How to Get Trucks Ready for Winter - Maintenance

Find out how to Get Vehicles Prepared for Winter – Upkeep

Examine gas tanks for water contamination and drain off as a lot water as doable earlier than it has an opportunity to settle and freeze in a gas line or gas filter.

Picture: Jim Park

“Why the heck didn’t I …?” That’s a query we hope you by no means ask your self. Normally, it means you need to have achieved one thing that will have had some bearing in your present predicament. Getting ready the truck for an additional lengthy, chilly winter is an ideal illustration of the expression, “an oz. of prevention is value a pound of remedy.”

With fall upon us, now could be the time to get the truck prepped for winter earlier than the snow begins flying. There’s heaps to be achieved, particularly on gear that’s previous its prime. 

1. Verify the Air System

Compressed air all the time incorporates moisture, and when heat, moist air hits chilly metal air tanks, brass fittings, hoses, and valves, you’ve gotten a recipe for hassle. Remind drivers to empty every air tank on daily basis, particularly the moist tank. It’s designed to coalesce moisture earlier than it will get into the remainder of the system.

Take steps to get rid of any kinks, restrictions, 90-degree bends, or low factors from air system plumbing. These are all factors probably to freeze in chilly climate.

If the outdated air compressor is getting slobbery and spitting oil into the air tanks, change it or restore it earlier than that oily water begins gumming up air traces and brake valves.

Air dryer producers have specified upkeep intervals, however oil from the compressor can prematurely foul the desiccant cartridge, rendering it ineffective. Be sure that the purge valve heater within the air dryer is working; in any other case, ejected moist air may freeze the valve open or stop it from closing fully. In fact, observe the air dryer producer’s upkeep suggestions.

Finally, you’re making an attempt to maintain moisture from fouling the brake valves. These valves comprise tiny little passages that may simply ice up and shut off partially or fully. Relying on the effectiveness of the air dryer, a big quantity of moisture may nonetheless get into the system and trigger issues in these valves downstream of the air tanks. Moisture gathered throughout the summer time stays within the system like a time bomb, ready for a minus-40 chilly snap.

Contemplate switching the cable-release air tank drain cocks for the twist-open sorts. You possibly can open them up fully and stroll away, somewhat than having to carry them open. This ensures the tanks drain fully.

2. Examine Charging and Beginning Elements

Winter beats up electrical techniques. Lights, mirror heaters, and heater followers are all the time on. After which there are the invertors that energy the lodge masses that maintain drivers glad. All that present draw means batteries seldom get the prospect to totally recharge. Meaning your batteries will probably be in a considerably weakened state many of the winter.

Now is an efficient time to load-test your batteries and if needed, substitute the unhealthy ones earlier than they take the great ones down. 

If it is advisable substitute a battery, think about the appliance. Freeway vehicles that run inverters once they’re shut down want batteries with excessive reserve capacities to function all these electrical extras. Deep-cycle batteries will forfeit some CCA (chilly cranking amps) capability for beginning, but when your charging system is nice, and also you’re not dropping voltage and amperage to unhealthy connections, you’ll be tremendous.

Vehicles working domestically with many beginning cycles every day ought to stick to high-CCA batteries.

You probably have the gear, check the alternator and starter output. On the very least, visually examine the wiring connections on the starter and alternator in addition to the bottom connections for indicators of corrosion or deteriorating wiring. Restore or substitute all questionable cables and connectors.

When you’re below the truck, examine the cable runs to make sure they’re correctly certain and never rubbing on the body or different steel components that would rub by means of the insulation, which may trigger a brief or enable moisture to enter the cable.

Get those dead or dying batteries off the truck before winter. They struggle in the cold, and if they aren’t in top shape, they will fail — often at the most inopportune moment.  -  Photo: Jim Park

Get these lifeless or dying batteries off the truck earlier than winter. They wrestle within the chilly, and in the event that they aren’t in high form, they may fail — usually on the most inopportune second.

Picture: Jim Park

For those who do nothing else, clear the battery terminal posts and apply a movie of dielectric grease or protectant to stop corrosion. 

And eventually, take a look at that trailer pigtail. The trailer finish of that cable will get badly abused, pulled to its extremes, and is very uncovered to rain and highway salt. Pull the connector aside and examine the connectors inside. Or higher nonetheless, substitute it. It’s low-cost insurance coverage towards a lighting or ABS violation. 

3. Verify the Cab and Chassis

Since water inevitably will get into gas tanks, let the tanks get low after which examine for water. Drain off as a lot as you possibly can earlier than it has an opportunity to freeze within the gas traces. Contemplate changing the gas filters for a similar cause. Put a spare gas filter and a bottle of air-line antifreeze — with directions on find out how to use them — within the jockey field in case you’ve gotten a freeze-up someplace within the wilds of Wyoming.

Get all the gunk off the fifth-wheel locking mechanism and slider tracks. Once it freezes, it can prevent proper locking and make sliders difficult to move.  -  Photo: Jim Park

Get all of the gunk off the fifth-wheel locking mechanism and slider tracks. As soon as it freezes, it may possibly stop correct locking and make sliders troublesome to maneuver.

Picture: Jim Park

A Few Extra Small Issues to Verify on Vehicles Earlier than Winter

  • Verify the engine coolant for freeze level and rust inhibitors, and pressure-test the system for leaks. On the similar time tighten all hose clamps and examine all hoses for serviceability.
  • Clear the outdated, soiled grease from the fifth-wheel locking mechanism. It’s already a bit stiff with highway particles; chilly temps will solely make it worse, which may trigger problem in hooking up and releasing.
  • Verify alternator mounting brackets, belts and belt tensioners. Engine vibration usually loosens issues up, which permits the belts to slide on the alternator pulley. That may cut back the alternator output.
  • Be sure that all the pieces in and on the cab works. Verify mirror heaters, heater-defroster fan, door and window seals for air leaks. Apply somewhat antifreeze lube spray in door locks. Verify the exhaust system for under-cab leaks; you don’t need your drivers snuffed out by carbon monoxide whereas they’re sleeping with the engine working.
  • Placed on contemporary wiper blades for winter and maintain the outdated ones within the truck as spares.
  • Examine your tire chains for put on and harm earlier than they’re wanted.

Usually talking, chilly isn’t unhealthy for vehicles. What causes hassle is temperature adjustments. Chilly climate is not any huge deal once you’re prepared for it.

This text appeared within the October 2022 situation of Heavy Responsibility Trucking. 

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