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Consumables: The overlooked bits

@walmart Keeping your lorry, truck or HGV in good condition has its obvious range of benefits. Regular maintenance and  servicing prolongs the  life  of the vehicle, reduces overall repair costs and keeps the drivers and passengers safe.

Similarly, industrial machines need regular checks and servicing to keep them running, extend their life and reduce  downtime.

Looking after vehicles and machines can determine how long they last for. Care and consideration can extend the  life of both for years,  in  some cases even decades.

What can often be overlooked with both vehicles and machines are consumables, the parts that collectively  contribute to their running  and effectiveness.

Consumables come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and when overlooked can lead to short/mid or long term damage.

 What is a consumable?

A consumable is commonly, a good that can be used up ‘relatively quickly’ and are sometimes referred to as ‘non-durable’.

Vehicle consumables 

The amount of consumables on your vehicle are vast, including:

  • Cleaning products

Cleaning may not be of much importance to some drivers, but did you know that regular driving on dirty and dusty roads builds up grime and debris and can affect your vehicle?

For example, bird waste is acidic. The droppings can damage paint if left for too long.

A dirty windscreen is also a health hazard. Splattered bugs and dirt can obscure your view.

Regular cleaning, including valeting keeps your vehicle in good condition and will result in a higher value when it comes to reselling or trade-in.

It has been said that having a clean vehicle can also improve your fuel-efficiency.  Whilst this has been a topic of debate for years, it has been argued that dirty vehicles have more drag, due to the increased air stuck in the particles of the grime. According to Mythbuster (http://goo.gl/gwIuXi), the effect of a dirty vehicle can cut fuel economy by up to ten per cent!

  • Air

Whilst air may not be viewed entirely as a consumable, missing this one vital element of your vehicle checklist can cause your tyres to blow out. Maintaining the correct pressure at all times at the correct psi will avoid any unwanted accidents on the road.

  • Tyres

Tyre maintenance is essential to the overall health of your vehicle. It’s not enough to just keep checking your tyre pressure, the overall tread needs to be monitored regularly. Driving a worn-down tyre can result in a warning, fine and even points on your licence. For larger vehicles with heavy weight and long mileage, tyres can need replacing every few months.

When tyres are highly underinflated, the sidewall flexes, causing damage to the cords within the tyre. Under-inflation may not always be apparent, especially on vehicles with multi-wheel axles. The damage to the internal part of the tyre may not be obvious and may cause a bulge when the tyre is re-inflated. The further strain on the tyre cords can result in accelerated snaps, spreading quickly around the sidewall, resulting in ‘zipper failure’ due to the casing within the tyre coming apart with forceful speed.

  • Fuel

Attribute.@Thiemo SchuffFuel is literally your engine’s blood. Putting good quality, high grade, diesel or petrol in your vehicle will benefit it longer term and give you more MPG.

Another ongoing topic of debate for drivers is supermarket petrol and it being allegedly ‘watered down.’ Water and fuel doesn’t mix, but like any other consumable – you are purchasing from a brand every time you fill up. If a certain brand doesn’t work for you, change to another.

How you fill at the pumps can also contribute to fuel economy, albeit if only a bit. For example, pumps that gush out cause fuel to froth, reaching the filler line more quickly.

  • Additives

For both petrol and diesel, using a fuel additive can improve the efficiency and overall health of your engine. However, it’s easy to get confused with which one is which. Gas treatments, fuel injector cleaners, fuel system cleaners, and multi-system additives are some of the options available and serve different functions. You can ask a mechanic or the manufacturer of the vehicle for fuel additive advice.

  • Batteries

A vehicle’s battery life will depend on varying factors. A battery needs to be in optimum condition to run the vehicle correctly and will avoid non-starts, loss of power and poor running of the engine.

Batteries need replacing every few years and your garage should advise you of this at servicing intervals. If anything causes a defect in your battery, it can result in voltage fluctuations, which can be a real threat to the safety of the vehicle.

The way you drive will also have an effect on the battery. It isn’t often that a factory defect causes the battery to stop working properly. Heavy breaking, cold weather, age of battery and corrosion can all cause the battery to malfunction.

Batteries have a natural way of discharging themselves, so avoid long periods of rest.

  • Fluids


Larger vehicles consume a lot of water due to the size of the radiator and the heat generated. Keeping your water tank at the correct capacity will save your vehicle from over-heating. Water tanks that run dry can cause damage to the head gasket, one of the most common causes of overheating, and also a very costly repair.

Most vehicles have a warning light when your water is low, but older vehicles don’t. Keeping a note to check your vehicle regularly, especially before and after long journeys and keeping spare water will reduce the risk of serious damage to your engine.

Summer coolant

It’s not just water that your tank needs. In hot weather, adding summer coolant to your tank will keep it at a stable temperature, avoiding overheating.


Similarly, in cold weather, adding anti-freeze to your tank will avoid the water in your tank freezing and exploding,

Engine oil

Engine oil serves three main functions: it helps avoid the build-up of carbon, keeps components working smoothly, and helps draw heat from the combustion chamber.

Engine oil should be changed at regular intervals. When it isn’t, there can be severe consequences, such as build-up of sludge deposits surrounding the cooler parts of the engine.

Engine oil allows metal against metal pressure and lubricates the pistons. Without this lubrication, the metal-on-metal would generate so much heat – the engine would seize.

Machinery consumables

The consumables for the waste and recycling industries are extensive, but popular ones include:

Baler wire

Baler wire shouldn’t be underestimated as an important part of your professional machinery and kit supplies. Baler wire comes in different shapes, lengths and is often cut according to the exact specification of the buyer.

Normal wire will not suffice when it comes to tying large, industrial bales. The reason for this is that baler wire is made from galvanised steel or annealed wire.

Galvanised wire is dipped into raging temperatures of zinc oxide, which results in creating a non-corrosive and moisture-resistant wire. Galvanised wire can last for an incredibly long time.

Annealed wire is heated, then cooled which removes the internal stresses to the wire, making it stronger, whilst increasing the carbon within the wire, resulting in increased flexibility and the reduction of brittleness.

Some baler wires can be galvanised and annealed, creating a super-strength product.

Whereas standard wire can become brittle, baler wire is tough and specifically designed to handle the intense bale weights it must wrap.

The diameter of baler wire can also be determined on the specific needs of the manufacturer

Flexibility and strength are the two key attributes that buyers are looking for when purchasing baler wire and properly treated baler wire will provide both, whilst at the same time being cost-effective.@walmart

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