With summer over it’s time to shift your state of mind to winter. While this is hard to do, the process of controlling your winter maintenance and repair costs should start now. It will get you ahead of the curve and prevent the risk of annoying problems and costly breakdowns by having your trucks checked out before winter hits. At a minimum, a good winterization program consists of a thorough inspection and testing of cranking, charging, braking, cooling, fuel and lighting systems.
Start by inspecting the battery cables and battery box. This is where your sense come in. If you smell sulphur, the batteries may be overcharging, or one or more of the batteries could be damaged allowing liquid to escape. Also, keep an eye out for a swollen battery case. This could indicate an overcharging battery or over-torqued battery hold-down hardware. Check the battery cables and connections to ensure they are tight and in good condition. Lastly, check for corrosion at all electrical connections.
The cooling system must be in top-notch condition for winter. Check for leaks at both ambient and operating temperatures. Also, check the water pump, fan belts and fan drive system. Conduct a thorough radiator inspection to be sure it’s clean, dry and free of debris.
Nowadays, fuel systems need to be operating at their peak. Use this time before winter really hits to clean your fuel tank. This helps prevent any contamination in the bottom of your tanks from reaching the engine and/or clogging fuel filters. Many vehicles have fuel-water separators that need to be drained of contamination and water. Purchasing quality fuel, treated for subfreezing temperatures, from a reputable provider is the best way to prevent unexpected problems.
The winter months mean shorter days not to mention the likelihood of rain and snow. This means your truck’s lighting system will be working hard. There is a tool in the industry today that sends amps through trailer lighting circuits to measure their quality. This helps locate any resistance.
A little extra effort preparing for the winter weather will keep your truck generating revenue instead of sitting on the side of the road or in a shop bay.