When the winter season is approaching, it's the perfect time to check your fleet vehicles and perform regular maintenance. The impending cold temperatures require checking the engine, battery, tires, and other vehicle functions. Here is a winter maintenance checklist to ensure your fleet vehicles and drivers remain safe.
Perform Engine Maintenance
Check the engines belts and hoses. Replace them if they are wearing down. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive fix that can prevent serious problems. Be sure to check the glow plug operation if your fleet runs on diesel fuel.
Check the Battery
Battery related issues can happen in any weather, with the majority of them happen in the cold. The battery can fail in the cold especially if is past its prime. Test the battery at the beginning of the winter season. It is also essential to clean the battery terminals and connections thoroughly. Don't hesitate to replace the battery if you're concerned with it's reliability. You do not want a stranded driver or delayed shipment due to a dead battery.
Consider the Fuel
The type of fuel you put in a diesel fleet vehicle needs to be very specific when temperatures drop to 10 degrees or colder. The best type of fuel for cold weather is ASTM D-975 Grade 1 diesel fuel. This is an ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel meant for cold weather conditions. Aside from choosing the right fuel, you should also to check the fuel filter and drain the water separator regularly to ensure it doesn't freeze.
Change or Fill the Coolant
Check the date of your last coolant replenishment. Antifreeze can dissipate over time which can lead to overheating your engine. Regular fleet maintenance calls for old coolant to be flushed out and replaced every two years.
Check the Heater and Defroster Operation
Your drivers also need to be comfortable and safe when they are driving your fleet vehicle in the winter. Ensuring that the defroster and heater are working is essential. In freezing temperatures you want your fleet drivers to remain warm and able to use a working defroster. Place essentials such a first aid kit, bottled water, road flares, and jumper cables in the vehicle.
Maintain a Clean Windshield
Safe driving requires a clear view at all times. Winter poses additional problems with snow, slush, dirt, and salt being kicked up from the road. Check that your windshield wipers are not damaged to ensure a clean view of the road. Check the windshield for any cracks, pits or chips and have them fixed or replaced if needed. Frequently check windshield wiper fluid levels to ensure it isn't low. Be sure to use de-icing or low temperature fluid to ensure the fluid does not freeze.
Review Tire Traction
Having proper tire traction is vital year-round, especially in the winter. In order to avoid or minimize sliding on the ice and snow, there should be at least 5/32-inches of tread thickness. A thicker tire tread helps the tire chains work effectively. Be sure the tires are maintained with proper tire pressure because the tires pressure will drop in cold temperatures.
In addition to these winter maintenance items for your fleet, have updated insurance policies, including commercial auto insurance.
Contact a HUB Transportation Advisor today.