As temperatures plummet and ice weather warnings are announced across the UK this week, our latest blog post takes a look at the cold weather fleet maintenance tips to ensure your motors stay up and running.

Keep it topped up

If you’re a frequent road user, you’ll have an idea of exactly how many miles you can squeeze out of your fuel tank. This can mean ignoring a flashing fuel light because you know that you can make it to your regular petrol station to fill up.

However, in cold weather it’s not a good idea to run vehicles with less than half a tank of fuel in them. Water vapour which collects near the bottom of the tank can be inadvertently drawn into the fuel line; this can later freeze and stop your car from starting.

Keeping your fuel tank above the halfway mark can prevent this process from taking place, as condensation won’t have the chance to collect on the tank walls even when temperatures drop below freezing.

Keeping clean

A part of the car that many motorists neglect, and never even notice until they start to fail is the humble windscreen wiper.

Performing a vital role, the windscreen wiper can be the single element which stands between safety and danger, clearing the window and allowing the driver to see the road ahead.

Clean Windscreen

With so much more rain, frost and other weather conditions likely to hit the windscreen during the colder months, making sure windscreen wipers are clean haven’t degraded is an important check. Upgrading them to heavy duty wipers could be a good idea as these cut through ice and snow far more effectively and the difference in cost is negligible.

Light up

In the summer months, you may well be driving in the light, rarely having to venture out in dark or dimly lit conditions.

In the winter months with dark evenings and mornings, it’s a very different matter and most drivers once again acclimatise to using their car in the dark.

Making sure all the lights on your vehicle are operational is an important check; it will not only keep you safe but also your fellow road users. If your brake lights aren’t working, you could well be hit from behind by another car, whilst a dodgy indicator could mean a cyclist isn’t aware you are turning.

Don’t rely on warning lights on your dashboard; perform regular checks to make sure all your lights are in good working condition.

Get a grip

Changing weather can have a drastic effect on your car tyres, and even though pumping them up in the summer months can last for a significant length of time, don’t expect the same reaction in the winter.

Bald Tyres

The constantly changing pressure has an impact on the tyres and can cause them to deflate quicker than when the air is warm and constant. Therefore as well as keeping a close eye on the tread and wear rate of your rubbers, don’t forget to regularly check their pressure too as you may need to inflate them far more frequently than you might expect.

Protect at all costs

If you have the facilities for cars to be kept in a garage or out of the freezing cold temperatures overnight, it’s a good idea to take full advantage.

Although the car is a mechanical beast and doesn’t ‘feel’ the cold, allowing its battery to regularly be exposed to freezing temperatures can drain the charge out of it and stop it from starting in the morning.

Keeping your car warm will help the battery hold its charge and won’t result in that irritating and inexplicable sudden refusal to start on a cold morning.

Conclusion

As a fleet manager, the above checks should be carried out, either by company operatives or the individuals driving the cars. Although they may sound obvious, they are the type of maintenance which is often overlooked or delayed and the consequences of doing that in colder weather can be simply disastrous.