Winter is officially on its way. People around the country are winterizing their homes, preparing their vehicles and making sure their cold-weather clothes are clean and ready to wear. What about commercial vehicle drivers? It’s a fact that many don’t take the same time and care in winterizing their rigs that they do in preparing their personal vehicles. Here are some tips for getting your truck ready for Old Man Winter.
1. Emergency Kit
When is the last time you looked to make sure your emergency kit was fully stocked, assuming you have one? You are more likely to need your kit in the winter months than during any other time of year so making sure it is stocked is important. At a minimum, you should have extra blankets, a flashlight and batteries, non-perishable food items, bottled water and an extra pair of shoes or boots.
2. Battery Test
Now is a good time to check the condition of your battery. Batteries have a life cycle of 48 to 72 months. If you are nearing the end of your batteries life cycle, don’t wait for it to die. Replace it now. If your battery is in good shape life-wise, inspect it, perform a load test and make sure there are no loose or exposed wires.
3. Fuel Filter
Take a look at your fuel filter. If it looks like it needs to be replaced, put a new one in. Look at the fuel and water separator. If it looks like it is in good condition, be sure to drain it of water. These are easy steps to take to make sure your components aren’t freezing up when the cold weather hits.
4. Fuel Additives
There is some controversy as to whether or not fuel additives are really worth it, but they definitely don’t hurt. Err on the side of caution and anti-gel fuel additives to enhance your engine’s performance. Your owner’s manual should have guidelines as they pertain to these type of additives. You will need to follow the guidelines exactly to prevent causing damage.
5. Engine Warmer
Have you taken the time to install an electric block warmer yet? If not, now is the time. A diesel engine is much harder to start in cold weather than a typical gasoline-fueled vehicle. Install an electric block warmer to keep your engine warm when you aren’t driving.
Preparing your rig for winter isn’t a difficult thing to do, but it may take a bit of time that you don’t want to spend. Consider that an hour’s worth of prevention could mean that you aren’t stranded on the side of the road wondering how you will keep warm, not to mention get to your destination. While you are winterizing your vehicle, make sure that your commercial roadside assistance coverage is up to date. At least you will know that if you experience a break down this winter, help is only a phone call away.