What are daily walkaround checks for vans and why are they important?

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Updated 04/01/2023

Daily walkaround checks are required for HGV and PSV vehicles by the DVSA, with fines being issued to drivers who fail to comply with the guidance. Although punishments and restrictions for vans aren’t as heavy as those imposed on HGVs, van drivers should still carry out daily walkaround checks to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and working optimally. No matter whether you’re a single driver of a commercial van or you operate an entire fleet, there are various steps you should take.

In this guide, we will explore the different types of daily checks you should carry out on your van, as well as how you can successfully carry them out. Also, we will look into whether or not daily walkaround checks are a legal requirement for vans, and what you should do if your van fails a daily check.

What daily walkaround checks should I carry out on my van?

Van drivers should check the inside and outside of their vehicles every single day to make sure that they are working optimally. The interior checks include:

Brakes

Drivers should check that the foot or service brake and the handbrake is working correctly, and that both do not have excessive travel and stop your van in a timely manner.

Lights

All lights, such as brake, reverse and headlights, must be working correctly. To test, turn on your headlights and hazard lights when your vehicle is parked and stationary. Put your foot on the brake and see whether the light is reflecting on a surface, or get someone to help you check. You should also make sure that all lights are the right colour, and dashboard lights such as the automatic braking system should be working too.

Horn and steering

Make sure that the horn is working and reachable, and that the steering has no excessive play.

Seats and seatbelts

All seats should be secure, and the seatbelts should be easy to move and operate with no cuts or visible issues that could impact their use.

Mirrors and glass

Before setting off, you should check that your rear-view mirror and wing mirrors are aligned to give you a good view of the road behind you. Make sure that your view through the windscreen is not hindered by factors such as smashed glass and stickers.

Wipers

Your windscreen wipers should be fully operational and are not so deteriorated that they do not clear the windscreen effectively and your vision is obstructed. Any large streaks left behind may make the vehicle unsafe to drive if the streaks affect your view of the road. You should also make sure that your washer fluid is topped up.

Exterior checks that need to be carried out in the daily walkaround check of your van include:

Fuel and oil

Your van’s fuel cap should be fitted correctly, and nothing should be leaking and causing a puddle of fluid under your van. Any leaks must be traced to determine what the fluid is. Fluid levels that need to be checked include:

  • Power steering fluid

  • Windscreen wash

  • Oil

  • Engine coolant

  • Brake fluid

Battery

The battery should not be leaking and must be held in place securely and correctly.

Tyres

Each tyre must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, and they must be sufficiently inflated. There should be no deep cuts on the tyres, and no missing or loose wheel nuts.

Exhaust

The driver should check that no excessive amount of smoke is emitted, as this can signal an issue with the engine.

Doors

All doors should close securely and no severe damage or sharp edges should be present. Any doors that are loose are a hazard to the driver, passengers and other road users

Load and tow bars

Van loads should be secure inside the van, and the tow bar should connect easily to a trailer, with all electrics working. The tail lift should also be free from damage.

A van driving on a motorway

How do I carry out daily checks on my van?

It is advised that van drivers carry out their daily checks every single day before they set off. The driver should be thorough and check all elements mentioned above. Drivers should equip themselves with a checklist and mark off all passes and faults, which should be reported to the relevant person within their company. If self-employed, the driver should take their own initiative and should not drive their van if it is unsafe to do so.

Keeping a record of your van safety checks can be difficult and time-consuming. With the AssetGo app, all data is stored securely, and the digital checklists provided can take away the painstaking task of filling them out on paper and sending them to your fleet manager. To find out more, you can get in touch with us today.

Are daily walkaround checks for vans a legal requirement?

Although daily walkaround checks of your van should be part of your overall maintenance programme, the requirements are not as strict or compliance heavy as they are for HGVs and PSVs. However, the DVSA can still pull your van over to check that it is roadworthy. Therefore, you should still adhere to DVSA guidance when driving your van and make sure you check all of the aforementioned elements before setting off on your journey.

Like all vehicles, certain aspects of your van should meet the relevant legal requirement, otherwise, they will be declared unsafe. For example, any van driven with tyres under a 1.6mm tread depth could result in you gaining three points on your licence.

What should I do if my van fails its daily checks?

If you find a defect that is dangerous and leaves your van unroadworthy, you should refrain from driving your van until the problem is fixed. You should report the defect to the relevant person within your company, or send it to a garage. If you are unsure as to whether the fault is dangerous, you should get a second opinion before driving your van.

The DVSA may not punish you for a defect that isn’t dangerous, but it is still better to get any issues checked as quickly as possible.

Close-up of instrument panel

How AssetGo can help

Here at AssetGo, our app can help you carry out your daily walkaround checks on a range of commercial vehicles, such as HGVs, vans, minibuses and trailers. Our customisable checklists can be accessed easily, with all data sent off efficiently to the appropriate people. All data from the daily checks is stored securely, so you no longer need to worry about misplacing your checklists. Our checklists are also timestamped so you can oversee the quality of the daily checks being completed.

To find out more, or to request a demo, you can get in touch with a member of our team today.

Common queries

How often should van walkaround checks be completed?

You should aim to carry out thorough checks of your van every day before setting off on your journey

What is the purpose of daily vehicle checks

Checking for vehicle defects daily can improve road safety, and can give the driver peace of mind as they drive. It can also ensure that your vehicle is fully compliant, and you can avoid punishment given out by the DVSA during a vehicle inspection

Should checks be performed before I drive my van?

You should aim to carry out your daily walkaround checks before you set off on your journey. If a new van driver drives your vehicle on the same day, they should carry out their own checks too for extra safety

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