When the winter comes, the temperature goes down to subzero with snow covering all the roads. This creates more challenges for truck drivers to control and maintain their vehicles. Besides, the cold is hard on the truck engine and components.
So, how can you keep your truck well-prepared during this extreme weather? This article will give you some care and maintenance tips for your truck in winter. Let’s get started now!
Tips to prepare the truck in the winter
Avoid the cold soaks
If the metal components and fluids of the engine block are dropped, cold soaks will happen. This phenomenon occurs because of the chilly environment. Put it differently, the engine has not been in operation for a long time, for instance, more than one day. During this time, the cold weather might affect partly on it.
Thus, you have to ensure that you will not let your vehicle sit inactively too long. Instead, keep it running in the extreme temperatures frequently. Then, the engine can acquire the temperature threshold needed for the process of cycling diesel fluid and the regeneration as well.
Check the truck battery
The cold weather may also freeze the engines which need much more power from the battery to start. Due to such a hard attempt, the heat will damage the battery, making it drain faster in cold temperatures. Besides, it possibly poses a challenge to charging.
When it comes to the maintenance checklist, you should check the expiration date of the truck battery. Then, you will know your truck is able to hold a great charge. This action also gives you a chance to clean off connections prior frequently during the winter.
Keep the fuel tank half full at least
It can be said that the fuel tank maintained properly can help you achieve a lower-cost and trouble-free operation in the winter. Here are some quick tips for drivers to winterize their truck fuel and avoid seriousness-leading problems:
- Fuel tank: remember to keep the tank half full at any cost. The near-empty tank can lead to the build-up of condensation in cold temperatures. This issue also brings no-start or freeze-up conditions for the fuel line.
- Winter blend: guarantee that you possess the high-quality blend fuel in the truck tank, especially the winter blend one.
- Fuel additives: it will be better if you pour more anti-gel additives into the fuel tank when the temperature starts to drop under 20°F.
- Plan ahead: before setting off on any journey, you should consider the geographic coldest point that your car might travel through. Accordingly, you can treat fuel better.
Generally, keeping the tank half full will be beneficial for you if you get stranded accidentally during the cold winter. There might be some unexpected situations such as traffic, car wrecks, or breakdowns. Hence, it is smart to keep an average amount of gas to keep the truck running for warmth in these cases.
Use the winterized fuel
Some people might look down on or find it strange with this tip. But it truly works. The diesel fuel does not work well for vehicles in freezing weather. This is likely to make your truck not start if the temperature plunges below zero.
Besides, using untreated fuel for your truck during the extreme winter will create a lot of problems. You might have to deal with fuel gelling, plugged filters, or frozen fuel lines. Instead, you had better use the seasonal fuel like Premium Diesel Fuel, Wintermaster, or CENEX.
Using these enhanced fuels can operate the freezing temperature even if it is lower than -30°F. So, notice to avoid these issues, you can extend the engine’s life and keep rolling well.
Aside from the main parts, other systems should also be checked regularly to ensure that they operate optimally. These parts are the ignition system, hoses, belts, radiator coolant, headlights, brake lights, taillights, emergency flashers, and blinkers.
Also, it will be better if you pre-trip your truck daily. Specifically, you can inspect your truck for some frozen components such as power cords, trailer doors, and so on.
How can you track the maintenance of your truck?
The majority of maintenance check-ups and tune-ups depend on miles or time. However, it is recommended to plan the maintenance smartly to prevent the breakdown. Some drivers may prefer a calendar that you can use to monitor the inspections monthly or annually.
Yet, the ones depending on miles can surprise you. With the advent of technology, you can some useful programs to keep track of your mileage. These programs will notify you when the truck needs to change the oil and alert you of the scheduled maintenance.
Safety checklist for the truck maintenance
- Keep the floor out of towels, tools, rags, and food containers that might block the pedal operation.
- Ensure the heaters, defrosters, wipers, gauges, and some other instruments operate properly.
- Check the running lights, headlights, turn signals, and reflectors. You should replace them if necessary.
- Check the couplings of the braking system with other components so that they can be attached appropriately.
- Check the tires if they are inflated properly. You should check blemishes or worn treads and notice some warning signs. If your tires have worn treads, this can also cause slippage while driving. For winter safety, you should put a set of winter tires on your truck.
- Ensure your car is equipped with the emergency kit and tools such as the fire extinguisher, reflective triangles, or flares.
- Ensure the safety belt is in order without tears, nicks, or signs of damage or wear.
- Make sure that your truck has required records which consist of the maintenance information. In case the vehicle is leased, you have to check if there is the lease’s name.
Above are some care and maintenance tips for your truck in winter. By reading and following these guidelines, you can feel more secure about your trip. Hopefully, you find this article helpful and every trip of yours will be profitable and safe.