Dead batteries, gelatinous fuel, failed thermostats and frozen door locks. These are just a few of the ailments that can strike tow trucks, waste haulers and diesel-powered work trucks in severely cold weather. To keep your business going through ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures, check these seven maintenance areas on each of your trucks—and then check them again every week until temperatures rise above freezing and stay there for 10 days straight.
Batteries: Most batteries are rated to a certain sub-zero temperature, but battery age can creep up, taking owners by surprise. Keep extra batteries on vehicles, if possible, and know the temperature for which your batteries are rated. Also, keep terminals clean and free of corrosion to prevent starting problems.
Locks: Lubricate hood latches, door locks and all other locks on your trucks to help prevent sticking. Lubricants can stop ice from forming inside locks and keep them operating properly.
Hydraulics: Hydraulic units, control panels, bearings, lines and fittings can ice up and stop working. Check hydraulic fluid levels regularly and inspect accessories for wear. Full synthetic hydraulic fluids are good choices in areas where temperatures are very low or very high, but potential incompatibility with some seal materials makes petroleum hydraulic fluids a safer alternative. Additives, which range from anti-wear, rust and oxidation inhibitors, and viscosity-index improvers, can add even greater protection and longer life.
Tires: Tires with less than 3/32nd of tread should be replaced for winter driving. We don’t have to tell you the risks your drivers and your company incur when driving on snow and ice with worn tires.
Tire Pressure: Cold weather causes tire pressure to decrease, affecting vehicle handling, tire wear and fuel efficiency. Check tire pressure weekly and maintain at recommended levels for the conditions your trucks encounter.
Windshield Wipers and Fluid: Check wiper blades for damage and replace if needed. Keep new wipers on board, if possible, since freezing rain, hail or heavy snow can cause them to break. Washer fluid reservoirs should also be kept full and checked weekly, since keeping windshields clear during freezing precipitation can empty reservoirs quickly.
Truck Body: A coat of winter wax can help protect paint and exterior metal joints from damage and corrosion caused by ice, rocks and road salt. Wash your trucks weekly during winter to remove dirt and corrosive materials, and to check for damage.
Preventive winter maintenance can extend the life of big trucks and keep them running smoothly. But when age and damage start to take their toll, talk to us. Our lease and finance programs can put you into new or newer equipment quickly—at terms that work for you and your business.