- George Poland
- Driving Tips
Tips for Winter Minibus Care
It’s that time of year again…whether we have a very cold or very wet season, it does create extra strain on any vehicle over the winter months.
Hopefully you will find these simple tips useful in caring for your minibus.
Get your Minibus serviced
If your minibus is due a service, get it done before the winter takes hold. At the very least, a safety inspection and levels check would be wise.
While the cold can cause lots of problems for minibuses, up to half of them could have been prevented by regular servicing and maintenance checks.
Brake pads, brake discs and brake fluid should be checked to ensure the brakes are efficient. Bridle Minibus can organise on-site safety checks for you.
Check the battery
With extra vehicle heating requirements, external lighting and cold starts, battery health should be the priority.
Most batteries have an effective life of around five years, but if your minibus is having problems starting, get the battery checked out and replaced if necessary. It should be covered under any maintained lease arrangements.
If your minibus won’t start because of a flat battery, you could try a jump lead start but the safest option would be to call out your roadside rescue service.
Top up engine coolant with antifreeze
Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze in winter. You will need to top it up with antifreeze as it becomes diluted over time.
People make the mistake of topping up with water during the year, so the antifreeze gets over-diluted and freezes during very cold weather. This can lead to the engine over-heating and a very large repair bill.
Check the condition of your tyres
As a vehicle’s tyres are key to both steering and braking, it is essential they are in good condition.
Tyres should be checked for tread depth and any other damage. We recommend a minimum of 3mm depth during the winter, compared to the legal minimum of 1.6mm, as this gives better and safer grip.
Clean your lights
Check that all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are clean. Make sure there are no cracked lenses or blown bulbs. and don’t forget to check full beam headlights, fog lights and indicators for cracks or faults.
Wash your windscreen and wipers
Give your windscreen a thorough clean inside and out and top up your screen washer fluid bottle with winter grade screen wash fluid.
Don’t forget to look at the condition of the wiper blades.
Check for any chips in the windscreen, as these can grow in the cold weather. Also touch up any chips in the bodywork as the salt deposits on the road will attack these.
Prepare for longer journeys
Before setting off on a longer journey, check the weather forecast, travel news and safest routes. Allow extra journey time to avoid having to rush.
Clear all windows of snow and ice using a scraper and de-icer, and ensure you have antifreeze in your car.
Carry a winter car breakdown kit
This should include a shovel, torch, blanket, hi-visibility vest, screenwash, food and drink supplies, scraper and de-icer, and snow grips for your shoes in case you need to walk to safety. Make sure to carry enough equipment for all passengers.
Don’t forget a fully charged mobile phone or charging cable/battery pack.
Ensure you drive according to the road and weather conditions. Bridle Minibus can provide winter driving advice and tuition for inexperienced drivers.
Common sense needs to prevail to reduce the number of accidents, so slow down, stay alert, and stay in control.