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Winter fleet maintenance; what your boss wants to know this winter

Fleet maintenance can be a complicated business. As well as ensuring your vehicles are safety compliant, they also need to keep running regardless of the weather.

During the winter this can be a real challenge here in the UK, where temperatures and conditions are as unpredictable as the news.

Whilst servicing and maintenance are standard practice for any reputable firm, cleaning habits can vary. But any competent fleet operator will tell you that the long-term health of your vehicles is dependent on good cleaning practices.

With that in mind, here are some tips designed to help you stay on top of winter fleet maintenance.

Pay attention to the simple things first

Frequent routine maintenance is incredibly important as it can dramatically reduce time your vehicles spend off the road.

Special consideration needs to be made for the winter months which play havoc on vehicles and can lead to additional wear and tear. This needs to be closely monitored and kept in check.

Routine Mechanical Maintenance

A simple routine of checking the mechanical state of your vehicles will help you avoid any nasty surprises.

Things like engine oil, tire wear (frequent tire rotation will help get maximum life out of your tires), mileage, engine coolant, are well practised.

But often over looked in the winter months are things like the effect of air temperature on tire pressure. This can have a negative knock-on effect on the health of vehicles, so pay attention to sudden shifts in temperature and instil the importance of checking such things with your drivers.

Double down on cleaning during winter months

Keeping your vehicle clean is always important to avoid things like rusting parts that can become hidden under collected grime.

These can evolve into more serious problems if they go on untreated for long periods of time.

During winter months these problems become exacerbated by the harsh conditions. Here in the UK we expect our vehicles to have a shorter life than others in warmer climes. It’s one of the reasons why we buy more vehicles here than many other European countries.

When your vehicles are being pummelled by temperature fluctuations, corrosive de-icing salts and wet, muddy roads, it pays to double down on your cleaning practices.

We have a number of excellent solutions for easily keeping the exterior of your vehicles clean throughout the year. Here are a few:

TRANSCLEAN®AUTOWASH 669

A high-performance concentrated bus and vehicle cleaner designed specifically for use through automatic brush washes, pressure washers.

CONSOL LPH 686

Highly dilatable and effective hard surface cleaner and degreaser. Removes grime, hydrocarbon and food oils and greases.

SCREENWASH PREMIUM 3041

Versatile screen wash for both winter and summer. Can be diluted with up to 4 volumes of water for use in summer.

Dirty vehicle interiors increase staff absenteeism

It’s not all about getting maximum mechanical life from your vehicles. You want to make sure the interiors are kept clean, to avoid costly interior repairs.

This keeps employees and any members of the public that enter the vehicle happy and safe.

Don’t forget that that anyone using the vehicle is bringing the outside conditions into the vehicle with them. Corrosive road salts, ice, grime and dirt all find their way into the interiors and get to work damaging the vehicle from the inside.

Don’t forget that clean interior also stops the spread of germs and reduce staff sickness levels.

Test have found vast quantities of human mucus even in single-owner second hand cars, so it doesn’t bear thinking about what could be lurking in the average driver cockpit.

We have a selection of chemicals specifically designed to keep your driver interiors healthy, happy places:

DEEP FRESH 1801

Cleans and Freshens the Interiors Buses and Coaches. A Powerful and pleasantly perfumed general cleaner and degrease developed specifically for difficult to remove stains.

MARATHON®SHINE 414

Metallised emulsion floor polish that produces excellent durability and gloss. For use on non-porous synthetic surfaces, PVC and rubber floors.

Depot winterisation programmes

Keeping your depot clean is also an incredibly important part of fleet maintenance.

Although a spotless depot should be a matter of professional pride anyway, remember that it’s the winter months that do 80% of the damage.

Having a winterisation cleaning programme is the key to preventing the kind of build ups that become costly in the long-run.

POWERPLUS HD 889

Highly dilutable and effective hard surface cleaner and degreaser. Removes heavy grime, hydrocarbon and food oils and greases.

SUPER CONSOL 861

Super Consol is a highly dilutable and effective hard surface cleaner and degreaser.

LOOSOL 202

Fast acting, biodegradable duo-acid, that quickly dissolves scale. It will quickly and efficiently remove unsightly, unhygienic, odour-producing scale from a variety of surfaces including toilets, urinals, wash basins, lavatory and washroom floors.

Winterisation products that protect assets

Although winter can play havoc on your fleet, using harsh chemicals can be just as damaging. They can lead to extra corrosion, and rust problems.

It is absolutely necessary to have powerful chemical de-icers to keep surfaces clear and ready for use.

However, as is often the case, many effective chemicals are harmful to the surface being treated and could lead to a dramatically shortened lifespan for your fleet.

Taking the time to source and use better, more advanced, cleaning systems is the key to making sure that your winterisation products aren’t causing as much harm as the weather outside.

Don’t be fooled by cheap, quick fixes.

Managing the environment

A joint benefit of using more advanced cleaning solutions is the positive impact your business will have on both the local and global environment.

A number of common cleaning agents, as well as many de-icers and other winterisation products, contain dangerous and non-biodegradable raw materials such as:

  • Nitrilo Triacetate Acid “NTA”: possible cancer causing properties
  • Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid “EDTA”: non-biodegradable
  • Sodium Hydroxide (known as “Caustic”): potential for corrosion/surface damage
  • Phosphates: negatively effects effluent levels/promotes algae growth
  • Hydrofluoric Acid
  • Sulphuric Acid

Not only do these chemicals cause health hazards for both your fleet of vehicles and your staff, they also pose serious long-term risks to wildlife and the natural environment.

We have worked with our clients to create products that not only fit recommended PH ranges, leading to longer lifespans of equipment, but also that don’t contain dangerous, environmentally unfriendly materials like these.

Check out our full range of safe, environmentally-friendly winterisation products at https://chela.co.uk/winterisation/

Conclusion

A dedicated winterisation cleaning and maintenance programme is the key to keeping your fleet of vehicles on the road during these harsh months. It also leads to healthier staff and happy accountants.

If you’re looking for further advice on working with safe, efficient and environmentally friendly Winterisation products, get in touch. We will be happy to discuss your requirements.

To find out more about us you can read some of our cleaning case studies and discover why we are one of the UK’s leading suppliers of intelligent cleaning solutions for the most demanding applications in transport, construction and industry.