Tips for safely rejoining the road

With many drivers taking to the roads for the first time since lockdown was imposed, it is crucial to ensure your vehicles are roadworthy. The government announced that any car, van or motorcycle MOT due from 30 March 2020 will be extended by six months, however, you should have an obligation to check the safety of your vehicle before you drive it after a long period of time.

Here are a few tips on how to check your vehicles:

Lights

Ensuring your lights are fully functional is vital. However, there are specific lights that can be missed to double check: front and rear headlights, licence plate light, hazards lights, indicators, brake lights. If any of your warning lights are coming on intermittently, it’s worth getting them checked out before booking your MOT.

Tyres

There are two important aspects to maintain when looking after your tyres.

The first is tread. The legal requirement states tyre tread must be at least 1.6mm deep. You can buy tread depth tools that are available in petrol stations or online. Alternatively, you can put a 20p coin in the treads. If you can’t see the outer band, your tyres will need replacing. Plan to ensure you can drive to a garage safely to reduce any unnecessary journeys.

The second feature is pressure. Tyres need to be kept at their optimum pressure found on their sidewall as pressure is gradually lost over time. Even if left stationary for an extended period, the tyres can develop flat spots and lose their roundness. If your car may be idle for several months, roll it carefully now and then to keep them even.

Vehicle liquids

It is sensible to check the levels of fluid to ensure when you do return to the road that your vehicle is car ready.

Ensure your fuel, oil, engine coolant and windscreen cleaner are topped up, so your vehicle is prepared for its next outing.

Here at Fuel Card Services we can help with our new product MyDriveSafe.Expert.

MyDriveSafe.Expert is our daily vehicle checks app that gives drivers a simple, comprehensive range of checklists, covering almost all vehicles and compliance with up to date safety standards. The Company Managers portal allows the fleet manager or business owner to monitor their fleet in one place easily. Any defects registered can then be actioned by the fleet manager or business owner.

For further information on MyDriveSafe.Expert, visit https://www.fuelcardservices.com/my-drive-safe or download our app to improve service, savings, security immediately.

Take care with hay fever medicines, drivers warned

The hay fever season is upon us once more and with grass pollen levels rising, many sufferers will be reaching for the antihistamines to calm their symptoms.

However, one motoring organisation has warned anyone who also needs to drive to check their medication before taking it in case it causes drowsiness.

Common medicines may impair driving

GEM Motoring Assist said some common hay fever remedies can have a sedative effect, potentially making drivers groggy and unable to react to hazards in time.

Chief executive Neil Worth added: “It’s important to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read those warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan to take.”

He also pointed out that the same laws cover over-the-counter remedies as apply to illicit drugs when it comes to impacting driving, meaning those caught ‘under the influence’ of antihistamines could face heavy penalties.

GEM has published a new leaflet called Medicine, Drugs and Driving to help anyone unsure about where they stand on taking particular remedies, which is available now.

Meanwhile, IAM RoadSmart also suggests that people who usually suffer from hay fever might want to take extra precautions before getting behind the wheel, including regularly changing the pollen filter of their vehicle and wiping down dashboards and other fixtures.

According to the NHS, 20 per cent of us suffer from hay fever, with the UK and Sweden having the world’s highest number of sufferers.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Hay fever is a very common ailment, but it can be really serious for drivers. We recommend that everyone should heed this advice – and we hope the ‘season of sneezing’ proves short for those of you currently suffering.”

VCV celebrates world’s longest production run for Transporter

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles (VCV) is celebrating 70 years of the VW Transporter – the
world’s longest continuous production run for a commercial vehicle.

The model has come a long way in its 70 years and remains among the most popular light
commercial vehicles on the market today.

Six generations since 1950

The Transporter T1 was produced from 1950 to 1967 and was the first model to hold this
prestigious name. It was entirely hand-built and saw many of its parts coming from the VW
Beetle, including the engine and gearbox.

Fast forward to the Transporter T2 (1967-79) and the marque saw the model evolve with a
new front end and sliding doors as standard. The Transporter T3 (1979-92), meanwhile, took
the vehicle to new heights of popularity with its expanded cargo space, wider wheelbase and
all-wheel drive.

A technical revolution was seen in the Transporter T4 (1990-2003), with multiple options for
customisation for buyers for the first time. It was then the Transporter T5 (2003-15) that
placed the comfort of drivers at the forefront of design thinking.

Finally, launched last year, the Transporter T6 (2019-present) now comes with all the latest
mod cons, including intelligent driver assistance, infotainment and two-tone paint schemes in
a nod to the T1.

It’s a model that continues to capture the imagination of buyers and one we hope will be in
production for many years more.

Ellie Baker, Brand Manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “The Transporter is a van
that’s synonymous with reliability and functionality. It’s great to see the model reach its 70-
year milestone, with many more years still in store.”

3D-printed parts ‘could be future of vehicle development’

SEAT’s CUPRA design team has unveiled a new 3D printing production technique that the
manufacturer claims could revolutionise car design in the future.

Using 3D-printed parts to test aspects of design like aerodynamics, performance and styling
could be a game-changer for the industry at large.

Swift and efficient production and testing

Xavi Serra, head of technical development at CUPRA Racing, said: “The main goal is to
have a lot of parts in a short time.”

“We can quickly test a wide variety of designs and furthermore, this technology enables us
to react swiftly to any changes in the design process.”

Engineers have developed new production techniques for CUPRA’s Leon Competicion
racing car, with the model featuring a host of 3D-printed parts, including door mirrors, air
intakes and cooling intakes.

Processing from design to having the item ready to fit to the car can be done is as little as 20
hours, while up to six different components can be produced at the same time. It all means
the trial and testing of new components can be significantly sped up.

Mr Serra concluded: “This technology is and will continue to be key in countless fields to
make the most complex ideas a reality.”

Jenny Smith, Product Manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “Developing new, more efficient
ways to test and develop components in the design phase could make the production of new
models all the faster, as well as helping manufacturer’s to save on cost and time spent in
development.”

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or
long-term commitments. Find out how at www.tele-gence.com

Drivers advised on tyre care for laid-up cars

The coronavirus outbreak has had many consequences for the British public, one of which is not
being able to go outside other than for vital reasons like buying food or going to work, if you’re
unable to work from home.

These restrictions mean huge swathes of the population will be making less use of their cars.
There are some benefits to this – like spending less on fuel – but there are also some potential
disadvantages, like the risk of your car experiencing problems because of sustained lack of use.

Since one of the biggest dangers is your tyres sustaining damage, Falken has offered some
advice on how you can maintain your tyres and make sure they’re in good condition.

Increase the pressure

One useful tip is to check your tyre pressures and, while your car is laid up, to increase them by
about 15 PSI over the normal recommended level. This should help to avoid damage and flat
spots while the vehicle isn’t being used.

Leaving a note in the car to remind you to put the pressure back to normal when you start using
it again is a good idea.

Keep the car inside if you can

If you have access to a garage or an indoor space where you can keep your car, this is the time
to use it.

According to Falken, darker and cooler conditions are more conducive to tyre health. If you
have to leave your car outside, you can protect the tyres with covers made from reflective
aluminium material.

Consider jacking up your car

If you expect your car to be out of use for a particularly long time, it might be an idea to jack it
up so the tyres aren't in contact with the ground at all.

You can also use ‘tyre trainers’ that reduce flat spots and prevent degradation of the rubber.

When life returns to normal and you can get back to looking after your car with regular
maintenance, MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can provide access to thousands of
garages nationwide and also save you money on parts and labour.