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5 Cold Weather Checks To Keep Your Fleet On The Road

5 Cold Weather Checks To Keep Your Fleet On The Road

With schools shut, rural communities cut off, commuters stuck overnight on roads, thousands of people without water, and many businesses temporarily shut down, winter weather conditions (especially in Spring!) never fail to bring all-out chaos to the UK.

Unlike in Nordic countries where it’s business as usual no matter if it’s rain, ice, sleet, or snow, erratic weather patterns and inadequate infrastructure mean in the UK, it’s normally up to firefighters, farmers, and 4x4 owners to make do, and, as the saying goes, keep calm and carry on.

This makes it paramount for businesses to have their own procedures in place and be prepared well in advance of such events. After all, going by recent records, the chances of experiencing extreme weather conditions are getting more and more likely. The better prepared you are, the less time and money will be wasted.

Follow these five tips to reduce downtime and keep your fleet and business running at peak efficiency whatever the weather.

1. Slide through the cold

According to Michelin, a fresh coat of wax before a snowy spell is a great way to protect vehicles against damage from dirt and salt on the roads.

While dirt and slush can build up in hidden areas of the vehicle and damage paintwork, salt can cause even more destruction over time due to its corrosiveness. For this reason, fleet managers should apply a good coat of wax over the areas of their vehicles that are most at risk — including behind the wheels, the quarter panels, and front grille.

2. Have your battery tested

Car batteries do not respond well to the cold, especially freezing conditions. And as you always want your battery to start first time when out in the snow, it pays to ensure it’s consistently working at its optimum level.

To safeguard a battery’s capacity from significantly decreasing, ensure it isn’t exposed to the cold for long periods of time, for example, by parking in a garage and not outside overnight. Also make sure you have jumper cables handy — you never know when you or another driver in your team might need them.

3. Keep the pressure on

Tire pressure is one of the vehicle checks that should be carried out at least once a month. And in cold conditions, this becomes ever more important as a tire's pressure can significantly drop along with the temperature.

Under-inflated tires mean poor performance and wear. And, as a result, decreased fuel efficiency and swifter replacement times. One question for fleet managers to ask here is if and when they should switch to winter tires. A good rule of thumb is if you’re in an area where the temperature regularly drops below zero and you experience snowy or icy conditions, then they may be a good option for you. Otherwise, all-season tires are the way to go.

4. Steer clear of light trouble

A clear and fully functioning set of headlights and brake lights are vital when heading out in conditions like fog and heavy snow. They not only help drivers steer clear of any obstructions and potential catastrophes, but also ensure other road users see you coming.

A common problem is that many plastic headlight covers can gradually become hazy or discoloured, limiting the amount of light they can emit. Fleet managers can avoid this by having a professional check over your vehicles’ lights regularly or picking up a plastic headlight lens repair kit and fixing them yourself.

5. Fill in those cracks

Minor cracks or chips in your windshield may seem nothing to worry about, but once the cold weather sets in, they can quickly turn into dangerous and expensive issues.

It’s important, then, to have an expert repair them as soon as they occur. And while they’re at it, they can also make sure your wiper blades are equip to handle the elements of your region and keep the windshield clear.

A part from these five tips, when driving in wintery conditions you should also use a washer fluid that’s rated for subfreezing conditions and ensure the defrosters are in proper working to help in maintaining visibility.

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