Venson Automotive Solutions is urging businesses to work with company car and fleet drivers to ensure vehicles are winter-ready.
With the UK returning to tiered lockdowns – meaning company cars may not be on the road so much this winter – the fleet management specialist says that preventative measures and checks are even more essential to help keep drivers safe, mitigate downtime and extend vehicle life.
“It is all the more important to take care of cars and vans in winter as harsh weather can affect every part of the vehicle,” said Alison Bell, marketing director at Venson.
“Batteries are at higher risk of failure in cold weather, as the liquid electrolyte solution used to transfer power is less efficient in low temperatures. The problem is exacerbated when the vehicle sits unused for longer periods of time as the battery gradually loses charge and then cannot transfer its remaining power due to the cold. Therefore, fleets should encourage their drivers to run the engine regularly if the car is not being used at all or is used only for short journeys. It is also helpful to take a longer drive once a week, if driving conditions are safe, to ensure the battery has time to recharge.”
Bell also urged fleets to keep up with scheduled servicing and MOT visits, as garages and service centres remain open, and highlighted the need for daily or weekly vehicle maintenance checks to keep an eye on areas such as ‘lights and levels’ and – vitally – tyre conditions.
She continued: “Adhering to service schedules and carrying out basic vehicle checks will ensure the vehicle is prepared to face the typical winter weather while helping to keep both the driver and others safe.”
Venson’s tips for managing winter fleets amidst the pandemic:
- Continue with service schedules and MOT bookings.
- Provide drivers with a clear and easy-to-follow essential maintenance checklist to carry out each week, including tyre tread (minimum 3mm), wiper blade condition, headlights and glass, levels of oil, coolant, screen wash and de-icer.
- Remind drivers to check their vehicle condition in daylight or a fully lit garage.
- Keep essential telephone numbers – breakdown provider, fleet team number – not just in a phone but in the vehicle as a back-up.
- Consider providing drivers with a safety kit to keep in their vehicle – high-visibility vest, a blanket, torch, first aid kit and phone charger.
- Use the vehicle’s onboard tech to make journeys safe, smoother, and more comfortable. For example, sat navs with traffic data and the latest map updates installed, remote engine start and apps that monitor vehicle health.
- Winter driving throws all sorts of challenges at motorists, from wet, icy roads to dazzling sun and poor visibility, so helping drivers plan ahead can help avoid incidents.