For most truck drivers around the US, cold weather is just around the corner. The elements that come along with winter can make a truck driver’s job a bit more challenging. Knowing what to expect from the harsh conditions and preparing ahead of time will keep you safe (and warm) this winter season!
Create Winter Maintenance Routine
Make this as specific to yourself and your truck as possible. A few things to consider as you create your winter maintenance policies are your vehicle and equipment, where you’re headed, the weather you’ll encounter, the amount of time you spend on the road, and the number of loads you plan to run on your route.
The longer your drive, the easier it will become to develop a maintenance routine. You can build onto your policies as you become more familiar with your truck and route!
Address Truck Maintenance in Advance
As the winter months are approaching, be sure to check in with parts of your truck that may be affected by the cold weather. This includes your fuel filters, battery, cooling system, tires, lights, chains, windshield wipers, along with others. If you’re not sure something will make it through harsh conditions, consider replacing it ahead of time.
It is also vital to inspect fluid levels and refill as necessary. By planning ahead and routinely checking these parts of your truck, you are far less likely to become stranded in the harsh elements.
Invest in an Engine Block Heater
Remember, cold temperatures will affect more than your fuel and fluid levels. It can sometimes be tricky to get your truck started, creating a huge roadblock in your tight schedule. One solution to this issue is to invest in an engine block heater! This useful tool keeps your truck’s engine at a warmer temperature and will make it easier to start.
Switch to Winter Blends
Most truck drivers know that diesel fuel can turn into a gel during colder winter conditions. Luckily, there are special blends of fuel designed just for winter that have higher cetane levels, making it easier to start your engine and keep it warm. Pro tip: keep anti-gel additives on hand and add them whenever you fuel up to prevent any issues.
Consider swapping your other fluids for versions that perform better in winter weather. For example, you can change the fluid in your windshield wipers to a cold-temperature blend.
Restock Your Emergency Supplies
You never know what lies ahead on the open road. Prepare for the worst-case scenario, especially when you could be stranded in freezing temperatures. You should always keep general supplies on hand, but here are a few specific suggestions for those bitter cold months:
- Heavy winter coat / gloves
- Winter boots
- Heated blankets
- A battery-operated radio / batteries
- Food and bottled water
- First aid supplies
- Flashlight / flares
- Snow shovel
These additions to your emergency kit are sure to keep out the cold and help you out of a tough situation! The winter elements bring new challenges for truckers all around, and this includes more than just truck maintenance. Here are a few things to consider when trying to maneuver icy road conditions!
Updated November 2, 2023