Operating any vehicle on the road comes with some element of risk. The bigger the vehicle, the greater that risk increases. With so many components to think about, a poorly maintained vehicle is more likely to run into problems whilst out and about. This underlines the importance of regular vehicle checks to ensure your van or lorry is in a good condition before setting off.
Whether you own one vehicle for work or several, it’s important that you and your colleagues stick to a comprehensive checklist with daily inspections. While it may seem extensive, a good routine inspection should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
What to look for during a vehicle check
Even just a simple check of your vehicle each morning can help you pick up on potential issues before they become considerably dangerous and costly to fix. Your checks will need to be carried out two ways: a visual walkaround inspection of the outside, and a series of practical checks from inside the cab.
Your walkaround inspection should cover:
- Windows – check for cracks, scratches or marks
- Windscreen wipers – any signs of damage or wear and tear will mean they need to be replaced
- Fluid levels – under the hood, check oil levels, transmission fluids and even windscreen wash
- Battery – while vehicle batteries can last several years, signs of corrosion can develop after a long time
- Lights – check for any obvious breakages
- Tyres – correct tyre pressure, suitable tread depth and keep an eye out for punctures or bulges
Inside the cab, you’ll want to run a quick dashboard check to ensure buttons and levers do what they should.
- Mirrors – check for scratches and marks that could obscure your view
- Check lights – get a colleague to help inspect brake and hazard lights while you operate them
- Seatbelts – check for damage or wear and tear that could impact your safety
- Dashcam – if you operate an on-board camera, make sure visibility and recording capacity are suitable before setting off
There are many more comprehensive checks you can make and it’s always a good idea to keep your vehicles clean and tidy. This can help make it easier to spot potential issues inside and out.
Every vehicle should also carry a set of emergency items just in case you should happen to run into trouble whilst out and about. Spare bulbs and fuses, a spare tyre, lifting jack and puncture repair kit can help you make quick fixes, while hi-vis clothing and warning triangles are useful when you’re waiting for roadside assistance. Keep food, water, blankets and a first aid kit for any personal emergencies too.