Fall may have just begun, but before long winter will be creeping up on us, and you know what that means: Frigid weather and snow. You may be dreading it like the rest of us, but there are things you can (and should) do to keep your truck in great shape for the long winter ahead.
- First and foremost, keep your emergency kit where it is easily accessible and fully stocked in case of an emergency. Some items you will want to include in this emergency kit are water, food, extra money and a credit card, a trucker’s atlas, first-aid kit, medical emergency contact information, and a cell phone and its charger. It is also a smart idea to have an extra radio.
- Check the heat and defrosting units – Even if you think your defroster is working properly, if you still have a lot of fogging on your windshield, you may want to get the vehicle checked for air leaks around the doors and windows, which could be bringing in extra moisture.
It is also important to make sure your heater is working. Shivering takes the focus away from driving and on to your cold body. If your heater is not working properly, get the heater coil checked. While this is often expensive, it will be worth it when you are warm and comfortable on the road.
- Check the engine – Diesel engines are harder to start than gasoline-powered in the winter because they need higher cylinder temperatures. You may want to consider purchasing electric-powered block heaters to keep your engine warm overnight and reduce changes in engine temperature.
- Check the oil and its thickness – The oil thickness, or its viscosity, tremendously affects your engine’s performance. Oil that is too thick will flow too slowly and overheat your engine. Cold temperatures can cause oil to thicken. To fix this problem, fill the engine with oil of lower viscosity. Remember to check your oil every 3,000 miles or once every three months to keep your engine in great health.
- Check battery – Cold temperatures drain batteries faster so the number one step before winter is to check the age and the life cycle of your battery or batteries.The average life of an automotive battery is three to five years. It takes a lot of battery power to start a diesel engine, and for this reason, many trucks have two batteries. Truck batteries should be replaced in pairs. If you think you may have a battery problem, check the alternator charging rate, water level, and condition of all the battery connections first.
- Check engine compartment for loose or damaged hoses and wires – Inspect the hoses for bulges, which could indicate weak spots. Check the hose clamps to make sure they are secure, and the radiator for leaks. Add winter blend antifreeze and test the freeze point and additive concentration. Inspect and replace the belts as needed. Also, make sure to add winter blend wiper fluid, and check and replace the windshield wipers as needed.
- Inspect your truck thoroughly – You don’t want to run into any surprises on the road. Avoid surprises by checking the fuel filter and water separator, cooling systems, air dryer, air compressor, and fuel additives. Also check to make sure there is proper air pressure in the tires.
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.