It’s so easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, isn’t it? So much so, that we often forget some of the important details.

Take the roadworthiness of your vehicle, for instance. When was the last time you checked the oil, tyres, or topped up the windscreen wash?

It’s so easy to look past this stuff, and you’re not alone if you’ve fallen foul of these checks. However, when you consider how important they are to your safety and ability to get around, it really is worth reserve a special place in your memory for them.

So, let’s consider a few key checks you can make to ensure your vehicle is safe for the road. These apply whether it’s your vehicle, or a hire car or van (although the latter should, obviously, have been checked by your hire company, too!).


Check you can drive it first!

If we take a van as the first example, your license will immediately come into play.

Anyone with a standard driving license can drive a van up to 3.5 tonnes, but if you passed your test after January 1997, you’ll need to pass some extra tests to drive a vehicle that’s any larger.

The same goes if you want to tow a trailer with the van. So, make sure you can drive the vehicle first, always!


Think about the load weight

If you’re using the vehicle with belongings, kit, or something else that will take up considerable space inside, it’s important to ensure that you load it properly and to the correct weight.

Every car and van will have a maximum weight it can safely transport, so if you think you’re going to be pushing it, be sure to check with the manufacturer.

It’s also important to balance the weight correctly and ensure you haven’t added too much stuff to one side, which could result in an unbalanced load and dangerous vehicle on the road.


Check the tyres

If there’s one check you absolutely cannot skip, it’s the state of the tyres on the vehicle you’re intending to drive.

The law in the UK states that the minimum trade depth needs to be 1.6mm. You can buy tools relatively cheaply to test this, but tyres that are significantly past their use-by date will be easy to spot.

Look out for cracks, smooth areas, or the emergence of the tyre’s mesh construction behind the rubber. If it looks dodgy, it is, and you’ll need to get the tyres replaced before taking to the road.

Check your oil, too. Every vehicle will have a dipstick that’s easy to use and which will immediately tell you whether or not there’s enough oil in the engine. If it looks low, top up with the correct oil before setting off on a long journey.


Fuel up

While it’s not a legal requirement to have a certain amount of fuel in the tank, it is useful to know how far you’re travelling, the range in the tank and where the petrol stations are along your route.

So, before any big trip, make sure you fill the vehicle up with the correct fuel and keep an eye on the fuel level during the drive. A bit of time spent mapping out potential fuel pit stops before you set off could save a huge amount of heartache further down the line.


Lastly: insurance documentation!

No matter where you’re going, make sure you have your insurance documentation and driver’s license to hand. You probably won’t need it, but if you’re stopped by the law or need to present it for another reason, it’ll be one weight off your mind.

We hope these tips have helped. Remember, if you want the best, safest van hire, just get in touch with the friendly team at Squab.