Anchor Vans Guide: Your Van – Use & Care

3 May 2018, 11:09 am

Here at Anchor, we like to think of ourselves as the fountain of all knowledge when it comes to vans. Not only will we answer all your questions when you are choosing and buying a van but we can also help when it comes the day-to-day use and care of your vehicle.

With this in mind, we have put together some useful tips in our Anchor Vans guide to looking after and using your van.

Vehicle Service

Regular service is very important to maintain the performance and safety of your vehicle. A well maintained vehicle will last much longer and be less prone to sudden costly failures which can interfere with your wallet and your ability to work. All manufacturers have specific service schedules for their vehicles and a copy of the schedule for your vehicle is attached to this document.

Let us do the hard work for you..
We will be happy to service your vehicle and offer a service loan van whilst yours is in the workshop. All you need to do is ensure you are covered by your insurance for use of the loan van for the period you use it, we are able to arrange temporary insurance for a loan vehicle for you if you wish. Visit our service page for more info or call us on 0118 971 0230.

Vehicle Use

Please be aware of the Load Capacity of your vehicle. It is both dangerous and illegal to overload it. Remember that the load capacity includes the weight of the driver and any passengers.

Remember the UK speed limits for your vehicle, which are as follows:
Built-up areas (such as towns and cities): 30mph – the same as a car
Single carriageways: 50mph – 10mph less than a car
Dual carriageways: 60mph – 10mph less than a car
Motorways: 70mph – the same as a car

Vehicle Maintenance – Internal

Daily checks as recommended by VOSA

Brakes
Check that the:
– foot or service brake works correctly and doesn’t have any excessive travel
– hand or parking brake works correctly and doesn’t have any excessive travel

Horn and steering
Check that the:
– horn control is easily accessible from driver’s seat
– horn works when its control is operated
– steering has no excessive play

Lights
Check that:
– all lights and indicators work correctly
– all lenses are present, clean and are the right colour
– stop lamps come on when the service brake is applied and go out on release
– marker lights are present and work
– all dashboard warning lamps work correctly, including: automatic braking system (ABS) / airbags – supplemental restraint system (SRS) / electronic positioning system (EPS) / full beam headlamp warning lamp / parking brake warning lamp

Mirrors and glass
Check that:
– all mirrors that should be there are properly aligned and secure
– your view of the road in all directions isn’t obscured by damaged or discoloured glass, or obstructions, eg stickers etc

Seats and seat belts
Check that:
– seats are secure
– seat belts operate correctly and are free from cuts and damage

Washers and wipers
Check that:
– wipers move continually when switched on
– wiper blades aren’t so deteriorated that they don’t clear the windscreen effectively when used – with washers
– washers point at the windscreen and are operational
– washer fluid is topped up

 

Vehicle Maintenance – External

Daily checks as recommended by VOSA

Battery
Check that the:
– battery is held securely in place by the correct means and not cables
– battery is not leaking

Fluids, fuel and oil
Check that:
– the brake fluid, engine coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid, wind screen washer fluid and water levels are correct
– the fuel filler cap is securely fitted
– there are no brake fluid, power steering fluid and water leaks by looking for puddles on the ground – if leaks are detected, trace the cause
With the engine on, check under the van for any fuel and oil leaks – look for puddles on the ground.

Bodywork and doors
Check that:
– all doors shut properly and are secure when closed
– there isn’t any damage or sharp edges
– no body panels are loose or in danger of falling off

Exhaust
Check that the exhaust doesn’t emit excessive amounts of smoke.

Tyres and wheels
Check as much of your tyres and wheels as you can see. There must be:
– a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm
– sufficient inflation of each tyre
– no deep cuts in the sidewall
– no cord visible anywhere on the tyre
– no missing or insecure wheel-nuts
You can get 3 penalty points on your licence for each tyre that isn’t safe and legal.

Load
Check that:
– any load is adequately secured
– the van doors have an effective locking device

Tow bars and tail lifts
Check that the:
– tow bar is secure and any trailer is correctly and securely attached, with all electrical connections working correctly
– tail lift is secure, free from damage, functions correctly and electrics are working correctly

DPF Diesel Particulate Filter

What causes a diesel particulate filter blockage?
Short journeys at low speeds are the prime cause of blocked diesel particulate filters. This is why car makers often go as far as recommending city-bound short-hop drivers choose a petrol car instead of diesel (and it’s why diesels are something of a rarity in the city car sector). Other things that are bad for DPFs include poor servicing. A diesel particulate filter on a poorly serviced car may fail sooner than a well maintained one, generally, they should last for at least 100,000 miles. It’s important you use the right type of oil as well, some oils contain additives that can block filters.

How do I maintain a diesel particulate filter?
Passive regeneration
Passive regeneration occurs when the car is running at speed on long motorway journeys which allows the exhaust temperature to increase to a higher level and cleanly burn off the excess soot in the filter. So it is advised that drivers regularly give their diesel vehicle a good 30 to 50 minute run at sustained speed on a motorway or A-road to help clear the filter. However, not all drivers do this type of driving regularly – which is why manufacturers have designed an alternative form of regeneration.

Active regeneration
Active regeneration means extra fuel is injected automatically, as part of the vehicle’s ECU, when a filter reaches a predetermined limit (normally about 45%) to raise the temperature of the exhaust and burn off the stored soot. Problems can occur, however, if the journey is short, as theregeneration process may not complete fully. If this is the case the warning light will continue to show the filter is still partially blocked. In which case it should be possible to complete a regeneration cycle and clear the warning light by driving for 10 minutes or so at speeds greater than 40mph. You will know whether active regeneration is taking place by the following symptoms:
•    Engine note change
•    Cooling fans running
•    A slight increase in fuel consumption
•    Increased idle speed
•    Deactivation of automatic Stop/Start
•    A hot, acrid smell from the exhaust

What do I do if neither active nor passive regeneration work?
If your warning light continues to stay on, turns red, or additional DPF lights come on, do not leave it too long before getting it checked out. More damage can be caused this way and what could be an inexpensive fix can become something much more expensive. Some garages can clean blocked DPFs, in a process called forced regeneration. This usually costs around £100 and, while it’s not a 100% guaranteed fix, it’s usually successful in removing the excess soot and allowing the DPF to work and automatically regenerate again. It’s a failure to correctly regenerate that is the cause of most diesel particulate filter issues: they become blocked, which increases exhaust emissions, stifles engine performance and sometimes even puts the car into a restricted ‘limp-home mode’.
On some models the engine may not restart after a number of miles, consult your handbook for details.

4×4 Vehicles
4X4 Vehicles – Some 4 wheel drive vehicles are only designed to operate in four wheel drive for limited periods and at limited speeds, it can therefore damage these vehicles if they are driven at motorway speed in 4 wheel drive for almost any period of time. Please ensure that you are aware of any and all features of your vehicles 4 wheel drive system and always comply with them completely.