In many parts of the United States, the weather is already making engines harder to start and creating hazards on the road. Before it’s too late and you get stuck, it’s time to make sure your truck engine and truck itself are ready for some of the coldest temperatures of the year.
Be sure that, if you can’t do the work yourself, you take your truck to a reliable service center for winterization.
Winterizing Diesel Engines
Okay, let’s get that diesel engine ready for winter. Follow these tips:
- Battery preparation – Batteries can quickly be drained by Old Man Winter. Typically, you can expect about 48 to 72 months from a battery. If your battery is nearing the end of that cycle, you may want to consider replacing it. To be sure you have tight connections, clean the battery terminals. To prevent battery drain, disconnect the battery ground cables if, over winter, your equipment will be in storage.
- Coolant – The coolant system should be carefully checked. Before they become major problems, any issues will hopefully be revealed with regular preventative maintenance. Check for cracked belts, hardened hoses, plugged hoses, radiator leaks, etc. Any loose hose clamps should be tightened. Check the strength of your anti-freeze and your coolant levels.
- Replace filters and drain the water separator – Components can be damaged and engine performance reduced if the fuel system has water in it. Avoid poor engine performance and injector/fuel pump damage by regularly draining separator water and replacing water absorbing filters.
- Fuel treatment – Don’t overlook your fuel when winterizing your equipment. Use a CFI (cold flow improver) to extend your fuel’s operability. Be sure to use a CFI that includes wax anti-settling agents and deicers. Important note: Don’t over-treat your fuel.
Consider purchasing an engine block heater. When it’s cold, diesel engines are harder to start than regular gas vehicles because a higher cylinder temperature is required for diesel engines. If your truck will be sitting for a period of time and you know a lot of time will be spent in colder climates, so that your truck always starts, consider investing in an engine block heater. Make sure it’s working properly if you already have one, so you’re all set for whatever Mother Nature dishes out.
Preparing the Rest of Your Truck for Winter
In addition to making sure your engine is ready for winter, here are some other areas of your truck that could use a bit of attention before the truly cold weather hits:
- Make sure you have a CB radio or reliable form of portable communication (smart phone)
- Check your windshield wipers
- Check the brake line air dryer
- Look over your sleeper and cab and be sure to pack a sleeping bag and/or extra blankets
- Familiarize yourself with how to use tire chains and make sure you carry them
- Check tire pressure of your tires and their condition as well
Be sure to have emergency supplies stocked up. These can include the following:
- Plenty of water, dried food, and canned food
- Before fueling up, add anti-gel fuel additives (and keep some with you)
- Fuel filters and extra oil
- Heavy duty straps and bungee cords
- A bag of sand or salt and a trenching spade or shovel
- Toolkit: zip ties, duct tape, pliers, hammer, screwdrivers, sockets, wrenches, etc.
- Flares and reflective vest
- Feet and hand warmers
- A method of receiving weather alerts – make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and you have a way to recharge it
- First aid kit
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Extra clothing such as socks, gloves, hat, snow boots, extra coat, etc.
Mickey Truck Bodies – Since 1904, Family Owned and Operated
Thanks to our service centers located throughout the United States, when you need truck engine maintenance, Mickey can be of assistance.