Michelin have released advice for fleet managers so they can prepare vehicles to be unused, then maintained whilst left unused and also prepare them for re-entry, when lockdown is over. We have collated this advice, along with some of our own in this handy guide.
Preparing a vehicle to be unused
As with the usual checks you will regularly perform on vehicles, checking tyres for bumps, cuts or penetrations will make sure that the tyre won’t deteriorate over time and need changing when you need to use the vehicle again. If you do need to change the tyre, tyre dealerships are open, some with mobile technicians to support business fleets.
Check tyre pressure, which should be at normal levels for the vehicle. If it’s under-inflated by up to 7psi, then you should be able to re-inflate they tyre safely if it’s also been checked for bumps and cuts. If it’s under-inflated by more than 7psi then it will need to be looked at by an expert. After you’ve checked the pressure, don’t forget to refit the valve cover on every tyre.
Check where you’re parked – try to avoid parking on stones or other objects that might dig into the tyre, pools of liquid such as oil or water, and if you can also avoid exposure to sunlight, this will prolong the tyres life also.
Top the fuel tank up, as this ensures that your tank doesn’t attract condensation, which could cause issues if it was allowed to build up.
If your fleet includes electric vehicles, don’t charge up the battery before it goes into storage as this can affect the battery cells. Instead, keep the vehicle charged between 40 and 70%. You should also park your EVs in the shade, as high outside temperatures can cause the battery to degrade.
Maintaining an unused vehicle
Tyre pressures should be regularly checked and corrected if necessary, every month, with any loss of pressure remedied. If the vehicle has not been moved for four months, rotate the tyres a quarter turn.
When it comes to the engine, if you can’t connect the vehicles’ battery to a mains-powered battery maintainer, then try to start the engine once a week and allow it to run for around 15 minutes. This will allow the battery to charge properly, and if you have petrol cars in your fleet, it will help prevent the engines from flooding.
As you run the engine, it’s also a good idea to check the brakes. Release the parking brake and move the vehicle back and forth. This will help prevent the brakes from seizing up.
Preparing a vehicle for re-entry
Before re-entering any vehicle back into service after a period of storage, tyres should be visually inspected for damage or any unusual signs and pressure should be checked.
Double check tyres for their end of life – they may reach it whilst in storage. Any tyres that have been in service for 10 or more years should be replaced with new tyres, even if they still appear serviceable and are still legal.
For all cars, check under the bonnet for any animals, and any damage that might have been caused by animals. Check fluid levels before starting the engine and check the brakes too.
For your electric vehicles, make sure you check the state of charge before the car is driven off, as charge slowly goes down as each day passes.
You should also double check that the vehicle’s MOT is not due or has expired before driving off. The Transport Secretary has confirmed a 6-month exemption from MOT testing for all cars, vans and motorcycles that have an MOT due after the 30th March 2020.
If you’d like more help and advice with managing your fleet, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.