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  • Writer's pictureShawna Beckel

Don't Gamble with cold 🥶 weather: Maintaining Your Commercial Truck Fleet in colder climates

Lower temps are a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to commercial truck fleets. In this unforgiving season, neglecting routine maintenance and essential checks for your fleet can lead to costly consequences. So, take proactive steps to keep your trucks on the road, safe, and efficient during the winter months. Here's why maintaining your commercial truck fleet during the winter is not an option – it's a necessity.

Routine Maintenance: The Backbone of Fleet Resilience

Routine maintenance is the unsung hero of fleet management. During the winter, it takes center stage. Ignoring routine maintenance is like inviting trouble to your doorstep. So what does routine maintenance encompass?

1. Oil Changes: Your trucks' engines need clean oil to function optimally. Cold weather can make oil thicker, increasing friction and wear. Regular oil changes with the right viscosity will keep your engines humming smoothly.

2. Battery Checks: Cold weather is tough on batteries. Have your batteries tested, inspected, cleaned, and charged regularly to ensure reliable starts in freezing conditions.

3. Brake Inspections: Icy roads demand responsive brakes. Regular brake checks and maintenance prevent unexpected failures when you need them most. Also, have the brake electrical components inspected and tested/ replaced as necessary.

4. Heater and Defroster Maintenance: Keeping your drivers comfortable and their visibility clear is crucial. Regularly inspect and maintain the truck's heating system and defrosters to avoid unpleasant surprises on the road.

5. Exhaust System Inspections: Cold weather can exacerbate exhaust system problems, including leaks and corrosion in exposed metals. Ensure your trucks' exhaust systems are inspected and repaired promptly.

Fluid Checks: The Lifeblood of Your Fleet

Fluids are the lifeblood of your commercial truck fleet, and winter only emphasizes their importance. Here's what you should be vigilant about:

1. Antifreeze: Antifreeze prevents your truck's engine from freezing, literally. Ensure it's at the right level and mix ratio to protect your engine during frigid temperatures.

2. Fuel Stabilizers: Diesel fuel can gel in cold weather, leading to engine problems. Add a fuel stabilizer to prevent this issue and keep your engines running smoothly.

3. Washer Fluid: Visibility is key in winter. Use washer fluid that's rated for sub-zero temperatures to ensure your windshield remains clear and prevent it from freezing.

Tires: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Tires are the single most critical component for winter driving safety. Here's why they should never be neglected:

1. Tread Depth: Insufficient tread depth reduces traction on snowy and icy roads. Check your tire tread regularly, and replace tires that are worn down beyond a safe measure, usually around 4/32nds.

2. Tire Pressure: Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop. Maintain proper tire pressure to ensure optimal traction and fuel efficiency.

3. Snow Tires: Consider equipping your trucks with snow tires for added grip and safety. They're designed to excel in winter conditions as many are composed of softer rubber compounds that remain flexible in cold weather.

4. Chains and Snow Socks: For extreme winter conditions, snow chains or socks provide additional traction, especially in mountainous regions.

The Bottom Line: Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Winter doesn't wait for anyone. It's crucial to be proactive in maintaining your commercial truck fleet during these harsh months. Neglecting routine maintenance, fluids, and tires is a gamble you can't afford to take. A well-maintained fleet not only ensures safety and reliability but also saves you money in the long run by preventing costly breakdowns and repairs.

Investing in your fleet's winter maintenance is an investment in your business's success. Don't wait for the first snowfall to remind you of the importance of proactive maintenance. Get ahead of the curve, be assertive, and keep your commercial truck fleet running strong through the winter months. Let the technical experts at TRO Oliver truck and trailer repair get your fleet ready for the winter months. We have same day service, and just about everything on the truck and trailer. Your drivers, your customers, and your bottom line will thank you.

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