It’s not yet winter according to the calendar, but the weather outside says otherwise! Before that winter weather—and driving—gets any worse, make sure your vehicles are prepared for the cold and wet ahead, to keep your drivers save and your vehicles functioning.
Below is a quick checklist of 17 tasks to complete throughout all the vehicles in your fleet, some one time, some ongoing, but all intended to decrease the chance that you’ll end up with a stranded driver or broken-down truck.
Under the hood
1. Use the right fuel for winter driving or use an additive if necessary.
2. Keep the gas tank at least halfway full at all times.
3. Watch the water separator to make sure water doesn’t freeze in the fuel line.
4. Use the right kind of oil, one that wont thicken in cold weather—because thick oil does a crappy job of keeping those engines lubed!
5. Also keep hydraulic oil tanks full to prevent condensation during temperature changes.
6. Top off all the fluids, including windshield washer, power steering and brake fluids.
7. Do any needed maintenance on batteries and replace those near the end of their lifecycles.
8. Check all belts and replace those that show even the slightest sign of wear.
9. Do the same for the cooling system hoses. Look for leaks, cracks and loose clamps. Tighten clamps and replace questionable hoses.
10. Clean and replace spark plugs as needed.
Brakes and tires
11. Have the brakes inspected, even if you don’t suspect a problem.
12. Consider switching to all-weather tires for the winter.
13. Make sure all vehicle tires are properly inflated to prevent blowouts.
On the outside of the vehicles
14. Replace worn windshield wiper blades.
15. Clean all lights on the exterior of the vehicles and check for bulbs that need replacing.
16. Have the vehicles washed thoroughly, removing any built-up grime before the new grime of winter starts clinging to those trucks.
Inside the cabs
17. Consider a deep clean of the interiors of the vehicles as well, as your drivers will likely spend more time in the cabs with windows shut tight against the cold.
Winter is the price we pay for the glorious weather of summer, and that price won’t be as high as long as we’re ready for what the season wants to throw at us. Get your vehicles winterized now, and rest a little easier until the warmer months of summer return.
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