With December quickly approaching, the first official day of winter is right around the corner. Don’t get caught in the cold by neglecting to prep your truck for the winter months. Follow these tips on winter truck maintenance to be sure your truck can easily withstand the change in climate.
Your coolant system should get the brunt of your attention when it comes to winter prep. Just as any normal preventative maintenance, check the system – especially clamps and hoses – for leaks. Make sure the coolant level is at the “full” mark. If not, pressurize the system to find leaks.
Pressure test your coolant system on a cold engine and make sure it’s at 15-18 psi after turning on the heater control valves. Then, pressure test your radiator cap at a minimum pressure of 5 psi. Finally, carefully check all heater and water hoses for wear, cracks, hardening or softening, and tighten any loose hose clamps you find.
Winter is not the time to skimp on price when it comes to your actual coolant – always use high-quality coolant and additives from reputable suppliers, not unknown sources with questionable marketing claims.
Colder weather can cause batteries to resist charge, often leaving them at a lower charge, which can increase the battery’s sulfation level and reduce the overall battery life. During PM intervals, routinely check the electrical system, clean the batteries and test and charge them. If your battery is coming up on three years of age as winter comes closer, consider an early replacement.
Checking a battery’s state of charge is the best way to determine remaining life. Checking the state of charge is as easy as getting a handheld battery and electrical system tester will allow you to diagnose bad batteries rapidly and precisely – even in a discharged state.
While your tires don’t require a ton of extra attention during the winter, it’s still important to make sure they are in tip-top shape. You need to ensure proper tire pressure, as air pressure lowers in colder weather. If the tire is 20 percent below the recommended pressure, it’s considered flat and should removed and inspected for damage. Failure to do so could lead to unwanted downtime.
If you’re driving in snow and ice, invest in quality tire chains. Making sure they fit your tire correctly is incredibly important, so put your chains on your tires and drive for a mile. Then, check and retighten the chains to ensure a good fit.
Changes in climate, especially hot to cold, test the durability of your truck. If you take the necessary preparation steps, though, you don’t have to worry about your truck breaking down or malfunctioning. Stay on top of regular maintenance and follow these winter prep tips, and you will be ready for cold weather driving.