Preparing Your Isuzu Truck for Winter
The temperature is cooling off and the leaves are starting to show their colors. These are tell-tale signs that another New England winter is on its way. And while winter’s worst is still several weeks – or even months – away, if you’re driving a truck that’s not ready for negative temperatures and freezing roadways, driving could become very unpleasant. Taking some precautions now could save you later.
Long before you see a patch of ice or a single snowflake, get your Isuzu Truck ready now, and stay safe this winter.
Here are some tips:
Check your batteries:
Nothing drains and kills off a battery quicker than cold weather. Check the age of your batteries and see what kind of charge they have left. Keep a handheld battery tester in your Isuzu Trucks so you can test them and know quickly if they need replacing. In general, it’s usually a good idea to replace batteries if they’re three years old and you know you’ll be driving in freezing conditions.
Stock up on emergency supplies.
Breakdowns can happen at any time, but they can be extremely dangerous in the winter. Carrying some emergency supplies in your truck could save your life. Recommendations:
- Cold weather clothes including an extra coat, snow boots, hats, gloves, socks, etc. (An extra coat and gloves means you can swap them out if you get wet.)
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- AM/FM radio and extra batteries
- 2-Way or CB Radio
- Hand and feet warmers
- Reflective vest and flares
- Tool kit with wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, a hammer, pliers, duct tape, zip ties, and any other tool you might use
- A shovel or trenching spade and a bag of salt or sand to deal with snow, ice, or mud
- Bungee cords and heavy-duty tow straps
- Extra gallon of oil and fuel filters
- Canned and dried food and plenty of water
Check your tires and tire pressure.
Underinflated tires wear faster and hurt your gas mileage. Cold weather makes tire pressure drop even more. Always check your tire pressure during your pre-trip inspection and adjust it as needed. If a tire gets to 20% below the pressure recommended by the manufacturer, remove it and have it inspected. If you don’t, it could lead to trouble or a blown-out tire later.
Carry tire chains and know how to put them on.
Tire chains can help give you traction in snow and are actually required by law in some areas. Always carry chains on your truck, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to put them on, and take them off as soon as they’re no longer needed (otherwise they damage roads AND tires.)
Check the air dryer.
The air dryer keeps water from entering and freezing in your brake lines. Make sure it’s working correctly, and change out the filter so it’s ready for winter.
Get an engine block heater.
Diesel engines require a higher cylinder temp than regular gas vehicles, which means they’re harder to start when it’s cold. If you know you’ll be spending a lot of time in colder climates or your truck will be sitting for a period of time, get an engine block heater so your truck always starts. If you already have one, plug it in and make sure it’s working like it should.
Look over your radiator.
Make sure the belts are in good condition. Check the hoses and clamps for leaks and fix them if you find any. Make sure the antifreeze is full and at the optimal freeze point for the conditions you’ll be driving in. Make sure the antifreeze brand is reputable to prevent any problems later. Keep extra antifreeze on your truck in case you need it.
Use the Correct Fuel Grade .
For diesel engine models, make sure fuel is ASTM D-975 Grade 1 diesel in areas where temperatures may drop below 10 degrees (-12C). Note that for diesel particulate filter-equipped vehicles, ultra-low sulfur diesel is required in all temperature conditions. Service the fuel filter, and drain the water separator to prevent freezing.
Add In Some Anti-Gel Fuel Additives .
Every driver knows that diesel fuel can gel in extreme cold, but not everyone knows why. It’s due to paraffin, a hydrocarbon found in diesel. Paraffin crystallizes in freezing temperatures, allowing any water in the fuel to emulsify and turn the diesel to slush. The solution is to use winter blend fuel with a high cetane rating and add anti-gel additives at each fill-up.
Believe it or not, you have to worry about cooling systems in cold weather. A comprehensive winterization check should include inspections of the radiator, belts and hoses for potential failures. Also, check the coolant to see if it’s at the optimum freeze point.
Take a look at your wipers.
Replace windshield wipers that need it. Refill your windshield wiper fluid and keep it full. Carry extra windshield wipers, windshield wiper fluid, a windshield scraper and snowbrush, a window cleaner and paper towels on your truck so you’re prepared to replace and clean as needed. The bottom line is that doing some prep work before driving in winter conditions could save you some downtime this season, not to mention it could save your life or someone else’s.
Liberty Isuzu Trucks can help you winterize your vehicle and get your fleet ready to face the harshest New England winter weather conditions. Stop in or give us a call today…we’re always ready to help!