At home, getting ready for winter means tuning up the furnace, dragging out the Christmas decorations, and bringing in the patio furniture. On the road, it’s a bit different—though, if you can find a place in your cab to hang a wreath, a little holiday cheer can’t hurt. Winterizing your semi-truck prepares you for the harsh and sometimes treacherous driving conditions you’re sure to encounter, from blizzards on the plains to icy twists and turns in the mountains. Whether you’re staring down your first winter on the road or you’re a veteran who’s always on the lookout for new ideas, this guide on how to prepare your semi-truck for winter weather should improve your efficiency, comfort, and safety as we approach a long winter.
Always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Don’t hit the winter roads without a fully stocked winter emergency kit. Keep warm blankets, gloves, and a stocking cap stowed away just in case, along with extra road flares, hand warmers, and some high-energy snacks. Most of all, make sure you have a well-supplied first aid kit.
Check the Battery
Winter is rough on batteries. They have to work harder, and they become harder to charge. If your battery is reaching the end of its lifespan, now is the right time to replace it. Don’t let winter start without a comprehensive battery check, or you may find yourself regretting it at an inopportune time.
Keep Anti-Gelling on Hand
Diesel fuel contains paraffin, which you may know in its solid form as candle wax or crayon wax. Extreme cold causes the paraffin in your fuel to crystallize, and you can probably imagine what would happen to your engine if you stuck a bunch of crayons and candles in it. High-cetane winter blends are effective in reducing solids in your engine, but, in cases of extreme cold, anti-gelling additives can stave off this harmful crystallization to as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep a bottle handy for persistent sub-zero temperatures.
Make Small but Important Improvements
You may not be able to put a brand-new rig on the road before the onset of winter, but you can do the next best thing by making key upgrades up and down your semi-truck. Take inventory of your wipers, mirrors, tires, and anything else that could be worn out. Install a new angle mirror lens in place of the old, scratched-up model—its expanded coverage could make the difference in staying safe through dangerous conditions.
Clean Your Cab
Spring cleaning is overrated. Late-fall cleaning is the one you won’t regret. Ensure maximum organization and peace of mind behind the wheel by giving your truck one last deep-clean before you hit the winter roads.
Knowing how to prepare your semi-truck for winter weather will make you a better, safer driver and a helpful mentor to rookies on your team. Unitruck is committed to coast-to-coast highway safety, not only through providing high-quality mirrors and lighting but through informative tips like these, too.