the vehicle in front slams their brakes on with little or no warning.

But apart from these situations, you should always refrain from late braking as it puts strain on your van’s braking system, quickly wearing out discs and pads. Driving in this way will cost you more in fuel, too.

Ignoring warning lights

Ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away! Some warning lights on your van’s dashboard require immediate attention and ignoring them can be both damaging and dangerous.

While lights telling you that your washer fluid or oil are low can be addressed when you get home after a day’s work, Haynes explains that you should stop immediately if you notice the following lights:

·         Engine/ECU – indicates that there’s something mechanically wrong with the engine, or a problem with the ECU. It’s possible that your van’s engine could fail completely or enter limp mode.

·         Braking system & ABS – tells you there’s a fault with the van’s braking system or the ABS. A fault with the van’s brakes could be extremely dangerous, so don’t try to drive it if this light is on.

·         Power steering failure – means your steering will become heavy all of a sudden. If you notice this, pull over in the next available safe space.

·         Airbag warning – indicates that there’s an issue with the van’s airbag system, an integral part of the safety system.

·         Oil pressure – if this turns red it’s showing a serious loss of pressure in your van. Keep on driving and the engine could fail and suffer serious damage as a result – don’t risk it.

·         Cooling system – tells you that there’s not enough engine coolant or that it’s exceeded its maximum temperature. You might be able to drive on it but only for a short period of time.
A van speedo with an engine warning light lit up

Courier insurance from the Insurance Factory

Combined with regular maintenance, curbing these bad driving habits will help to keep your courier van in good condition for many years to come.

Don’t forget to take out courier insurance with the Insurance Factory to protect your van and your business – get a free, no-obligation quote today!