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Commercial vehicles: Time for a spring tune up!

 

What are your commercial vehicles exposed to most on the roads in winter? A heavy dose of salt, sand and gravel, which is not ideal for keeping them in good condition. That’s why a spring tune up is a must.

It’s also a good time to check whether your commercial vehicle insurance is still well-suited to your situation.

Before we summarize what your spring maintenance should include, let’s take a closer look at why it’s so important.

7 reasons to maintain your vehicles

1. Make it safer for the staff members driving your commercial vehicles (trucks, cars, vans, etc.)

2. Reduce direct or indirect costs arising from breakdowns

3. Help your vehicles last longer

4. Save on gas and pollute less

5. Protect your investment by getting a better resale value

6. Create a good image for your company

7. Make better use of the warranty, if needed, by complying with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule

In short, well-maintained vehicles are more reliable. That means lower costs and risks for your company.

Start with a thorough cleaning

Whether you own a single vehicle or an entire fleet, a thorough wash will get rid of all traces of abrasives. This should be followed by a polishing. Own trucks? Get products specifically designed for heavy equipment, as they’re better suited to clean the surfaces of these vehicles.

The right product at the right time

By maintaining the paint on the vehicle’s body using specialized maintenance products, you’re also protecting the layer of metal beneath the paint from premature wear and rusting.

Don’t overlook the interior of the vehicles. Calcium traces from the salt can cause a lot of damage. Use a vacuum and specialized cleaners to get the job done.

Seats made with fabric can be disinfected using steam, but make sure you let them dry completely to prevent humidity, and its unpleasant odour, from setting in.

For a true top-to-bottom shine, turn to professionals who can clean the lower portions of your vehicle, and underneath it, too. The underbody and chassis are especially vulnerable to salt. Rust is waiting to happen if you don’t clean!

Break out the summer tires

Your drivers won’t be able to hear the music over the aggravating sounds winter tires cause driving on asphalt. We know how important they are for safety, but they’re only beneficial during winter.

As soon as the temperatures rise over seven degrees for several days, it’s time to install the summer tires.

Sure, it’s much easier to just leave them on, but...

  • It will cost much more
    Driving on winter tires once the streets are clear of snow and ice will cost you more in fuel. Why? The increased grip from winter tires provide greater resistance.
  • It’s riskier
    The winter tire grooves retain a little more water, increasing the risk of sliding uncontrollably. It also means you have to start braking earlier.
  • Sometimes, it’s downright dangerous
    The rubber on winter tires maintains its elasticity during winter, but can come undone quickly on hot asphalt, or even burst.

So having the summer tires installed on your commercial vehicles is more than just a question of saving money, it’s a matter of safety. When they’re being installed, also have the air pressure and alignment checked. Uneven wheels will cause unnecessary wear and tear to your tires, reduce traction and increase fuel consumption. Think about it!

Check the batteries

Are your batteries in good condition? If you had trouble firing up any of your vehicles this winter, it’s usually a warning sign.

If batteries could have a sworn enemy, it would be cold weather. That’s why you need to test them and see what shape they’re in once winter ends. They have to be in good working order to avoid breakdowns, especially during heat waves.

As part of the spring tune up ritual, check if the battery terminals are starting to rust.

Fluids and filters

Fluids flow through our vehicles just like springtime sap. And they are all vital. Winter takes a toll on fluids, especially transmission fluid and engine oil.

Check their levels in each of your commercial vehicles. If necessary, take them to a specialist to change all the fluids.

You can take this opportunity to also have the various filters examined and change those that are blocked or broken. Each one plays a part, filtering dirt, pollen, fuel, etc.

Seeing is believing: Maintain your windshield and mind your washer fluid

Your windshield should be part of the spring inspection ritual. Did a pebble cause a crack? It may have gotten bigger. The difference in temperature between the heat inside the vehicle and the cold outside causes the glass to weaken during winter. Play it safe and have your windshield repaired or replaced.

As for the wipers, the thicker rubber ones designed for winter are not as efficient in the summer. Plus, the sun can ruin them.

Some vehicle owners wait until their wipers grate against the windshield, leave marks or make all kinds of noises. Don’t be that owner! Here's a useful trick: replace the wipers when the clocks turn, once when we spring forward, and again when we fall back.

Before you hit the road

Are the brakes on your commercial vehicles starting to wear down? Add it to the spring tune up list. After all, the safety of your drivers is a top priority.

Once everything is in order, take a look at your parking area outside. Doesn’t it look better under the sun with all those shiny, clean vehicles?