Three fall truck maintenance checks to make before wintertime
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Three fall truck maintenance checks to make before wintertime

David Sickels is the Senior Editor of Fleet Equipment. He has a history of working in the media, marketing and automotive industries in both print and online.

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The first day of the fall season is September 22, and with it comes a welcome change for many drivers and technicians who may have been overheating alongside their trucks in the summer.

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But although the cool air might feel nice now… it’s only going to get colder. And winter weather is notorious for bringing with it unplanned downtime. But it’s early enough that there’s something you can do about it.

So, if you want avoid downtime in the winter, make these three maintenance checks now:

1. Check Your brakes

A solid set of brakes remains an absolute must for truckers to avoid violations and keep safe on roadways this winter.

On wheel ends with drum brakes, be sure your technicians lubricate the automatic slack adjusters, clevis pin connections, cam tubes, shafts and bushings. These are standard preventive maintenance procedures that keep moisture from building up and causing corrosion.

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On wheel ends with air disc brakes, check the guide pins and inspect the boots for tears or punctures that could let corrosion set in and replace any pins or boots as necessary. Also, check for free movement of air disc brake pads in the carrier. If you think it’s needed, remove them and clean the carrier surface with a wire brush to make sure the brake moves freely on its guidance system.

2. Check your lights

The beginning of autumn means the Fall Equinox has arrived – meaning it only gets darker from here on. Not only is poor lighting in all areas of the truck an obvious safety hazard, it can get your drivers in trouble. A defective or failing headlight or taillight alone can get truckers two to four demerit points in many states, and could even lead to drivers potentially losing their licenses for a while.

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Most trucks today make use of LED or halogen lights – the two most popular types of lighting available on the market. Replacing one of these headlights takes less than 30 minutes on most heavy-duty trucks, and that’s a half-hour well spent.

3. Check your suspension

You know what crunchy leaves eventually turn into? Mushy, slippery leaves. And, that’s just the tutorial level compared to the slippery stuff you’ll run into in the wintertime. It’s not uncommon for a driver to find it difficult to stay straight when they’re slippin’ and sliddin’.

Maintaining shock absorbers and struts will keep your trucks grounded and help you avoid unexpected collisions.

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