As the cold of winter approaches, the roads become more dangerous and vehicles are more vulnerable to failures due to the increasing adverse weather conditions. Therefore, it is good practice to take extra care by identifying and correcting any possible faults before they end up causing costly problems.
By adopting a preventative maintenance approach across the entire vehicle fleet, operators can feel confident and reassured that the company’s vehicles remain on the road and paying their way, instead of in the workshop, costing money.
As an original equipment (OE) manufacturer and system supplier, Hella is acutely aware that preventing vehicle breakdown is essential and its expertise and experience in the automotive industry means that the company is well qualified to issue maintenance guidance, not just when a vehicle is due its annual test, but on a continuous basis.
Checking the performance, functionality and operation of the service items on a regular basis will also help to extend their life, providing additional cost benefits. However, parts do wear and will need replacing, so an essential element within the preventative maintenance programme is to specify and fit OE quality replacement parts to ensure that the vehicle remains in its optimum working order.
The following guide highlights five key areas that will help to prevent problems and provides step-by-step instruction to reduce the potential risk of expensive vehicle downtime and inconvenience of off-site repair/recovery.
Still the number one cause of vehicle breakdown across Europe, the battery is required not only to get the engine started, but is used in stabilising, filtering and providing the power needed for the vehicle’s ignition system. Therefore, checking the condition of the battery is a necessity.
Firstly, check that the battery is of the correct specification for the application, because it is not uncommon for an incorrect battery to have been installed following a previous replacement. Then check its voltage and charge if required.
Following this, the battery terminals/connections will need to be examined for any damage and that they are securely fastened. It is also important to check the battery casings for any potential signs of leakage and that it is correctly positioned and firmly clamped in the battery housing. Finally, if required, the battery should then be topped up to the maximum safe level with distilled water.
Starter motors are put under enormous strain, particularly when the engine is first started and in sub-zero conditions. It is therefore very important to ensure it is correctly positioned and securely mounted in its housing. The next step is to look at the terminal connections as these must also be securely fastened and show no signs of wear or heat damage.
The alternator is vital to ensure the battery remains well charged and to provide power for the engine’s electrical system. To make sure that it is maintained and functioning as it should, check it is firmly secured and adjusted correctly, as well as the condition and tension of the auxiliary belt that drives it.
Damaged wiper blades can result in poor visibility and, potentially, damage to the vehicle’s windscreen. In order to ensure that the wiper blades are working correctly, it is also important to check wiper arm linkages, as the whole system needs to work in unison. In light rain for example, worn blades can result in increased resistance and drag across the windscreen, putting excess strain on the arms and linkages. Likewise, damaged linkages can cause blades to wear unevenly or more quickly. So naturally, both elements should be replaced with any sign of wear or reduction in wiper performance.
Walking around the vehicle will allow for a closer look at the lighting. Begin by checking for correct positioning, performance, security and functionality of the lights and naturally replace any failed bulbs in the process. Examine the headlights – main and dipped beam – direction indicators, daytime running lights (if fitted), side markers and rear combination lights and markers. If there are any visible signs of damaged or cracked lenses then it is necessary to replace that specific unit.
For more information about the OE quality products available from Hella or for Behr Hella Service, please call customer services on: 01295 662400 or email Hella.sales@Hella.com