Transport business owners and operators deal with many weather related challenges; especially in cold weather. The winter months can put undue stress on truck and trailer components. While truck and trailer repairs are unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your commercial fleet is ready for the cold.
These items can help prepare your commercial trucks for winter:
Oil & Filter Change
Cold weather results in thicker oil consistency during initial startup, the truck should be allowed to warm-up adequately to minimize causing potential engine problems in the cold weather. The older the oil, the thicker and dirtier it becomes with combustion contaminants; along with additive packages in the oil breaking down and getting used up. Get your trucks oil changed regularly to promote peak performance in the cold.
Consider Switching To Winter Tires
Winter tires are helpful for snowy weather conditions and if ice is encountered. Additionally, always make sure to check the tire pressure as part of your pre-drive checklist. Underinflated tires lead to sluggish performance and handling, and can cause catastrophic tire failure.
A weak or dead battery is one of the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns in the winter. Diesel engines, in particular, need strong/reliable batteries to start, so it pays to keep an eye out for battery issues during the cold weather.
Common signs of weak battery are dim headlights and a slow engine cranking from the starter motor. If you notice any of these conditions, test your battery(s) right away and replace the battery(s) if needed. Don’t forget to check the battery cable connections as well.
Inspect, Clean, or Replace Spark Plugs for Gasoline Powered Trucks
Dirty, oil fouled, or old spark plugs cause ignition issues, a rough running engine, and complete misfires. These issues can be especially exaggerated in cold weather conditions. Check/Inspect your spark plugs on a schedule and replace them when needed.
Check Belts and Hoses
Rubber belts allow your trucks engine accessories to operate. A worn-out belt is a safety hazard and can cause costly damage if it breaks while the engine is running. If there are any signs of wear, cracking, and excess black rubber powder on the accessories, or glazing, the belt should be replaced. (When engine is cold) Also check that the hoses are soft and pliable. If they feel brittle/hard or spongy when squeezed, it’s time for a replacement.
All fluids must be regularly checked, but it’s especially important in cold weather. These include the power steering, brake, windshield washer, transmission, and engine oil.
Performing preventive inspections and maintenance checks can help you spot problems in your commercial truck before they become extremely costly or irreversible issues.