The winter season is nearly here and now is the time for fleet owners to begin prepping their vehicles for the frigid winter months. Failing to have your commercial work truck ready for winter can cause engine problems and other damages that will not only take your vehicle(s) out of commission and leave you with a hefty repair bill but can also potentially cause you to lose business income.
At Art’s Truck & Equipment, we have more than 50 years of experience providing businesses and municipalities all throughout the nation with quality pre-owned trucks and specialized construction equipment. And we know a thing or two about taking care of vocational trucks to keep them running strong.
If you haven’t performed winter maintenance on your fleet, now is the time to get it done! Consider the following 9 tips to keep your work truck running as powerful as ever.
9 Tips to Prep Your Work Truck for Winter
1. Switch to Winter Fuel Blend
If your vehicle(s) runs on diesel fuel, then you’ll need to switch to winter blend to keep freezing temperatures from causing the wax in the fuel from freezing and causing engine problems. You’ll want to check the cetane ratings at the gas pump; the higher the rating the better for winter months.
Keep an eye on your water separator as well. Winter months can cause water to form inside a cold fuel tank. Try to keep your gas tank at least half way full to minimize the threat of this issue.
2. Check Your DEF System
DEF systems were created as a direct result of changes to EPA emission regulations. DEF systems are designed for diesel vehicles and help to break down dangerous NOx emissions. These systems can be found in 2010 and later year models.
DEF freezes at 12F (-11C) but thaws within 45 minutes under normal operations. It’s important to check this system for leaks during winter.
3. Use the Right Oil
Cold weather can make your engine oil become thick, which can lead to issues with it not circulating properly through your engine. If your engine isn’t being properly lubricated, then it can become damaged – which is a costly repair.
Check your owner’s manual for the proper viscosity of oil you should be using during the winter months.
4. Flush Your Coolant System
Coolant life is usually set for 24 months, any older than that and you’ll need to flush out the system and replace your coolant. The additives in your coolant that protect against corrosion, anti-gumming, and other functions break down over time, so replacing your coolant will help to replenish them and improve overall vehicle performance.
5. Change Out Your Battery as Needed
Winter cold snaps tend to drain batteries faster than usual, so make sure its terminals are clean and that the battery itself is working properly. This will protect you from getting stuck out in the boonies with a dead battery and no help.
6. Winter Tires are a Must
Winter tires are absolutely essential in northern states and areas where icy or snowy roads can be serious driving hazards. Winter tires help to provide excellent grip regardless of road conditions. If necessary, make sure to have some tire chains on hand just in case of severe snow or ice conditions.
Make sure to also keep an eye on tire pressure during the winter months. It’s very common for tires to lose air pressure during this time of the year and this can make them more vulnerable to blowouts.
7. Keep an Eye on Engine Heaters
Some medium-duty trucks have block heaters to keep engine oil warm while others have oil-pan heaters. Regardless of which system your work truck has, you’ll want to inspect them occasionally to make sure they are functioning properly.
8. Check Those Brakes Pads
Making sure that your brake pads are in excellent working condition is a must – especially on icy roads! Failing breaks can lead to a serious – or even fatal – accident.
9. Don’t Forget the Basics
There are a number of vehicle components that are very easy to overlook but which make all the difference in the world when driving out on the road performing heavy-duty jobs during these winter months. Make sure to check:
- Interior and exterior lights
- Windshield wipers
- Spark plugs
- Belts and hoses
- Fluids (power steering, brake, windshield washers, etc.)
For the best in pre-owned trucks and specialized equipment, look no further than Art’s Truck & Equipment.
Our pre-owned vocational trucks have been used all over North America and South America – including Canada and northern American states where temperatures can easily fall below freezing.
We know what vehicles you need to get the job done this winter season. Contact us today to find out how we can help your fleet grow.