Honest John: think twice before skipping van maintenance

Honest John: think twice before skipping van maintenance

Millions of potentially unsafe vehicles could be returning to the nation’s roads as the UK emerges from the pandemic, says Dan Powell of Honest John Vans.

Builders are being urged to think twice before skipping important van maintenance after it emerged that one in five drivers have delayed or skipped their vehicle’s service due to the pandemic. A survey of 2,558 motorists by HonestJohn.co.uk found 22 per cent of drivers have not had their vehicle serviced over the past 12 months, while a further one in ten (12 per cent) said they will delay or skip their vehicle’s next scheduled van maintenance service.

Dan Powell, Editor at Honest John Vans, said: “Servicing your van is critical to keeping it running well and reducing the risk of road accidents, and I would urge all builders to ensure their commercial vehicles are in optimum working order. A full service history shows you have cared for the van and will allow you to command a top price when it comes to selling or part exchanging your vehicle for a newer model. It can also lower your fuel costs as dirty or worn air and fuel filters can force the engine to work much harder than it should.”

For those who delayed their vehicle’s service over the past twelve months, almost half (46 per cent) cited lack of use as the primary factor — while 13 per cent said it was as a result of having to stay at home and shield due to Covid-19.

Honest John’s van maintenance tips


You should check the tyres every two weeks. Look out for any unusual bulges or dents in the sidewalls, as these may be signs of internal damage (caused by a road impact or kerb strike). The minimum legal tread depth for a tyre in the UK is 1.6mm: you can use a 20p coin to check the tread – if the outer band of the coin is visible then the tyre may be under the legal limit. Be sure to check the tyre in several spots as uneven wear may give you a false reading.

Engine oil

It’s important to check the oil every couple of weeks, as too much or too little can cause serious damage to the internal components. Make sure the van is parked on a flat surface when you check any fluid levels as doing so on a slope may result in an incorrect reading.


Faulty or broken lights are one of the most common failure categories in the MOT, but many of these are issues that could be cheaply fixed at home with a bulb replacement. Make sure that your lights are working and aligned correctly by driving up to a wall at night. If one of the headlight beams is higher than the other then your lights may be misaligned. You can also back up your van to a wall to check that the brake lights are working properly.


Some vans suffer from parasitic battery drain, which occurs when a switch remains live long after the ignition has been turned off. You can avoid this problem (and find the faulty circuit) by switching the van’s internal lights and radio off before you turn off the ignition.


It is vital that you stick to your van’s recommended service schedule. A basic service will replace the oil and oil filter, while a major service may change the spark plugs, fuel filter, air filter and brake fluid. Both a minor and major service will include a mechanical inspection of the van that will flag up any potential problems.

For more van and pick-up advice, visit www.honestjohn.co.uk/ or type “Honest John Vans” into your online search engine.

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