Tips To Help You Prepare For And Care For Your Diesel Semi Truck In Winter
According to Trucking Info, there are approximately 3.5 million professional semi-truck drivers on the roads in the United States. If you're entering this exciting field and are facing your first winter behind the wheel of a diesel truck, it's important that you are prepared. Diesel-powered vehicles can be tricky to deal with when the temperatures drop, but with a little preparation and care, it is possible to survive without a single incident. Here are a few tips to help prepare and care for your diesel semi-truck during the winter driving season:
Work with Your Mechanic
Before the winter season hits, it's important to work with your mechanic to help ensure your semi continues to work properly, no matter what the weather. Here are a few points you need to cover with your diesel mechanic before you hit the road:
- Check the battery – A functional battery is critical no matter what the season. However, during the winter, it can mean the difference between life and death. Ask your mechanic to check the connections and if your battery is nearing its expiration date, have it replaced. In addition, ask your mechanic about a battery warmer.
- Examine the hoses and belts – Next, ask your mechanic to check all the rubber belts and hoses. The mechanic should look for signs of wear, cracks and loose fittings. Any belt or hose that is features even minor damage or wear should be replaced.
- Don't overlook the cooling system – Even though the temperatures will be freezing, your semi will still rely on its cooling system. In addition to checking the hoses and belts throughout the coolant system, your mechanic should check the radiator for any damage or build-up. Additionally, your mechanic should check the additive levels in the coolant. If the levels are not correct, consider having the coolant flushed and replaced.
Commercial fleet repair should never be neglected or procrastinated.
The Engine Block Heater
Chances are, you already know that no diesel-powered vehicle should be without a quality block heater in the winter. This block heater is imperative because it helps keep the engine warm while the semi isn't in use, which will help ensure the truck will start with ease, no matter what the temperature.
If the heater is older, make sure to have your mechanic check over the block heater before you even consider taking your semi in colder temperatures. If the heater isn't working sufficiently, don't hesitate to have it replaced.
When it comes time to use your block heater, it's best to err on the side of caution. For example, if the temperatures are below zero, keep your truck's block heater plugged in whenever it's not in use. Otherwise, you will only need to plug in your block heater for a few hours before hitting the road in winter.
Finally, it's important to unplug your block heater and wait a few minutes before starting your engine. Otherwise, you could overheat the engine, which could wind up severely damaging your block heater.
Create a Winter Preparedness Kit
Being on the road in a semi-truck during the winter is tricky because if you have a tire blowout or if the engine fails, you cannot simply fix the problem yourself and continue on your way. The best way to protect yourself in the winter is to create a kit that includes the following items:
- Charged cellphone that is to be used in case of an emergency
- Warm gloves, a warm hat and extra wool socks
- A sleeping bag and extra blankets
- Non-perishable foods
- Bottled water
- First aid kit
- Safety flares
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Jumper cables
Keep these items in a plastic tote and store it somewhere it won't get damaged, such as your sleeping cab.
Driving a diesel-powered semi in the winter for the first time can be scary, especially as the temperatures continue to drop. However, with a little extra preparation, it's possible to easily stay on the road, no matter what the weather is like outside.