Maintenance is a very important part of running your trucking business, and this time of year it is a good idea to look at getting your truck ready for winter. Even if you don’t live in the north you should have your truck ready to travel to the north so when a good load comes up you will be ready. So before the snow flies you should check on some key items:
- Check Antifreeze – check the freezing point of your antifreeze using an antifreeze testing gauge sold anywhere antifreeze is sold. Make sure you have the proper level of antifreeze. It might be a good time to flush out your cooling system and replace the antifreeze.
- Check Batteries – you will need extra cranking power to get your truck started in the cold weather. Check your batteries by disconnecting them and checking each one individually. One weak battery can drain them all. If your batteries are old or weak you should replace them.
- Empty Air Tanks – when the cold weather hits any residual water in your air system it could freeze and cause your air valves to freeze up. Then your brakes and air suspension could be affected. The air compressor naturally makes some water and some of it can get past your air dryer. Also the changes in the temperature can cause condensation in the air tanks. So, for these reasons you should drain all air tanks in your air system completely by removing the drain plugs and allow time for them to completely dry out. Then add some air line antifreeze to the lines. After adding the airline antifreeze don’t drain the tanks anymore. If you do you will be expelling the air line antifreeze.
- Fuel Filter / Additives – change the fuel filters to make sure there is no water in them. You can get condensation in your fuel tanks when the weather changes. This water will collect in your fuel filters, so make sure you have new filters. It is always a good idea to have extra filters with you on the road because if the filters get full of water it will shut your truck down. You should also add some fuel additive to your fuel in the winter to prevent the fuel jelling up when the really cold weather hits.
- Tires / Chains – tires could be a life or death issue in bad weather. If you are running marginal tires now is the time to get them replaced. If you run through the Rocky Mountains at all make sure you get your chains loaded up.
Trucking software by TruckingOffice can help you manage your maintenance. Using the maintenance planning features you can schedule this type of maintenance and get alerts when it is due. Do you know when you purchased your batteries? Or when the last time they were checked? Don’t wait until you get stranded; create a maintenance plan to stay on top of these types of maintenance items. Preventive maintenance is cheaper than roadside repairs.