No business, charity or other organisation running a vehicle fleet wants to spend money unnecessarily. By using funds wisely, in certain areas, this can reduce the chance of expensive issues arising, especially during the colder, darker months.
“Ice, snow and travel delays are inevitable during winter”, advises Alan Locke of AYCEN Group in Manchester. “Breakdowns can be minimised by ensuring vehicles are maintained and serviced in the run-up to winter. This helps a fleet run to capacity.”
Oil needs to be the right type and topped up to an appropriate level to reduce the risk of engine damage or ignition problems in colder weather. Windscreen washer fluid needs to be of a stronger concentration in the winter to maximise visibility, and suitable levels of anti-freeze also need to be monitored.
It is important for brakes and brake fluid to be checked by a garage, too, as stopping distances increase on wet, icy roads. Tyres also need to be in good condition with suitable tread and inflation, in order to perform at their best on potentially dangerous surfaces.
Batteries should be replaced once they reach a certain age, which the garage can advise fleet managers on. Inside and outside the vehicle, all lights should be in good working order to ensure the driver can see and be seen.
Fleet Driver Education
It is important that fleet drivers are educated over how to change their driving style in the winter months. This includes;
- steering and braking gently
- maintaining an increased distance behind vehicles in front
- driving with dipped beam headlights turned on at all times
- avoid isolated roads where black ice may develop
- taking alternative routes if possible to circumvent steep hills or areas prone to flooding
An adequately charged mobile phone, along with a torch, warm clothing and other sensible winter items are essential, in case the driver become stranded.
Fleet drivers can play a part in maintenance, too, by informing fleet managers promptly if any vehicle consumables are wearing out or have stopped functioning, and by keeping their vehicles generally clean and tidy.
“Our commercial fleet customers certainly appreciate being able to rely on us to keep their vehicles on the road during the winter months”, concludes Alan. “Having a professional garage like ourselves caring for a vehicle fleet takes pressure off fleet managers, results in fewer winter breakdowns and contributes to keeping the economy moving.”
To find out more about AYCEN’s Fleet Servicing Maintenance and benefits, please call them on 0161 223 5335 or visit their website.