Winter often bring atrocious weather conditions on the roads that you can’t always predict. And while you can’t prevent harsh temperatures, snow, ice and de-icing chemicals, you can take precaution to get your vehicle prepared for the bad weather that inevitably lies ahead.
Here are 10 tips to help mitigate the effects of winter driving on your big rig.
1. Get your air dryers serviced and drain air tanks.
Moisture in your air dryers and air tanks is dangerous, especially when temperatures drop in the winter.
2. Check your starting system, battery and charging system
While most of the damage to your battery will occur in the hot summer months, the cold winter months can cause wear and tear as well.
3. Make sure your block heater is working properly.
Your block heater is important to keep your engine warm and ready to start on the coldest mornings. Easy starts mean no idling to warm up, lowers fuel consumption and reduces air pollution. They also reduce engine wear. Make sure your block heater is working by plugging it in and making sure it’s working properly.
4. Check your pre-heaters and ultra-capacitors.
Make sure your pre-heaters and ultra-capacitors are working and ready for the cold weather. Also make sure you have a good understanding of how they work. All of the best technology won’t help if you don’t know how to operate it properly.
5. Check the condition of your wipers.
Small things like wipers can have a big impact on safety and driver stress. Take a few minutes to check your wipers and replace them if they show signs of wear and tear. If you run in areas with particularly bad weather conditions, consider purchasing heated wipers.
6. Get the right fuel blend to prevent waxing.
Make sure you carry fuel additives in case temperatures drop below 20° F.
7. Avoid idling your engine.
Engines manufactured in 2007 or later should not idle uncontrollably. If they do, it will wreak havoc on the emission system.
8. Keep truck operating to avoid freezing fuel lines.
Keep in mind that diesel exhaust fuel (DEF) will freeze at 32° F. Keep the DEF circulating in your system so it doesn’t freeze the fuel lines.
9. Maintain regular tire checks.
Properly inflated tires and good tread will help prevent accidents and break downs. If you run in areas that require chairs, keep your chains serviced and store them properly.
10. Remember to conduct regular checks on the following components of your vehicle:
· Coolant hoses and belts
· Door locks
· Fuel and air filters
· Fluid levels
· Wiper blades
The safety of your vehicle during the hazardous winter months is of utmost importance. Make sure you stay informed of weather patterns in the areas you will be driving and have a plan in place should you run into problems.
AAOO is dedicated to helping commercial motor carrier owner-operators stay safe. Start living a safer, healthier and wealthier lifestyle today by joining AAOO.