We’re all familiar with the classic Christmas song “Jingle Bells” where it says, “Dashing through the snow,” and “over the hills we go laughing all the way?” You won’t be laughing if you are stuck out in the snow this year because you haven’t winterized your truck. We know that being prepared is important, especially when you have conditions like snow and ice that often stand in your way this time of year. Snow and colder temperatures are right around the corner and your truck must be prepared, and you should be too. Here’s how you can winterize your truck for even the harshest of winter conditions:
Make an Emergency Kit
Whenever you enter your truck to start your day, you should always come prepared for any possible problems. This means making an emergency kit in case the worst happens and you find yourself stranded because your fleet needs maintained. Here is what you should have in your emergency kit.
- Cold weather gear such as hats, gloves & scarves, a blanket, an extra pair of boots, and hand warmers.
- Flares – these will come in handy if you need to flag down help
- Medical Supply
- A flashlight
- Extra radio
- Extra coolant, wash fluid and engine oil
Check your battery
Batteries will last anywhere from 2-6 years, and the life depends on usage, temperature, and humidity. If you suspect that your battery is losing its power, check the cables and replace them if it’s necessary. If that isn’t the problem, the next thing you should check is your alternator to ensure it is putting out the correct amount of power. Keep the terminals clean and coated with electrical corrosion inhibitor. You may want to consider adding a battery blanket to keep the temperatures more stable.
The most overlooked issue with starting and running diesels in the cold is the fuel itself. Diesel fuels contain paraffin (wax) which causes these blends to gel as they get colder. This can create a problem where the truck can have engine failure or roughness when you start your truck.
Trucks hate winter. Winter is usually the time when tire pressures drop, seals are less supple, and water in your truck’s fluids will react. Linkages and hinges that were in perfect working condition before tend to be less functional when it’s cold.
Time your oil changes right so you can avoid doing it in the harshest part of winter. While you are changing your oil, switch your engine fluids, power steering fluids, differential fluids, transfer case fluids, and transmission fluids to synthetics so they flow better in the cold. This also protects your bearings and other contact surfaces sooner. This is also a good time to check/change your coolant and your thermostat and heater core to make sure they are flowing right; test the engine block heater since the electrical cord to the heater can sometimes get damaged during those hot months of summer.
Inspect for leaks
Check for leaks or rattles and take care of any problems now before it gets too cold. If you suspect your truck has a bad fuel injector, replace it as soon as possible. Winter means more engine idling time to keep your truck warm.
Brake pad check
Check your brake pads, change your brake fluid to get air, dirt, and moisture out of the system, and when it snows for the first time, do a controlled skid to test your brake system to make sure it is applying enough pressure to your tires.
Think about the future
Change your windshield wipers, clean your headlights, and make sure your window defrosters and lights are in working condition.
We want you to have a safe winter, and following these tips will be a great start. But you should absolutely make sure you have a thorough winter inspection done. Call North Dixie Truck and Trailer to have one of our certified mechanics put his skills to work for you today, call our maintenance department at 419-221-3750 to schedule your appointment today.