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Are your van tyres safe, legal, and efficient?

When you drive a van, there are a set of questions you always need to know the answer to. Where are you going? What are you transporting? Will the customer be in? Is your cargo safely secured in the back for the van?

These are the day-to-day questions you’ll ask, but you need to add another to that list. How are the tyres?

With all the miles you will put into a van, the tyres really should be your chief concern. They are the only thing connecting you to the road. They influence your stopping distance, your ability to steer and even your fuel efficiency.

Here’s what you need to know about checking your tyres:

Tyre tread

The law is the same for van tyres as it is for car tyres. They must have a tread depth of 1.6mm. It is obviously not ideal to be running a van at the limit and it will impact your ability to brake and steer. It will be especially noticeable in wet conditions.
It is regarded as good practice to change your tyres when they have 3mm of tread left. It’s really important to remember to check your tread regularly. When you are moving a heavy load with a lot of stop-start braking, the last thing you want to be concerned about is if your tyres are up to the job.

Pressure

Checking your tyres is more than just checking for tread and damage, it’s about maintaining the right pressure in them. Running under-pressurised tyres will greatly increase your fuel usage, your stopping distance and wear out your tyres quicker. In the same way that over-pressurised tyres will affect your steering and driving style. Running the tyres at the pressures they were designed for is the best way to get maximum life from them, increase your fuel efficiency and improve your driving experience.

Buy Efficient Tyres

All tyres are rated on their fuel efficiency. The rating runs from A, as the most efficient, to G for the least efficient. Buying as high up the scale as your budget will afford will save you fuel costs later on.

Driving a van should not be a stressful experience, making sure you have safe, legal and efficient tyres will help to make your journey as smooth as possible. Making a tyre check a part of your pre-driving routine will help you in the long run.

How to Check Your Van before a Road Trip

caro

If you’re heading off on a long road trip, you need to check your van before you go. While you’re at home it’s fairly easy to fix problems and your local garage probably isn’t far away; on the road, you may be miles from anywhere when it breaks down.

First check that you have all your paperwork

If you have problems with the vehicle, you’ll need your service log and registration papers. Remember to take insurance and breakdown companies’ phone numbers with you.

What’s the last time you had a full check-up? Is one due shortly? It might be a good idea to bring it forward and get it done before the trip.

Check your levels

All the different fluids in your engine need checking.

  • Check your oil with the dipstick; if it’s running low, top it up. (If you’ve been putting off an oil change, get it done now.)
  • Check the windscreen washer fluid, and top it up if you need to. While you’re about it, check your wipers – are they doing a good job? If not, replacing them is an easy job.
  • Check the levels of antifreeze and coolant.
  • Check your brake fluid. If it’s a little bit low, top it up; if it is very low, or fills and then disappears, you may want to get your brakes checked professionally, as there could be a problem.

Check your tyres

First of all, inspect visually to make sure your tread hasn’t worn bare. Then measure the air pressure; you’ll find the recommended PSI figure on the side of the tyre. Check the spare tyre too!

Check your brakes

If they squeal, groan or grate, get them professionally checked.

Check your lights

Make sure they’re all working. If you park with the back of the van facing a wall or window you’ll be able to see the rear indicators, reversing and brake lights.

Make sure your battery’s charged and the terminals aren’t corroded.

Finally, even though you’ve checked everything’s working, pack an emergency kit with a strong torch, jump leads, a first aid kid, and basic tool kit. And include a packet of baby wipes, as there’s nothing worse than having oily hands after you’ve fixed your engine!

 

7 Reasons to Work for Yourself.

postal delivery courier in a van showing thumb up hand sign

So you’ve decided to bite the bullet, give your notice in at work, and go self-employed. Or maybe you’ve graduated college, or even dropped out, because working for yourself is all you want to do. Here are 7 reasons why it could be the best decision you’ve ever made.You’re your own Boss:

Whether you have decided to become a self-employed bricklayer, open a small cafe or tea-room, or become an internet entrepreneur, you are the boss. You rise or fall by your own decisions. For most self-employed people, no matter what their field, it’s this that drives them forward.

Flexible Hours:

Yes, you can start work whenever you like. But, be warned, flexible doesn’t equate to short, or a few hours a day. Unless you have a product everyone wants, and no one else sells, you’ll be putting in longer hours than your ex-work colleagues, at least in the early days.

Reach for the Moon:

Many people start working for themselves part-time. They want to make a bit of pin money, or supplement a not-very-well paid job. Others will say they just want to earn X amount per week. Unfortunately, for the true entrepreneur that time never comes. Seeing their business grow, increasing turnover, building a reputation, is where the buzz is. Reaching for the stars is the only way to go.

Broaden your Expertise:

Whether from home, or on the internet, as your own boss you get to broaden your areas of expertise. You’re going to need to wear a variety of different hats. Become your own accounts manager. Stock control and purchase manager, and deal with all your advertising requirements. When you’re behind the driving wheel, you’ve got to do the driving.

Job Satisfaction:

There is nothing more satisfying when self-employed, than watching your business grow. Of course, if it’s not, then putting the problem right, changing things around to get it heading in the right direction, can be equally rewarding.

Nothing Succeeds like Success:

Getting your business to the point where it makes its first pound is success. You’re on the right road, success breeds success, and you’re heading toward your next pound, and more success. No doubt there will be down times, getting over them, and back on track means more success, and an increased feeling of achievement.

Tax Incentives:

Once established as your own boss, you are financially independent. Being able to work the hours you wish to earn the amount you wish. You can sub-contract work out, taking a percentage of the fee, while you are completing other work. On top of that, as a self-employed person, there are a variety of tax allowances to which you are entitled. Make the most of them.

Before taking the plunge, do your homework, and give yourself the best possible chance to succeed. Nobody said it would be easy, but it can be very, very, rewarding.

Keeping Cool In Your Car This Summer

AC
The heat of the summer can make driving an uncomfortable experience. If you don’t enjoy intense heat, especially when you get into your car that has been parked in the sun for many hours, you may find the following tips regarding staying cool in the car useful:

Keeping the car cool before driving

When your car is not in use, leave some blankets on the seats. These will shield the seats from exposure to direct sunlight. An alternative to blankets is using sunshade. You can find sunshades that are made of aluminum foil and are designed for back seat and front seat windows. Parking the car in the shade is also highly recommended whenever possible. 

Keep your belongings out of the sun

Tapes, sunglasses, water bottles, or any other items in your car must be kept away from direct sunlight. Try storing these underneath the seat and make sure you cover them with a blanket. Alternatively, you may conceal your belongings in the boot of your car. 

Park in a garage or carport when possible

If your home has a garage or carport, even if it is warm inside the garage, it will still be beneficial to park the vehicle away from direct sunlight. 

Keeping the car cool whilst driving

To combat the sun whilst driving, try and install tinted glass as this allows light to pass through without heating the windows. Some tinted windows allow up to 70 per cent light to pass through the window depending on how dark the tint is. 

Be sure to keep coolant in the car

Antifreeze or coolant will keep the engine cool and prevent it from reaching high boiling point. In case of long distance road trips, it is best to keep an extra bottle of antifreeze in the boot of your car. 

Use window visor

Many car owners swear by the effectiveness of window shades to keep the vehicle cool in the surging temperatures. Every time you exit your car for longer than half an hour, put up a window visor to keep the interior cool. 

Buy a solar-powered fan for inside the car

When you are going on a road trip with your family, why not opt for a solar-powered fan to keep the inside of your car cool and pleasant. Even in the hottest summer days, these fans will extract hot air from your car by constantly circulating the air to decrease the overall temperature. This will make your driving experience in the summer months a highly enjoyable one. 

The 5 Best UK Driving Roads

roads
Glasgow to Fort William – A82
This 140 mile route along the A82 begins in the heart of Glasgow, travelling northwest through some of the city’s famous suburbs including, Kelvinside, Anniesland, and Clydebank before heading North along one of the most dangerously narrow roads in Scotland, peppered with hair-pin bends around the shores of Loch Lomond to Tarbet. Travelling on to Fort William you pass Rannoch Moor and go through Glen Coe. From Fort William the road skirts the west coast of Loch Ness, with stunning views of Ben Nevis in the background.


Black Mountain Pass – A4069
Stray sheep and difficult bends are some of the pleasures of traversing this 23 mile stretch rising to a height of 493m (1,617ft)over the Black Mountain, in the Brecon Beacons, Wales. This is a challenging road which since being featured on BBC’s Top Gear, attracts drivers, but watch out for Mobile Speed Cameras (hidden in things like horse boxes, and workmen trucks). The road connects Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen with Llandovery via Brynamman and Llangadog.


The Cat and Fiddle – A537
This 12.5 miles rollercoaster of a road runs through the Peak District National Park from Buxton to Macclesfield. Considered one of the most dangerous roads in the UK, it presents a challenge to motorists and motor cyclist alike with its steep climb, stray sheep and many tight bends. The biscuit tin views are well worth the effort though. The route gets its name from the Cat and Fiddle pub at the summit.


The Evo Triangle – A543, A5 and B4501
So named because EVO Magazine road test cars they review along it. Sweeping bends and beautiful, big sky scenery takes the driver on a 20 mile circular route over Welsh moorland. The drive incorporates a stunning view of the Llyn Brenig Lake as you drive onto Pentrefoelas before heading back to the village of Cerrigydrudion


The Buttertubs Pass
This route from Thwaite to Hawes takes the driver through 5.5 miles of the Yorkshire Dales along a C road referred to as “England’s only truly spectacular road” by Jeremy Clarkson; a Yorkshire man himself. The scenery is spectacular, beginning with a steep climb for the first couple of miles out of Thwaites to the peak which provides views of the dramatic limestone scenery and the potholes formed by the rock face where, it is said, farmers used to stored their butter; hence the name. From the peak the road descends rapidly through High Shaw and Simonstone into Hawes where you might just be able to pick up some real Wensleydale cheese.