Monday September 23, 2019 was officially the first day of autumn. It won’t be long before overnight temperatures in the northeast drop into the 30’s and begin to impact vehicle operating performance. The winter season will soon follow and bring us the annual snow, ice, and freezing rain that will make travelling on the highways an adventure.
Now is the time to prepare your fleet vehicles for safe winter driving. Winter temperatures are rough on any vehicle and freezing conditions are especially tough on diesel engines. In order to prepare for the approaching winter conditions, it is wise to prepare your vehicle for cold weather operation.
Some of the key items to check include diesel engine glow plugs to make sure they are all working. Properly functioning glow plugs will make cold morning starts easier. Another area to check is the battery to make sure it is in good working condition and fully charged. Consider replacing batteries that are 5 years old to eliminate potential problems.
The trucks cooling system consists of various hoses, clamps, and coolant. Check to make sure all fluids are topped off on a regular daily basis to keep your engine running smoothly during longer periods of engine idling. Fuel filters are also important to keep clean and possibly replace heading into winter. Any moisture built up inside the fuel filter can freeze when temperatures drop below 30 degrees restricting the flow of diesel fuel to the combustion chamber and an eventual engine shut down. Typical untreated #2 diesel fuel will begin to thicken and restrict flow at around 17.5 F. or -8.1 C. Quality winter additive products enable diesel fuel to flow properly into the single digit temperatures.
Tires and windshields are extremely important to keep vehicles operating safely in difficult weather conditions. Make sure you have the proper tire tread depth and replace old wiper blades before the weather changes. Emergency supply kits are extremely useful in case of problems. It is a good idea to pack extra clothes and blankets in the event your vehicle gets stuck in snow or broken down on the side of the road in a remote area. Be safe this winter.