A Common-Sense Pre-Winter Checklist
By: Parts for Trucks
If you do anything to your truck before winter arrives, make sure you check these systems!
COOLING SYSTEM Inspect for leaks and signs of wear. Hoses should I be sound, soft, and pliable. If they are hard, cracked, or brittle, replace them. Also check clamps, which may loosen their grip with age. Check the fan drive, thermostat, and shutters (if you have them) to be sure the engine runs within its specified temperature range, and don’t forget coolant filters.
CHARGING SYSTEM Inspect wiring and cables for frays and insulation breaks. All light bulbs should burn brightly; if they don’t, find out why. Is the alternator producing all the amps it should? How old is it? How much life does it have left?
BRAKES/AIR SYSTEM While you are adjusting the brakes, examine shoes, linings, and drums for wear. Are all hoses and valves in good working order? Check the gladhands up behind the cab at the trailer’s nose; are the grommets in good shape? Are the air tanks securely mounted? Do you hear any leaks? Does the air compressor leak oil? Does it pump strongly and cycle properly, and does the air dryer do its job?
CRANKING SYSTEM Does the cranking motor turn over the engine every time without signs of weakness? Are your batteries strong, clean, and well-secured? For batteries more than a year or two old, test their ability to hold a charge. Also, are cables, wires, and connections among the components strong?
ENGINE Examine fan belts and other accessory-drive mechanisms, including brackets, for worn or broken parts. Set the fuel pump to spec, and check the injectors, cleaning them if necessary. Change the fuel filters and inspect all fuel lines and valves for integrity. If the fuel system is not equipped with a good fuel heater/water separator, install one now.
HEATERS Auxiliary engine and cab/sleeper heaters, fired by diesel fuel or electricity, can eliminate unneeded engine idling and ease cold starts. Be sure they work, and that the cab and sleeper are vented properly. I DRIVERS. Are you or your drivers personally ready for cold weather? Keep warm clothing, including a heavy jacket, gloves, and boots, at hand. Assemble an emergency kit, for help. including flashlight and non-perishable food and drink. Be sure the CB works so you can call
Pay regular attention to these items (as you should) and both vehicle and driver will be ready for the worst. After that, winterizing is a breeze!