How to keep your van roadworthy during the lockdown

Although van MOT expiry dates have been extended, it remains the responsibility of owners or fleet operators to ensure the vehicle is safe to drive

How to keep a van roadworthy

Van drivers are helping to keep the country running during the coronavirus crisis. Whether it’s delivering groceries to properties or transporting essential items for the NHS, van drivers provide a vital service.

Any MOTs for vans which expired on or after 30 March have been extended by six months. This means certificates are still valid, but it’s no guarantee that the van is roadworthy.

ALSO READ: 14 ways to make your car last longer

However, as the government points out, it’s the responsibility of the van owner or fleet operator to ensure the vehicle is safe to drive and roadworthy.

You could be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three penalty points for driving a van in dangerous condition.

With this in mind, Volkswagen has a list of tips for keeping your van roadworthy.

Van driver

David Hanna, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “Extending the MOT is great news for many drivers who would be unable to book in for a test but it does put the onus on owners and fleet managers to ensure the vans on the road remain roadworthy.

“We’ve compiled these top tips which can be done at home to make sure you to stay on the right side of the law during the COVID-19 crisis. And even if your van isn’t being used at the moment, when you go back to work it’s just as important to complete these checks, too.

“And if drivers identify any serious issue, we’re proud that nearly all our van centres and authorised repairers across the UK are open during the crisis for essential maintenance for key workers.”

How to keep your van roadworthy

  • Tyres. Use a 20p coin to check that the tyres have at least 1.6mm of tread depth. If not, you’ll need to change at least one of the tyres.
  • Brakes. Any judder through the steering wheel could be a sign of warped discs. Also look out for excessive travel on the brakes, as this could be a sign of a hydraulic fault. Make sure the ABS light goes off when the van is running.
  • Lights. One of the most common reasons for a vehicle failing an MOT. Check front and rear bulbs, including brake and reversing lights. Also check the lights are properly aligned.
  • Steering. Serious squeals or judders are a sign of potential failure. Make sure the van isn’t pulling to the left or right.
  • Number plates. Make sure the plates are clean and be clearly read. Don’t forget to the check the number plate light bulbs – this is an MOT checkpoint.
  • Battery. Inspect the battery for any leaking, corrosion or loose cables. Weak headlights or a struggling starter motor are signs that the battery could need replacing.
  • Windscreen. Make sure the wipers are not smearing the screen. Any stone chips should be investigated – they could be repaired without the need for a new windscreen.
  • Fluids and oils. Check the brake fluid, engine coolant, engine oil and power steering fluid. Check for any puddles under the van.
  • Screenwash. An empty bottle is an MOT fail – keep it topped up.
  • Load bay and trailer. Check the door locks are in full working order. Also inspect a trailer, tow bar and any electrical fittings.

Click here for advice on how to pass an MOT at the first attempt


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Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Writer with a penchant for #FrenchTat. Also doing a passable impression of Cousin Eddie in an Italian-German beige motorhome.


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