Vehicle maintenance

Proper vehicle maintenance is an essential part of running a safe, cost-effective and efficient fleet. By routinely inspecting and testing the condition of your vehicles, you can diagnose problems early on and safeguard against costly and time-consuming repairs.

The following checks and safety measures are quick and simple to carry out, and will help make sure your fleet runs as smoothly as possible. Always consult your vehicle handbook for specific maintenance guidance.

Tyres

  • Always consult your vehicle’s manufacturer’s handbook to find out what tyre pressures are appropriate for the load you’re carrying. Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated on a bi-weekly basis, as recommended by the AA
  • Check for slow punctures, as well as cuts and defects that may cause deflation
  • Check your tread depth regularly. Cars and light vans must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre, while larger vehicles must have a minimum treat depth of 1mm across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre
  • Ensure your spare tyre is also properly inflated (and adhere to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s guideline)

Oil

  • Oil keeps your engine cool, lubricated and clean, but having too much or too little could lead to engine damage. To check your oil levels are correct, park your vehicle on flat ground (cars parked on an uneven surface could give incorrect readings) and give the engine time to cool down. Then remove the dipstick. Wipe with a cloth or tissue, then re-insert it back into the oil reservoir to get your reading.
  • It’s important to have your oil changed at regular intervals to keep the engine healthy. Usually, this gets done when your vehicle has its annual service, but monthly or weekly checks mean you can stay on top of it.

Water

  • The AA recommends checking coolant levels weekly. These regular checks are advised so you can spot leakages quickly. The coolant reservoir sits under the bonnet and is usually transparent. This way, you can see how much coolant is there without having to unscrew the cap which, in many cases, tends to be brightly coloured (such as bright yellow)
  • The coolant contains antifreeze, which keeps the water from freezing in low temperatures and prevents corrosion in the engine. Before winter arrives, you should have your antifreeze levels checked
  • Make sure your screenwash levels are kept full. In winter, it’s especially important to keep the screenwash topped up with additive so that it doesn’t freeze

Windscreen and wipers

  • Always check for little chips or cracks in the glass. These will only grow if left untreated (in most cases, small chips can be fixed with a quick liquid treatment)
  • The RAC recommends replacing wiper blades at least once a year to prevent them from wearing down completely and smearing the windscreen (and ultimately, your view)