Winter Is Coming: Getting Your Truck Ready for the Chill
With winter on the horizon, it’s time to gear up and ensure your truck is ready to tackle the cold season without any hiccups. We all know the feeling of regret when you ask yourself, “Why the heck didn’t I…?” Don’t be that person. Instead, let’s be proactive and get those trucks winter-ready. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
- Check the Air System Winter can be tough on your truck’s air system, so let’s show it some love. Compressed air is no stranger to moisture, and when it meets cold steel air tanks and valves, trouble can brew. Encourage your drivers to drain each air tank daily, with a special focus on the wet tank, which is designed to trap moisture.
Also, inspect the air system plumbing for kinks, restrictions, 90-degree bends, or low points that can freeze in the cold. If your old air compressor is acting up and spitting oil into the air tanks, fix it up or replace it before that oily mess gums up your air lines and brake valves.
Don’t forget to maintain your air dryer and its purge valve heater to prevent moisture from messing with your brake valves. These valves have tiny passages that can easily ice up, causing problems. So, follow the recommended maintenance by the air dryer manufacturer.
Consider switching to twist-open air tank drain cocks for easier draining. They make life simpler and ensure the tanks are emptied completely.
- Inspect Charging and Starting Components Winter can be harsh on electrical systems with all those lights, mirror heaters, heater fans, and inverters running. This means your truck’s batteries don’t get many chances to recharge fully.
Now is the perfect time to load-test your batteries and replace the weak ones. Think about your application when choosing new batteries. Highway trucks that run inverters need batteries with high reserve capacities, while trucks with frequent starts should stick to high CCA (cold cranking amps) batteries.
Inspect the alternator and starter output, and make sure all the wiring connections are in good shape. While you’re at it, inspect the cable runs to ensure they’re in good condition and not rubbing on metal parts.
Get those aging batteries off the truck before winter; they don’t cope well with the cold. And don’t forget to clean the battery terminals and apply dielectric grease to prevent corrosion.
Lastly, give your trailer pigtail some attention. The trailer end takes a beating and is exposed to the elements, so inspect or replace it to prevent lighting or ABS violations.
- Check the Cab and Chassis Here’s a checklist for your cab and chassis:
- Check fuel tanks for water, and consider replacing fuel filters.
- Let the fuel tanks get low and drain any water to prevent freezing in the fuel lines.
- Check the freeze point and rust inhibitors of your engine coolant, pressure-test the system for leaks, and tighten hose clamps.
- Clean the old grease off the fifth-wheel locking mechanism to avoid issues when hooking up and releasing.
- Inspect alternator mounting brackets, belts, and belt tensioners, and ensure they’re secure.
- Check that everything inside and on the cab works, including mirror heaters, heater-defroster fan, door and window seals, and door locks.
- Inspect the exhaust system for under-cab leaks.
- Replace wiper blades with fresh ones for winter and keep the old ones as spares.
- Don’t forget to check your tire chains for wear and damage before you need them.
Lastly, remember that cold weather isn’t the problem; it’s the temperature changes that can catch you off guard. So, be prepared and ensure your truck is in tip-top shape for the upcoming winter. Stay safe out there and keep an eye on our blog at Mercer-trans.com for more trucking tips and updates!