Wash away those winter blues!
As winter descends upon the UK, it’s time to get fleets ready for the challenging conditions that lie ahead. Cold temperatures, road salt and wet roads can wreak havoc on vehicles.
The weather in the winter months in the UK can be very changeable, with many fleet drivers caught off guard by ice and water on the roads. Even for some of the most experienced drivers, journeys can become very treacherous when faced with extreme fog, wind, sleet, ice and snow.
Naturally, fleets should undergo regular checks of all tyre treads, tyre pressures, windscreen wipers, brake pads and batteries to ascertain they meet requirements and/or work efficiently. Depending on the type of vehicles, managers may consider switching to winter tyres to ensure that the drivers can best cope with heavy snow or ice. It is also important to make sure that all vehicles are using a recommended antifreeze in both the radiator and windscreen wash to protect against extreme temperatures.
Finally, and arguably one of the most significant safety checks, is the cleanliness of the windscreen, rear screen, side windows, mirrors, headlights, fog lights, indicators and brake lights. Driving in hazardous conditions with impaired visibility due to dirty screens and windows is reckless and should never be undertaken. Similarly, the more dirt shrouding the light coming from the vehicle’s headlights, the less effective they will be at illuminating the road ahead and making it harder for oncoming traffic and other road users to see the vehicle. Furthermore, if the headlights or windscreens are obscured and therefore deemed a major safety risk, the police can stop the driver and hand out a substantial on-the-spot fine.
Winter weather woes
Even in the warmer summer months, fleet cars, vans, buses and heavy goods vehicles are prone to accumulating grime throughout the day, predominantly from exhaust fumes, tar, bird droppings, and brake dust, especially in inner-city areas. However, in winter months, an excess of sleet, mud, snow, grit salt and slush leads to much dirtier vehicles, making regular cleaning even more necessary.
When it comes to the vehicle’s undercarriage and wheel arches, the worst offender by far is road salt, which eats away at the chassis and arches, creating untold hidden damage. Many local councils grit roads with salt during winter to break up the ice and reduce the likelihood of accidents, leaving fleet managers to deal with the aftermath.
It is crucial to remove these contaminants from the bodywork as quickly as possible before they have a detrimental impact on the vehicle’s paintwork, contributing to premature wear and possible rust, oxidation or corrosion on the exterior finish.
Using an automatic car wash in the winter
Keeping the fleet clean is an essential component of a company’s maintenance programme, in terms of the life expectancy of the vehicles and brand identity. This is especially true during the winter months when the level of road grime and debris is at its highest.
For larger fleet operators, investing in an on-site wash facility will ultimately save time and money. Whilst the initial outlay may seem formidable, especially for companies working under tight budget constraints, the automatic car/van or truck/bus wash will soon prove its worth and provide a return on investment (ROI) in a relatively short timeframe.
Automatic car washes can swiftly remove salt, de-icing chemicals and other road grime from the vehicle’s bodywork and undercarriage, preventing potential rust and corrosion and helping to keep the paintwork looking fresh.
Automatic car washes can save fleet managers time and money during the winter months. Outsourcing wash facilities can be very expensive and a logistical nightmare, particularly in winter when vehicles require regular cleaning to keep them in a roadworthy condition.
How cold is too cold for an automatic car wash?
Typically, most automatic car washes will go into ‘frost protection’ mode when the temperature drops below 2 degrees Celsius (35.5 degrees Fahrenheit). This results in a complete shutdown of the wash facility and its compressor will then come into operation, blowing air through the lines to force out all of the water in the hose pipes to avoid freezing and subsequent damage.
In any event, it is best practice not to wash vehicles in freezing temperatures as water will collect and freeze in the seals, locks, door jambs and shut gaps, making access to the vehicle extremely difficult.
TSG Wash is here to help
With over 30 years of expertise in the sector, TSG works together with businesses to fully leverage the potential of the site and available budget.
As an exclusive partner with Kärcher, TSG Wash specialises in the supply and installation of professional fully automated car/van and truck/bus wash solutions, jet washes and vacuum cleaners, backed up by a comprehensive service and maintenance package.
TSG provides a range of high-performance cleaning agents that are formulated to achieve superior wash results, whilst delivering total protection for the equipment, vehicles and the environment.
Kärcher Commercial Wash Solutions
The Kärcher CWB3 KLEAN!STAR and CB line gantry washing systems are suitable for locations with everything from low to particularly high washing volumes, comprising basic equipment through to premium systems. Each solution can be tailored exactly to business requirements and comes with a wide range of additional options and equipment components.
The TB 50 gantry wash is designed for automatic exterior cleaning of large commercial vehicles. The 3-brush gantry offers a washing height of up to 5.05 metres and a maximum width of 2.9 metres.
CWB3 KLEAN!STAR / KLEAN!STAR iQ
The new series of CB wash solutions from Kärcher, designed for fast wash programmes, offers middle and premium-class automatic car washing.
Service and maintenance
Car wash facilities must be regularly serviced and maintained to identify issues before they impact daily performance. TSG provides tailored scheduled maintenance packages for all vehicle wash equipment to prevent needless downtime and safeguard operational efficiency.