Whether you drive locally or long-distance, your rig will experience wear and tear. Winter conditions can be especially rough for your truck, as the temperature drops, it affects everything from the tires to its fuel consumption. Fortunately, you can take preventative measures. The guide below explains how to ready your truck for the cold weather.
How to Winterize Your Truck
1. Use Diesel Additives
Diesel contains paraffin, which crystallizes in the cold and turns your fuel to a slush- or gel-like consistency. To stop this, fuel up with winter blends that have high cetane ratings. This allows fuel to combust more quickly and easily. Use a diesel supplement or additive to further protect against freezing, too. Usage instructions vary per product, so check yours for directions.
2. Get an Engine Block Heater
If your driving takes you to the coldest parts of the country, have an engine block heater. Diesel trucks struggle to start in the cold because the cylinder temperature is too low. An engine block heater manually warms up the coolant, which radiates heat through the block to prevent failed starts and rough running. The heater will need to run for at least two hours to be effective.
3. Check the Tires
Under- or over-inflated tires are prone to damage like blowouts, and poor tread will lose traction on slippery roads. Use a gauge to measure the pressure and fill the tire to the manufacturer-recommended PSI. To check your tread, insert an upside-down quarter into a tread groove. If you can see all of Washington’s head, replace the tire.
If the tread is fine, have them rotated regularly to distribute wear evenly across them. You should also have them balanced and aligned, which will improve handling and control in hazardous conditions while minimizing tire wear. Snow chains are helpful to have on hand, too.
4. Test the Battery
Batteries may drain in the cold, especially if they’re old. Most semis have three or more batteries. Check each one’s expiration date, and use a voltmeter to assess their charge. Attach the leads to the positive and negative terminals to get a reading. Most big rig batteries are 24-volt; readings of 13.2-14.7 are desirable. If the reading is under or over that, the battery might need replacing.
5. Update Your Emergency Kit
While items like bottled water, a flashlight, bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers are emergency staples year-round, winter calls for specialized equipment. Pack multiple blankets, gloves, socks, hats, and hand warmers to stay warm during a breakdown. An ice scraper, snow shovel, and sand for traction are also helpful.
Start prepping your truck by getting new heavy-duty tires from Texas Commercial Tire. With locations in Hutchins and Temple, TX, they have over 50 years of combined experience in truck and tire services, including installation, alignment, balancing, and rotation. They also offer 24/7 commercial roadside assistance. Explore their services online, and call (972) 225-6640 for Hutchins or (254) 321-9961 for Temple.