Top tips to follow to keep your vehicle in good condition

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#Fuel Efficiency
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Car driving on road

As many businesses are struggling with the increased cost of living, the last thing they need is to be hit with a massive bill when their vehicle breaks down. So, here are some top tips to get you into gear when it comes to keeping your vehicle on the road and out of the garage (except for yearly MOTs and services of course!)

Vitamin FA (Fuel Additives)

Giving your vehicle fuel additives is similar to having your 5 a day in pill or liquid form! They are useful for keeping your car in tip-top condition and saving you money on large servicing bills. With a 325ml bottle of fuel additives costing around £7, this bottle can treat up to 60 litres of fuel, which works out at 11p per litre of fuel. Using fuel additives on your vehicle is a no-brainer, especially with benefits like these:

  • A more effective engine means better fuel efficiency. Fuel additives help your engine run better which in turn, makes your fuel and money last longer. Did you know, you can actually increase your MPG using fuel additives?
  • Fuel additives keep your engine clean as they are designed to flow easily around the engine, preventing fuel from leaving any debris that can damage your vehicle.
  • Fuel additives can help drivers to reduce their maintenance and fuel costs, as they prevent fuel from degrading which limits the need to make frequent trips to petrol stations or garages.

How low, can you not go?

Driving on low fuel can cause several issues throughout your car. An empty tank can collect dirt that has built up over time which means, when it comes to the fuel being used, it can clog up several components around the vehicle such as the fuel pump and filter. A low tank can also cause your fuel pumps to pump air, which can create issues with components.

Keep your vehicle hydrated

Ensuring that all the fluids in your vehicle are topped up regularly will allow your vehicle to run smoothly. There are 6 fluids that you need to keep on top of and fill up regularly, which are:

  • Engine oil
  • Coolant
  • Power steering fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid

Never tire of checking your tyres

It’s important that drivers regularly check their tyres to ensure that they’re in the right condition and safe for the roads.

Under-inflated tyres will increase fuel consumption which means drivers will need to spend more money on fuel. Flat tyres can also boost the chances of tyres bursting which could become a hazard if you are driving, therefore it is important to regularly check the tyre pressure at any petrol station. Details of the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle can be found in your vehicle handbook.

The legal tread depth for tyres in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre. To check your tyre depth, it is best to buy a tread depth gauge as it allows you to check the tyre’s tread depth quickly. If you are caught driving with a tyre below the minimum tread depth, you could get fined up to £2,500 and risk getting 3 penalty points. If all 4 tyres are worn below the minimum tread depth, then you could see yourself getting hit with a £10,000 fine and possibly losing your licence.

Do simple, regular checks

One of the best ways to keep your vehicle roadworthy is to carry out regular checks. Here is a list of key components that you can look at to spot potential problems which could escalate into bigger issues with even bigger bills:

  • Fuel – Before setting off on your journey, check that you have enough fuel for the journey.
  • Engine Oil – Check your oil level is within the minimum and maximum mark by dipping your car’s dipstick into the engine through the oil cap.
  • coolant – Check your coolant levels to ensure your vehicle’s engine doesn’t freeze or overheat.
  • Electrics – There are lots of different components in a vehicle that will use electricity but the 2 important ones you must do regular checks on are your outside lights and your vehicle battery.
    • Lights – You should have someone walk around your parked vehicle and have them check your side lights, dipped beams, main beams, fog lights, number plate lights, left and right indicators (both front and rear), brake lights, reversing lights and finally the hazard lights.
    • Battery - Ensure your battery is fit for use by making sure the terminals are clean and tight. If there is any sign of corrosion, using hot water and petroleum jelly will clean off any corrosion that may be affecting your battery.
  • screen wash – It typically has a blue cap with a windscreen symbol on it. When re-filling it is best to use a funnel to reduce spillage.
  • engine air filter – It is recommended to have your air filter replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles, keeping your air filter clean and healthy is important for fuel efficiency.
  • spark plugs (petrol engines only) – Spark plugs must be replaced every 30,00 miles. Keep a track of how many miles you have travelled as one or more damaged plugs can lead to engine misfires.
  • Brakes – Your brake fluid level must be topped up regularly to prevent it from falling too low and must be changed at certain mileage intervals.

Service please

It is important that your vehicle goes into service at the right time so that all issues your vehicle may have can be fixed. The law requires you to have a roadworthy vehicle which must pass an annual MOT. You should typically, take your car in for a ‘minor’ service once a year OR every 10,000 miles driven and a ‘major’ service every 2-3 years. These services will have to be taken into consideration when you are budgeting as you might get a nasty surprise when the bill comes in.

What about electric vehicles?

When it comes to keeping your electric vehicle on the move, although it is simpler and more cost-effective compared to ICE vehicles, they require specialist servicing and maintenance. Issues can be spotted easily by checking the diagnostic machine which will point out any possible faults codes that might need resolving – Read our in-depth guide to electric vehicles.

Follow these tips, carry them out regularly and hopefully, you will avoid any unexpected bills! Happy and safe driving everyone. 

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Karl Gurney
Head of Sales

Karl has over 14 years of experience in the fuel card industry and has a wealth of knowledge around the servicing and maintenance of fleet vehicles. Outside of work, Karl coaches a junior football team and enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 sons.