The first day of winter isn’t till December, but now’s the time to make sure you and your truck are prepared for freezing temperatures, icy roads, and the dangers of severe winter weather. Avoid damage to your truck and delivery delays with these five tips!
Check Coolant Systems
Make sure your truck’s anti-freeze system is strong enough to handle colder temperatures. Pressure test your coolant system on a cold engine and make sure it’s at 15-18 psi after turning on the heater control valves. Then, pressure test your radiator cap at a minimum pressure of 5 psi. Finally, carefully check all heater and water hoses for wear, cracks, hardening or softening, and tighten any loose hose clamps you find.
Monitor the Weather
Trip preparation is important when hauling a load, so check the weather forecast before you hit the road. If the weather is going to be severe, plan your route so you’re driving on bridges and overpasses when the snow has melted or once the roads are salted. Always drive slower and more carefully if there’s ice.
Add Extra Time
Build in extra time for deliveries if there’s bad weather. You can’t drive as fast if there’s ice or heavy wind chill, so add extra time. It’s important to budget for a longer trip, so you don’t run out of driving hours or hit your driving limit before you can get to a safe place. The DOT allows you an “extra two hours of driving for unforeseen weather” but this rule only applies if it’s unexpected weather, so factor in your slower speed when calculating your trip.
Treat Your Diesel
One thing you don’t want to freeze is your diesel. Diesel gels when it gets cold and if that happens, your truck won’t run. When it gets cold, add an anti-gel additive in your truck’s fuel tanks before adding your fuel. It’s a good idea to keep anti-gel additives stocked in your cab because of high demand during severe weather.
Stock the Right Equipment
Keep the right size and quantity of chaining equipment and bungees in your cab. For your own safety and comfort during severe weather, pack sturdy, waterproof gloves, a reflective vest, a flashlight, a kneeling pad, and boots with good traction. These will come in handy if you get stranded. Don’t forget to pack extra winter clothes to keep you warm during the chilly weather. Must-have items include hats, gloves, scarves, and extra warm bedding.