Winter can be a challenging time for companies that use refrigerated or freezer vans. The colder weather can cause all sorts of mechanical and electrical problems. Regular maintenance and servicing at this time should help reduce the potential for breakdowns if you need to deliver perishable goods.
One area that often causes van issues during winter is battery life. Most people don’t realise that the colder weather puts much more stress on your electrics which can make it difficult to start your van, especially in the morning.
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to ensure that your fridge van battery remains in reasonably good order through the next few months. These include:
- Removing any corrosion that you notice on the battery terminals.
- Giving your battery a regular check.
- Replacing older batteries that may not be operating efficiently anymore.
What Happens to Your Battery?
As the nights draw in and the weather gets colder, one part of your car that comes under stress is the battery. If you’ve ever found it difficult to start on a cold morning, you’ll understand what we’re talking about.
When the temperature drops down to about 0⁰C, you can lose as much as 35% of your battery power. If we have a really cold snap that can mean a loss of 60% of the power. When you come to start your engine in the morning you find little if any charge, especially if you have an older battery. Of course, once you get the van started, the battery will begin to recharge again naturally and there shouldn’t be a problem at all.
If you’re persistently encountering problems, you may want to consider putting in a new battery, especially if it is more than five years old. The battery isn’t the only part of your car that comes under stress during the cold. For example, the oil may thicken which makes starting the car in the cold a lot harder.
There are a few things you can do, however, to make sure you’re battery behaves itself over the winter. Here’s our quick guide:
- It’s important to understand the lifespan of your battery. These can vary between 3 and 10 years depending on the make so it’s worth checking yours with the manufacturer’s specifications. If the battery is past its replacement date, then you might consider getting a new one. Should you need a new battery, always invest in a quality brand that has a longer operating life as this will save you money in the long run.
- Parking in the garage or indoors off the street can be an option and naturally protects you from the much colder weather. People often use their garages for storage and park on the road – it’s worth making a change during the winter.
- You can also get thermal blankets that are designed to be put over the battery and can stop it from getting too cold overnight. Put the blanket on as soon as you shut off the engine and it should help retain that heat for a lot longer.
- Driving more often is another good option. If you’re using your van regularly for your business, then this won’t be an issue. If you only use it for one or two days a week then starting up the engine every morning and letting it run or going for a longish drive can help maintain your electric power.
- If you open the bonnet of your car and check the terminals on your battery, you may notice a white powdery substance. This is a sign of corrosion and can affect the connections and the current. It takes a few minutes to clean these off and reattach the terminals and should make sure your fridge van stays on the road.
- If you have a battery that seems to be near the end of its life, then you may like to take it out and recharge it overnight as an interim measure. Unfortunately, depleted batteries tend to lose their charge more quickly. You might also think about restricting the use of electrics in your van until you have got a replacement.
Fridge Van Hire from FridgeXpress
For businesses that are looking to rent or contract hire refrigerated vans, it’s essential to work with a specialist provider. At FridgeXpress, we have decades of experience in converting and delivering high-quality fridge vans of all sizes across all areas of the UK.
We offer a flexible approach for businesses whether you want to purchase your van outright, rent for a few days or enter into a longer contract hire agreement. With great rates and superb support, our team provide everything you need to stay on the road this winter.