“Be Prepared.” It’s the Scout motto—and a good one to follow when it comes to winter driving. Spending a few hours preparing your trucks for cold-weather operation now could save you lots of time, money and headaches down the road. Here are some winter-weather tips from our Cat® Truck maintenance experts:
Remember, water is your enemy…
In cold weather, excess moisture can cause brakes and valves to freeze up, and any water that makes its way into your fuel system can result in major damage. To keep that from happening:
• Inspect your water separator
• Remove any moisture from your airlines
• Drain water from your air tanks
• Change the filters in your air dryers
…and winter blend is your friend.
At low temps, diesel fuel can gel and clog filters. That’s why you want to make sure to fill up your trucks with winter-blend diesel (a mix of 1D and 2D) AND add a winter-blend antifreeze with a low pH level. Other precautions: Carry some spare fuel filters just in case and consider using anti-gel additives for even more protection.
Check your tires.
Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure rating and inspect your chains and cables. You’ll also want to double-check the chain laws for your area or any area you’ll be driving through to confirm you meet requirements. (Laws can change from year to year and location to location.)
Keep things clean.
Visibility is key to safety—yours and others on the road or jobsite. So don’t overlook simple things like keeping your windshield wiper fluid tank topped off with a winter-blend fluid to prevent freezing. You might also want to consider installing special winter wiper blades to keep snow and ice from catching between the blades and windshield. Also, washing your trucks regularly during the winter months will help prevent corrosive material from building up and causing rust.
Don’t skimp on inspections.
It may be tempting to skip a pre-trip walkaround in cold weather, but you’ll end up paying the price. Before you head out, check tire pressure, inspect airline hoses for cracking and make sure all lights are working and free of snow, dirt or film—it only takes a few minutes.
These simple tips should keep you working safely and productively during cold weather—but just in case, be sure to have an emergency kit on board filled with winter gear, blankets, food, water and other survival items. And ask your Cat dealer about additional winterizing tips for your specific trucks and applications. We’re here to keep you up and running all winter long!