It’s tough to spring back from the cold and dreary days of winter to the warmer days ahead. From harsh chemicals used to keep roads clear, to the damage done to your tires and the load demanded of your electrical system from extended hours of darkness, it’s important to assess just how much harm this winter has done to your truck.
The harsh salt solutions applied to many highways during winter months can wreak havoc on your truck’s electrical system. The acidic nature of these chemicals will erode any exposed connections or wire in no time at all. If you turn on your lights and find any dimly lit bulbs, this might be an indication of resistance in the circuit.
Another critical step in assessing damage is to look for any exposed electrical connection or butt connector. All butt connectors should have heat shrink over them to keep any acidic chemicals out. Since brine is a salt water solution, it will work its way through any opening, leading to corrosion and possible downtime. If you see any exposed wires or terminals, you should have them repaired properly before any problems arise while you’re on the road.
Although you may not be able to see it, debris can hide under the snow and ice resulting in deep cuts in the tread and/or sidewall of your tires. You may even find out that your tires have exposed cords or even a section of tread missing from spinning on snow and ice all winter. This makes a meticulous inspection of all tires just after winter crucial.
It’s also important to check your batteries, but to do so cautiously. Remember, your batteries work overtime during long nights and cold mornings of winter. The metal parts of the engine are cold and the oil is thick, making it harder for the starter to turn the engine. This places a high amperage demand on your batteries and could lead to longer cranking times.
While you’re checking on the batteries, you should also test your alternator output. When an engine starts, the alternator takes control of the electrical system. Because you’re using your lights for longer periods of time in the winter, the alternator is working much harder.
Lastly, it’s always good practice to have your cables and connections tested at the same time because this can detect corrosion or loose connections. If anything looks unusual during your self-inspections, it’s important to have a professional technician diagnose and address any issues.
Stop into any TA Truck Service location so we can check on your electrical system, tires and batteries and you can focus on leaving the winter weather behind and looking forward to the sunny days ahead.
Special contribution by Homer Hogg