Preventative winter vehicle maintenance is the best defense against break downs during the season. Be proactive and check out our 5 simple maintenance tips to help you keep your work truck running smoothly all winter long.
Tip #1: Engines & Fuel
Running out of fuel or experiencing frozen fuel lines is one of the most common culprits of winter break downs. The best way to prevent this is to properly maintaining your engine and fuel by keeping your fuel tank at least half full at all times and adding an anti-gel additive every time you fill up. It’s also a good idea to change your fuel filter and water separator regularly.
Bonus! Avoid cold-soaks – letting your truck sit for long periods in the cold weather. Start the engine at least once a day and allow to run for 10-15 minutes.
Tip #2: Block Heaters & Batteries
Keeping your battery functioning properly will also help prevent common breakdowns. Make sure to regularly check the strength of your battery and replace it if it is old or showing signs of wear. Also, be sure to check for any loose wiring before setting off on your daily tasks.
If you live in an especially cold climate you might also want to consider using a block heater. A block heater is designed to warm up your engine and related fluids prior to starting it. In areas where the temperature frequently drops below freezing, using a block heater whenever you leave your vehicle parked for any length of time will help prevent a cracked block or other catastrophic engine damage.
Bonus! You can save money by setting a timer on your block heater, ensuring that it kicks on an hour or two before you set off each morning. You have an easier start, there is less wear on your engine, and you get warm air from your vents more quickly than you would with a cold start.
Tip #3: Cooling Systems
Regular checks of your cooling system will also help prevent breakdowns. The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended in your owner’s manual. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. Also make sure to have the tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses checked regularly by a professional technician.
Tip #4: Heaters & Defrosters
As you might have suspected, it’s also very important to perform regular checks of your heating system to ensure it is in working order. Preventing ice and fog from accumulating on your windshield is imperative when driving.
Bonus! Don’t forget to inspect and replace windshield wipers when needed, as well as the levels of your washer solvent, de-icer, and other fluids.
Tip #5: Tires
Finally, avoid blowouts and flats by frequently checking the tread and pressure of all tires. Replace any tires that are showing signs of wear and consider switching to tires made especially for traction in snow during the winter months.
Be Prepared Beyond Winter Vehicle Maintenance
Even with proper maintenance, breakdowns can still happen. Be prepared by putting together an emergency kit to keep in your work truck. Be sure to include:
- A flashlight
- Tire chains
- A bag of sand or salt
- A shovel
- Warm clothing such as coveralls or snow pants, a blanket, a hat, gloves, and heavy boots
- A warming blanket
Bonus Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers
Being prepared is only half the battle. Taking initiative to treat the winter roads with respect is an important part for any driver who plans to be working on the road during the snow season. Here are some key tips for keeping your vehicle between the lanes when the weather gets bad:
Daily Weather Check
Weather can be notoriously deceptive. The morning may look beautiful, albeit cold, but by afternoon, you could be crawling through several inches of sudden snowfall.
Anyone who’s job involves a lot of road time owes it to themselves to spend a few minutes before the day starts getting a read on the weather. Knowing what’s coming later in the day can help you prepare with the right equipment, or simply adjust your travel route.
Mind Your Weight
Especially for newer drivers, the extra weight of a service body or work truck can be the difference between a safe stop and a long skid into another vehicle’s bumper. Heavier vehicles take longer to get going and take longer to stop even when the road conditions are pristine. Don’t fall into the trap of saying “I’m a good driver, I’ve never had an accident”! Losing a few minutes over the coarse of a work day from slowing down and driving safely is worth it. The alternative is eventually losing days or weeks of work time while waiting for a vehicle repair – not to mention the costs of the accident itself!
Modern Road Apps Can Help
Technology is great – and it’s made driving a lot easier. While most drivers are familiar with GPS and navigation apps, some of them have more features than others. If you’re looking for a new app, driving apps like Waze let other drivers note areas which may have black ice or other hazards.
It won’t make you immune to a surprise black ice slip, but knowing that an intersection you’re approaching is icy can help you plan your approach and increase stopping distance. Anything that avoids an accident!
Does Your Truck Have the Right Equipment?
Now that you’ve made sure that your truck will be running smoothly all winter long, and you have prepared for an unexpected emergency, it’s time to do an equipment check! Do you have all the snow and ice removal equipment needed for plowing with your truck?
Semi Service is serious about snow removal. When heavy snow hits, you need the best in snow plows, snow cats, ice removal systems, and liquid application units to help keep you at the top of your game. Semi Service offers snow plows for sale, thousands of parts and expert service to get you through those intense winter months.
Contact Semi Service for Your Work Truck Equipment & Service
Contact us online or give us a call at (801) 895-4419 to get started today!