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5 winter maintenance tips for truckers

12/31/2019

5 winter maintenance tips for truckers

With winter weather hitting a larger amount of the country as 2020 begins, drivers across the U.S. have some serious considerations to keep in mind. Cold temperatures, snow, ice and more can make driving a big rig much more difficult; it can also do a number on the various components of a truck and everything it needs to run.

With that in mind, there's more for any driver to monitor at this time of year, including the following steps that help keep a truck operating at top capacity:

1) Keep a close eye on your tires

While you would always be wise to make sure your tires have plenty of tread, it's even more important as winter rolls along, according to Trucker.com. You need that tread to properly grip the roads even in the best of conditions, let alone when snow, ice and slush combine to make highways and back streets more difficult to navigate. Giving them a closer look and keeping them properly inflated in winter is, therefore, a must.

2) Check your windshield wipers frequently

While you may not think of it as being particularly important, you have to make sure your windshield wipers are in great shape all winter long, Trucker.com added. That's not just because you need to clear off snow and other precipitation as you drive, but also because salt and sand from the road can build up over time and make it more difficult to see. Consequently, you should also make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid on hand and refill your tank regularly.

3) Don't let it sit for too long

One of the biggest concerns for any trucker in freezing temperatures is the idea of a cold soak, according to Heavy Duty Trucking. When you don't drive a big rig for a day or two at a time, various engine components can sink to ambient temperatures, and may not work as well - or at all - when you try to start it up again. If you're going to be off the road for more than 24 hours, it's important to idle the engine for a few minutes every once in a while.

4) Make sure the lights work

The many different lights on your truck aren't just important for helping you see where you're going, Heavy Duty Trucking noted. They also help other drivers see you, which can be critical in harsh conditions or during the longer hours of darkness at this time of year. As such, you should check more frequently than normal to ensure all lights are in working order, and fix or replace those that aren't.

5) Remember the fuel additives

Finally, it's a good idea to have some fuel additives in your cab when temperatures get particularly frigid, according to Fleet Owner. That's because diesel can turn into a gel in extreme cold. While there's no hard and fast temperature at which this issue will arise because every batch of diesel is different, generally speaking, the number is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. When temperatures dip below that level, you should put in some additives to prevent gelling.

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