The winter months are fast approaching so it is vital that your truck is ready for the cold and any inclement weather. Here are some of the things you need to do to as part of your winterization process to make sure you stay safe and avoid high costs this winter.
Check Your Battery
Batteries drain faster when the temperature drops so it is crucial that you check the age of your battery and have the voltage tested so you can determine if and when your battery needs replacing.
Use A Fuel Additive
Diesel fuel contains paraffin which, when cold, can turn your fuel into almost a gel. This can lead to everything from rough operation to full engine failure. To avoid this, add anti-gel additives at every refueling and use high cetane rated fuel.
*Remember to check your owner’s manual before using an additive and closely follow mixing instructions.
Avoid Fuel Contamination
Speaking of fuel, be sure to avoid any fuel contamination. This can be done by monitoring your water separator daily. Water contaminates, such as condensation, will shorten engine life. Be sure to drain your separator if you see a large amount of water has been collected. Another way to avoid contamination is to replace your old fuel filter.
Keep Your Engine Warm
Diesel engines can be significantly harder to start in the winter because they require a higher cylinder temperature than gas-powered engines. To keep your engine warm through the night and to avoid any fluctuations in temperature, you may want to invest in an electric-powered block heater.
Inspect Your Cooling System
A full inspection of your entire cooling system is key to your winterizing your truck. Check your hoses for any bulges, make sure your hose clamps are secure, check that your coolant is at an optimum freeze point, and that your radiator isn’t cracked or damaged in any way. If there is any damage to your cooling system, it’ll only get worse when the temperature drops.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
During the winter months, weather conditions can quickly go from bad to worse. It is important to know that you have everything you need in case you get stranded. This kit should include things like:
- Extra blankets
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Snow shovel
- Tire chains
- Bottled water
Empty Your Air Tanks
By emptying your air tanks, you can be sure that there is no residual water in your air system that could cause your air valves to freeze, affecting your brakes and air suspension. When you empty your air tanks and give them time to dry out completely, you can then add airline antifreeze. Once you do this, it will stop any threat of freezing in the future.
It might not be a part of a typical winterization process, but make sure all parts in your truck are running and operating smoothly. Before you hit the road in potentially inclement weather, order the parts you need to make sure you are not left in an unwanted situation.
As you know, time is money (especially in the trucking business). By taking the time to complete these steps, you will be able to avoid costly breakdowns and downtime that can negatively affect your bottom line. For more tips on how to keep your truck in tip-top shape this winter, visit our blog.