As the temperatures begin to drop and the snowflakes start to fall, your truck is going to need some extra attention to keep preforming at its best. Here is a basic maintenance guide that we’ve compiled for winterizing your truck!
Paraffin, (which is a hydrocarbon found in diesel fuel) crystalizes at freezing temperatures. This crystallization allows any water in the fuel to emulsify causing the fuel to become a slushy substance. This results in a restriction to fuel filters and only worsens as temperatures drop below 10°F and the fuel beings to gel. Keep a thumb on the pulse of this common problem. Check the cetane rating of the fuel at the pump (the higher the better), and add anti-gel additives at each fill up to enhance engine performance.
Fuel Filter & Water Separator
Water is an extremely common contaminate in diesel fuel due to the fact that it’s easily absorbed. Contaminates in fuel such as condensation caused by water are bound to shorten an engine’s service life, and will undoubtedly eventually lead to a need for repairs. To reduce the risk of this happening, monitor the water separator on a daily basis. If a significant amount of water has been collected in the separator, it should be drained. Since most separators are not self-cleaning, the driver will need to locate the water separator (which is near the fuel filter), and turn a small drain valve called the petcock to empty any water from the chamber. Replacing an old fuel filter is also an effective preventative measure when it comes to avoiding fuel contamination.
Before the weather gets too atrocious, drivers should have a comprehensive winterization check conducted. At that time, the mechanics should inspect the cooling system, radiator, hoses, and belts to check for any problems that could potentially worsen and lead to engine damage. Drivers may also want to have a coolant test conducted to assure that your coolant is at an optimum freeze point.
Diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature than gasoline-powered vehicles, which means that they are significantly more difficult to start in cold weather. To combat this issue, drivers may want to consider investing in an electric-powered block heater to keep the engine warm through the night and keep fluctuations in engine temperature to a minimum.
Air contaminants are caught in the air dryer, which are collected and removed before they are able to enter the brake system. This prevents water from freezing in the brake lines and rendering them inoperable. An inspection of the air dryer and a possible filter change are highly necessary to any driver before hitting treacherous icy roads.
Batteries drain much faster in cold temperatures, so the importance of checking the age and life-span of a truck battery prior to the winter months is vital.
We all know that preventive maintence can be a lifesaver when it comes to minimizing the cost of repairs or wasting unnecessary downtime for fixes. What are your tried and true winterization tips or preferred products? How much time and money do you typically invest each year when it comes to winterizing your truck?
Truck Centers Inc.
Filter Manufacturers Council