Back on the Road | A Trucker’s Guide to Prepping Your Rig for Winter
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Back on the Road

A Blog by TA & Petro Stopping Centers

A Trucker’s Guide to Prepping Your Rig for Winter

Winter is just around the corner. Whether you’re based in Grand Forks, North Dakota or Lafayette, Louisiana, it’s important to get your rig prepared for whatever weather you may encounter on your next route.

Avoid roadside breakdowns and unnecessary downtime by adding the following winter preparation checks to your maintenance routine.

Starting and Charging Systems

All good winter preparation programs should start with your vehicle’s cranking and charging systems. Inspect your batteries, battery cables and battery box for any pungent odors or corrosion. Strong sulfur-like smells can mean the batteries are overcharging or damaged.

Have your batteries been tested by a qualified technician? Long winter nights and shorter days mean more demanding engine starts and longer usage of your truck’s headlights. Testing your batteries will indicate whether or not they can keep up with this high demand.

Be sure to have your alternator inspected, specifically the mounting bolts and brackets. The brackets should be free of cracks and the mounting hardware should be in place and secure. Also, ensure that all electrical connections on the alternator are clean and tight. Lastly, don’t forget to check the alternator belt for wear and proper alignment. 

Cooling System

Making sure your cooling system is in top-notch condition is one of the most important parts of the winterization process.

Have your cooling system inspected for leaks while at both operating temperature and at ambient temperature. Check your fan belts and fan drive system, and conduct a visual inspection to make sure your radiator is free of any debris. You should also have a technician test the condition of your coolant.

Air Brake System

Another important area of the truck to focus on during your winter preparation is the air brake system. Have your air brake system inspected for leaks and to ensure it’s operating properly. Be sure to check the air dryer in particular, and make sure you are replacing your dryer desiccant cartridge as needed.

Tire Pressure and Traction Control Devices

When the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. Check your tire pressure before every trip to ensure they are aired properly. If your routes regularly take you through icy, snowy areas, you may want to consider a set of tires designed with the proper tread for that application.

Snow chain regulations differ from state to state, but failure to abide by any state’s regulations can result in hefty fines for you or your fleet. Drive prepared with snow chains, EasySox tire socks and other winter accessories, which you can find at over 60 TA Truck Service locations.

Lastly, check your windshield wipers to make sure they’re working properly. Be sure you have enough washer fluid to last you through your route and keep an extra bottle in your truck in case of an emergency.  

Do you think your truck is ready for winter? Stop by a TA Truck Service today to have your rig inspected by one of our expert technicians before the cold puts you out of service.

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