How to Keep Your Drivers and Trucks Safe during Winter Weather
Items to check during winter weather before getting on the road.
Exterior Lights: Days are shorter in the winter. Make sure all exterior lights are clear of buildup and in working condition. This includes headlights, turning signals, driving lights, brake lights and reverse lights for optimal safety.
Battery: Perform a battery load test to ensure the cold cranking amps (CCA) meet specifications. Clean the terminals and ensure a corrosion-free and be sure all is connected properly.
Coolant: Test the freeze point for the vehicle’s antifreeze to insure it is well below temperatures that will be encountered.
Windshield: Fill windshield washer fluid reservoirs with fluid that won’t freeze in cold temperatures. Verify that windshield wipers are clearing the driver’s view correctly. Install Winter-specific blades.
Belts: Inspect the serpentine belt for cracks or excessive wear.
Wiring: Inspect wiring for cracks, rubs and cuts or excessive connectors from an old repair. Make sure sealable connectors are installed and inspect the wire up past the break for additional problems.
Filters: Service fuel and coolant filters, if equipped, as well as the air dryer cartridge.
Fifth wheel: Lubricate and clean the fifth wheel. Besides lubricating the pivot points and top plate with grease, spray the jaws with a diesel fuel lube oil mixture after ensuring they are debris and grease-free.
7-way trailer connector: Inspect and clean the back-of cab 7-way connector. Inspect the cap spring to ensure it snaps back in place as well as the notch that interlocks with the 7-way connector end. Apply dielectric grease to prevent water intrusion. Check the cable itself for corrosion and worn pins, as well as a worn head. Also look at the plug and cap on the front of the coupled unit for the same issues and clean and re-grease periodically for longevity.
Glad hands: Check glad hand seals. Replace if in doubt. Check the glad hands themselves, making sure they still lock tightly and are free from cracks and debris.
Spring brakes: Check the air spring brake chamber dust cap.
Tires & Wheels: Check air pressures and measure tread. Check torque on all lug-nuts
DPF filter: Look at idle time versus change interval and ensure DPF filters are changed. Perform a forced regeneration at each PM.
Wash: Have unit washed with an environmentally-safe chemical to stop the corrosion of road chemicals from eating away at vehicle systems year-round.