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4 Tips on Winter Maintenance for Your Semi Truck

Professional truckers have been driving during the winter for their entire careers, therefore, it is important that they are aware of winter maintenance tips like getting a semi truck insurance quote and more.

However, even the most experienced driver still has to perform winter maintenance in order to ensure their safety and the safety of other motor vehicle drivers on the road.

So, it is essential that we discuss tips on winter maintenance for your semi truck.

Semi Truck Winter Maintenance Tips 

Obtain Semi Truck Insurance

Cheap semi truck insurance is a must for every truck driver. While it’s legally required no matter which state you live in, it can also protect you from being liable in case there is an accident during the winter. 

While it may not be a physical aspect of truck maintenance, the right insurance is key to ensuring your business can function throughout the snowy season. There are several different types of commercial insurance for semi truck on the market, so it’s important to work with a company that can best serve your needs.

Moreover, accidents are more likely to occur during the winter because of weather conditions beyond your control, therefore, your insurance may be a lifesaver should the unthinkable happen.

Check the Following 

Fluids

Checking your fluids is part of regular maintenance, no matter the season. However, certain systems are prone to failure. 

DEF System 

If you have a newer truck, you have a diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) system that is designed to combat emissions. It is done by integrating an exhaust fluid, which traps particles before leaving the exhaust pipe.

While new diesel trucks benefit from DEF systems, they may also pose a problem for truckers who operate in states that experience harsh and cold winters. DEF fluid has a freezing point of around twelve degrees, according to Cummins.

This means that while a trucker is taking a load off at the end of a long day, their short motel stay may result in their DEF fluid freezing. Luckily, DEF fluid thaws quickly. But the problem lies in the fact that it can expand while freezing, causing damage to the system or its hoses.

It’s important for truckers to continue to monitor their fluid level as the truck warms up and check for leaks as often as possible.

Coolant and Antifreeze

Both coolant and antifreeze have service lives that depend on the type of vehicle and fluids you’re using.

Their anti-corrosion additives also break down over time, so it’s important to check and flush fluids regularly. Coolant levels and signs of leaks should be checked at fuel stops during the winter to prevent any incidents. 

Fuel Systems 

In colder climates, you may want to consider changing your fuel type if your equipment supports it. Some fuel, like ASTM D-975 Grade 1, performs better in lower temperatures.

To avoid freezing parts in the winter, it’s important to replace the fuel filter and drain the water separator. 

Fuel Additives 

Fuel additives are crucial for truck drivers because diesel fuel contains a wax called paraffin, that crystallizes at freezing temperatures.

This crystallization causes the water in the fuel to become slushy that it cannot pass through the filter. When this happens, it can lead to poor vehicle operation and engine failure.

Therefore, checking the cetane rating at the fuel pump is crucial because the higher the rating, the better for winter weather. 

Anti-gel fuel additives can enhance the performance of your fuel to stop it from reaching the crystallization point. Your truck’s owner’s manual will have additive guidelines for you to follow so that you don’t damage your fuel system. 

Windshield Items 

A common complaint of all motorists during the winter is snow and ice accumulation on the windshield that can make driving even more dangerous.

Before the first snowstorm hits, make sure to check your windshield wipers and replace them if needed. Your wiper fluid should also be switched to a cold temperature blend, so make sure to keep extra bottles in your vehicle so that you don’t run out while on a long-haul. 

Wear Items and Ignition 

Before winter hits, make sure to check the glow plugs to ensure that they’re clean and operating efficiently.

Glow plugs are cheap to replace, so it’s best to do it before the winter storms. As long as you’re having your plugs checked, you should also consider taking a look at hoses and belts. When the weather gets cold, these items can prematurely crack and fail.

Batteries 

A vehicle starting in cold weather doesn’t mean that it will start every time during the winter. It’s important to have your battery tested before snowy weather comes to ensure that it’s strong. When parked overnight in cold locations, consider keeping your truck on a block heater. 

Conduct Pre-Trip Inspections

Conducting pre-trip inspections is a necessity for every trip. Ensuring that your vehicle is in ideal condition before a long-haul ensures that you won’t have breakdowns during the winter.

Make sure to pay close attention to tire pressure and fluids every single time you drive your truck. Cold weather can cause a downswing in tire pressure, making them less stable on the road.

Just because they seemed fine during your pickup doesn’t mean that they are still in peak condition during drop off. Taking the time to ensure these simple items can help you stay safe during dangerous driving conditions. 

Prepare a Driving Kit

The reason why you perform maintenance on your truck before winter is to keep yourself, your truck, and other drivers safe.

Part of your maintenance routine should include packing a winter driving kit just in case you’re caught in bad weather.

During instances of a winter storm that leaves you on the side of the road, you can be protected with the proper preparation.

Your winter kit should include the following: 

  • Blankets
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Food and water
  • A bag of sand/salt
  • Chains
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone charger
  • Windshield brush and scraper 

Get Cheap Commercial Truck Insurance

When winter hits, northern America is covered in snow. However, a few preventative measures can ensure on-time deliveries and safety. 

It is also crucial that you have your fleet protected and covered by commercial insurance for semi trucks and if you’re looking for cheap truck insurance quotes, contact our team at SoCal Truck Insurance today!