Preparing Your Semi Truck For Winter Driving
As winter commences, you might drive in less-than-ideal conditions, especially if you are routed north. This can create rather hazardous settings for driving, but it can also mean some serious wear and tear on your truck. Your truck is your business, so it’s important to protect it as much as possible. Winterizing your truck and maintaining it properly is critical for the smoothest semi truck winter driving.
Your Winter Emergency Kit
Part of semi truck winter driving is being fully prepared, in case you get stranded. Toss several blankets in your truck, along with extra food, water and other survival items. Also, be sure to update your first-aid kit. Keep extra clothes in your sleeper so you can layer clothing to keep warm. For instance, layering a pair of wool socks over a pair of cotton socks will increase warmth. Thermal underwear may be good to have on hand, too. You might also want to invest in a heavy-duty sleeping bag, rated for 0 degrees. Finally, make sure your CB radio is in good working order. In an emergency situation, it may become your lifeline.
Pre-Trip and Post-Trip Inspection
As for your truck, inspect it closely. Pre-trip and post-trip inspections, especially when driving in winter conditions, are more important than ever.
Look for damage on your vehicle, parts that are worn or need to be replaced, tires that are showing excessive wear, and other potential problems.
Write a checklist so you won’t forget anything. Leave spaces so you can note any parts you need to get or service that may be required. It is smart to stay on top of potential problems instead of waiting until something happens and you are stranded.
This is where the rubber meets the road — literally — making this one of the most vital components of your rig. Ice can reduce traction on the road surface, so replacing tires that are balk or worn with new tires can help reduce accident risk. New tires can also improve stopping distance when the roads are slick. In some areas, installing tire chains may be necessary.
Your drivetrain, including engine and transmission, are what keeps you rolling. If you are driving in areas with very low temperatures, especially if snow and ice are involved, it can damage a truck that has not been properly winterized. Be sure to replace wires, belts and hoses; also, check the fittings and connectors, inspect your radiator for leaks, and add a winter-blend antifreeze. Consider installing a winter front to protect your grill and radiator from ice and snow on the road. Always check all fluids (use windshield wiper fluid for winter weather). Take a look at the electrical wiring to check for any damage or exposed wires where ice and snow can collect.
Frigid temperatures can be brutal on batteries, causing them to drain faster. Check the condition, age and lifecycle, and perform a load test on each battery. Make sure the connections and cables are in good shape. While you’re at it, check the starter and alternator, as well.
It you aren’t accustomed to driving in winter weather and aren’t sure how to prepare your truck, it is a good idea to talk to an experienced driver to get some advice or visit a mechanic.
Before venturing into icy conditions with your truck, call or contact Raney’s. With more than 40 year in the trucking industry we have what it takes to make semi truck winter driving a little easier. As an industry leader, you can trust our high-quality parts and expert representatives. Visit our website or call today.