We’ve all followed that grubby van, once white, now grey, in whose covering of ingrained muck some wag has scrawled “Even dirtier than your mum”.
But keeping your van clean and in good condition isn’t just a way of making sure you’re not getting laughed at by your fellow travellers. It makes your van last longer, cost less to maintain and hold its value better.
First, there’s the question of image. A dirty, uncared-for van is a bad look. If customers can see that you don’t take pride in your van, why should they trust you to take pride in the work you do?
And if you don’t keep your van clean, the bird droppings, dust and salt that build up will actually start to damage the bodywork. Insurers Staveley Head explain: “Dirt acts like sandpaper, and over time will wear away your van’s protective coating.” You can end up with permanent marks on the bodywork, rust, scratches and dull paint. Plus dirty windscreens, windows and mirrors can reduce visibility – and your headlights and indicators need to be clean so other road users can see you.
Second, small maintenance issues which aren’t dealt with can become big issues, which cost more money, time (that’s lost working time) and labour to repair. They can also put a strain on your van, impacting things like fuel economy, and cause long-term damage. Journalist Dan Parton, writing for The Van Expert, said: “While regular maintenance may cost time and money, it should be viewed as an investment that saves more in the long run.” A van that’s in good condition will also fetch a better price when you sell it.
The government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency recommends checking the following each day:
You should have your van serviced regularly, in line with the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, which you’ll find in your van’s manual. It’s usually every year or every two years.
It’s important to stick to the service schedule even if everything seems to be working – it allows you to spot any problems early, it may be a condition of your warranty, and being able to show a full service history will make your van easier to sell.
At used van dealers Vanwise, we sell a wide range of used vans of a variety of makes and models – and our in-house technicians carry out servicing and repairs too, so you have someone you can trust to keep your van in tip-top condition.