responsible fleet manager

How to Prepare Your Truck for Winter

The holidays are fast approaching. Although they’re seen as a way for the average worker to rest and be with family, the opposite is true for truckers like you. There’s always an uptick in demand for food items like turkey and gift items during this time of year. And it’s your job to deliver them so families can get to enjoy their Christmas and New Year feasts and celebrations.

When duty calls, you need your equipment to be their best. However, winter can be brutal to your truck.

Common Truck Problems in Winter

1. Corrosion

Road and highway authorities often spread salt on the road to help lower the freezing point of water on the pavement. This makes it harder for the water to freeze. While this is great for making the road less slippery, salt can cause the metal components on your truck to rust faster than normal.

2. Spark plug failure

Your spark plugs have the all-important job of supplying the “spark” that ignites the fuel and air in your engine so that it powers up. Spark plugs can still work even if they get corroded. However, they may end up filing to provide a spark when temperatures plummet in the winter.

3. Battery malfunction

Your car uses lead acid batteries that can work perfectly in a large range of temperatures. However, extreme heat and cold can cause it to malfunction. Its capacity drops during cold weather. According to Battery University, lead acid batteries can handle charge and discharge temperatures from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures drop below freezing, you may find that it’s harder for the chemicals in your batteries to react. Some batteries even fail completely.


4. Frozen windshield wipers

The snow and cold air can freeze up your windshield wipers and render them unusable. Some wipers may also get their blades torn off because of the pressure, causing expensive damage.

You need to prepare your vehicle for these possible problems to have a smooth drive throughout the holiday season.

How to winterize your truck?

1. Protect your vehicle from road salt

One of the best ways to protect your truck from road salt is to wax it. This creates a protective layer between your vehicle and snow. You should also regularly wash your truck during the day to wash off possible road salt. Do this during the day to prevent the water from freezing. The undercarriage is the most vulnerable part of your truck to corrosion, as it’s where most of the ice and salt gets sloshed onto. This can be hard to reach, so you should entrust undercarriage cleaning to professional carwashers.

2. When in doubt, take it to the shop

Even if your truck is running fine now, it may have hidden issues that may leave you asking for technical assistance on the side of the road. Examples of these include failed spark plugs and battery failure. Make sure your truck is at its best condition before you hit the icy roads by taking it to the shop for preventative maintenance or getting its engine parts replaced with high-quality Cummins components.

3. Get your battery replaced

Your truck’s batteries degrade over time. If you’ve had it for over three years, you may find that it’s harder to start up during the cold season. Get it replaced before winter starts to ensure you don’t have to worry about it breaking down during a delivery.


4. Get winter-resistant fuel

Regular diesel may thicken and eventually gel up during the cold season. This is because it contains paraffins that crystalize in lower temperatures. When this happens, your car may take a few tries to start up. If the fuel becomes too thick, your car may not even; Fortunately, you don’t have to stick with this during the cold season. You can always fill your tank up with winter-grade fuel. These are mixed with special additives that prevent paraffins in the fuel from gelling up.

5. Use an engine block heater

Engines are notorious for failing to start during the cold season. The sudden drop in temperature can make combustion from within the component difficult. If you frequent colder states like North Dakota and Minnesota, use a block heater. This is a small device that attaches to your engine and plugs to an electrical outlet. This helps keep the component warm throughout the freezing nights.

Bottom Line

As a trucker, you have the all-important responsibility of getting important goods to their destinations on-time and in great condition – especially during busy days like the holiday season. However, the holidays also bring the freezing cold of winter with it, creating all sorts of problems for your truck.

These suggestions help you get familiar with common truck problems during the cold season and effective ways to get truck ready for winter. This way, you can spend more time getting your packages delivered instead of troubleshooting your engine on the side of the road.

Salman Zafar

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