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3 Key Precautions for Your Electrical System This Winter

Your electrical system is the heart of your truck. Heading into winter, it requires special attention. Long winter nights and shorter days mean more demanding engine starts and longer usage of the truck’s headlights. Plus, winter exposes your truck to harsh highway chemicals that can corrode electrical connections and cables Dropping temperatures can also cause batteries to resist charge. Electrical system malfunction is one of the most common causes of winter breakdowns.

While winter may try to wreak havoc, there are some precautions you can take to protect your electrical system.

  1. Establish a regular preventative maintenance schedule.

Many common issues can be prevented by establishing a regular preventative maintenance (PM) schedule. With TA Truck Service’s Ultimate PM, our expert technicians inspect many components on your truck that can suffer wear and tear, notify you of identified issues and, in most cases, can repair them on the spot. This saves you from having potentially worse issues down the road.

  1. Check your batteries and electrical system before heading out.

During your winter prep, check your battery state of charge often and make sure your batteries aren’t nearing the end of their life. If batteries are 3 years old and winter is right around the corner, consider replacing them early. Always be cautious when working with or near your batteries, and wear the proper eye and face protection, along with a nitrile apron and gloves.

Before heading out for the first time this winter, have a qualified TA Truck Service technician do a comprehensive electrical system check. This includes battery condition, alternator performance, mounting bolts and brackets, and the condition of belts, cables and connections. Your batteries should be tested to make sure they can handle standard electrical loads. This will ensure that your truck is ready for anything winter has to offer.

  1. Look, feel and smell for signs of trouble.

Look at your lights to make sure your headlights and taillights are not malfunctioning or dim. Low voltage due to electrical system failures can become evident by poorly performing accessories like lights.

When starting the truck, feel for how easily the engine turns over. If it is struggling, DO NOT CONTINUE TO CRANK! This may damage the starter.

Smell for a strong sulphur smell near your truck to check if the batteries are leaking.

Winter adds extra stress to the heart of your truck, its electrical system. Don’t face winter ill-prepared. Instead, trust the expert technicians at TA Truck Service to get your truck winter ready. If you do happen to find yourself stuck in the cold, give RoadSquad a call at 1-800-824-SHOP.

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TravelCenters of America

A Blog By TA & Petro Stopping Centers