May 21, 2019

9 everyday driving habits which will damage your vans

New Ford Transit Custom

We’re all guilty of going on autopilot occasionally when stepping behind the wheel, however some of the things we do without even realising may be reducing the lifespan of our vans, in fact the RAC has identified 9. Vansdirect reveals all!

Which of these habits are you guilty of?

1. Resting your hand on the gearstick

Driving instructors usually tell you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times, except when changing gears. Resting your hand on the gearstick is bad for the transmission of your van. The gearstick is hooked to a selector fork which is designed to make connection with a rotating collar for a small period of time. Resting your hand on the gearstick risks applying pressure to the selector fork, result in premature wear.

2. Flooring the accelerator in a high gear

A number of new vans include a feature that indicates the most advisable time to change up or down through the gears, this is there for a reason. Accelerating at low rpm or in a gear which is too high makes the engine work harder, placing strain on the motor. Change down a gear and allow revs to rise before shifting up a gear, particularly important when climbing hills or when carrying heavier loads.

3. Overloading your van

New vans are designed to be tough and carry the heaviest of loads, however exceeding the payload is not only illegal but also places additional strain on the suspension and brakes of your van. Some new vans such as the new Citroen Berlingo feature an overload indicator to let drivers know when they are approaching or exceeding the payload capacity.

4. Switching from drive to reverse before stopping your van

Changing gear between reverse and drive and vice versa in a van with an automatic gearbox is damaging for the transmission. The design of the automatic gearbox is for changing gears, doing this before coming to a halt will cause wear and tear on the transmission of your van.

5. Hitting speed bumps and potholes

A third of all damage to vehicles is as a result of potholes, so it’s best to avoid them, the impact with potholes can result in wheels being buckled, cracked alloys, lumps in the tyre and tracking and wheel balancing problems. Whilst driving over a speed bump without decelerating can result in damage to the front and rear of your van, underside and possibly even the exhaust.

6. Ignoring warning lights

New vans feature numerous lights which should never be ignored. Ensure you know what these lights mean and whether this correspond to the engine, braking system, power steering, airbag, oil pressure or cooling system, don’t be afraid to contact a mechanic if you don’t.

7. Revving your engine when cold

Some may tell you that making regular short trips is detrimental to your van with the engine oil never fully warms up. However, all vans begin from cold, so the vital thing is to not rev the engine until it has warmed up, giving the oil time to circulate around the engine and warm, avoiding undue wear and tear and potential damage.

8. Braking late

You may be required at some point to perform and emergency stop where sudden braking is a necessity, however braking late consistently will place additional strain on your brakes, wearing out the discs and pads faster as well as costing you more in fuel. A slower approach to the road ahead is better for the environment and your van.

9. Dragging your brakes downhill

Dragging your brakes is poor practice and is likely to increase wear and tear on brake discs and pads, meaning you’ll need to replace them more often. When travelling downhill, it’s recommended to use a low gear whilst applying some light braking, then releasing the pedal to allow the brakes to cool down.

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