Not to get too "Game of Thrones" on you but WINTER IS COMING. Cold conditions can take a toll on your fleet and cause safety incidents. It's time to prepare for the cold by following these tips.
1. Check your batteries
Batteries tend to drain quicker in cold weather. Now’s the time to inspect your truck’s battery to ensure it’s securely mounted, has no corrosion and doesn’t need to be replaced. Make sure all connections are tightened and cleaned. If your battery is older than 3 years, your best bet is to change it.
2. Inspect your lights
Winter means that it gets darker on the road. Make sure that your fleet is seen by other drivers and that your driver can see everything around them. Walk around your vehicle to make sure all lights and turn signals are cleaned and working properly.
3. Don't run low on fuel
Fuel tanks should always be at least half full during cold weather. If your tank is more than half empty, water vapor can collect in the bottom of your tank. As the fuel goes into your engine’s fuel line, water vapor can freeze in the winter and prevent your engine from starting.
4. Inspect the cooling system
Before winter arrives, check your radiator for leaks, inspect the hoses for bulges and look over the hose clamps for damage. Secure any loose components. It's also a good time to do a flush and fill your tank with new antifreeze with the correct amount.
5. Prepare your windshield
If your windshield wiper fluid is getting low, refill it and switch to a cold temperature blend. Ensure your windshield wipers are working properly and invest in a new set if they aren’t. In extreme cold, you should consider heavy-duty winter blades for tough ice buildup.
6. Clean the air tanks and inspect the air dryer.
Your air dryer stops water from icing over brake lines, so it’s important to keep the air dryer in good condition. Check your air dryer to ensure it’s functioning properly and inspect it for leaks and corrosion. You can clean your air tanks by removing the drain plugs and allowing them to dry.
7. Check your braking system
Cold weather can bring on icy roads. It's important that your braking system is working correctly. Any signs of air leaks, vibrations, squealing or burning smells should be addressed immediately.
8. Chose the right oil for cold temperatures
It's important to make sure you are using the right viscosity of motor oil for various weather conditions. Viscosity is a measurement of an oil's resistance to flow. In cold temperatures, viscosity increases because oil thickens. Even oil with a viscosity of 10W-30 can be too thick in some colder months. Many times you will want to switch to a zero weight.
To be sure though, double-check the owner's manuals for all of your vehicles to make sure you're using the recommended viscosity for freezing temperatures.
Need help preparing your fleet for winter? Learn more about how Austin Fleet Services can help you keep your fleet maintained and ready for any weather by giving us a call.