Seasonal maintenance tips as the cold weather rolls in

Seasonal maintenance tips as the cold weather rolls in

No one’s ever really ready for winter to move in—the cold weather, snow and wind that hurts your face, not to mention the slush and bad roads. Now I know what you’re probably thinking. “Tess, slow down. We’re barely into October,” and you’d be right but shortly after all the touchdowns have been scored and all the halloween candy has been consumed—it’s just around the corner.

So the time to start thinking about the seasonal checks you need to make to prepare your trucks for the winter months is now. The extreme winter conditions only exacerbate underlying problems that may go unnoticed up until a light comes on and your truck is sidelined. 

Regular and precise maintenance will save you a lot of time, money and hassle in the long-run so here are six seasonal preparation tips to keep in mind as the cold comes trucking in.

1. Prevent corrosion

The mix of chemicals and salt used to clear the snowy roads on top of the frigid temps can take a toll on your truck’s performance. Corrosion affects every fleet and can ruin your components if the connections are not secure and water tight. By utilizing high-quality parts meant to withstand the harsh demands of winter and prevent moisture, your truck’s uptime is more likely to increase. Using proper lubrication will additionally prevent breakdowns caused by increased friction and corrosion. 

2. Don’t run on underinflated tires

It’s important to remember that the cold weather actively decreases tire pressure and your trucks falling flat on the road isn’t ideal especially in the winter conditions. It’s important to determine precise PSI for your tires based on specific requirements, application, and loads carried. Be sure to check tires prior to use while they are cold for correct pressure to ensure they’re ready to roll on the winter roads

3. Keep your battery energized

It just doesn’t make any sense – your trucks started up fine in the summer, even in the fall, so they should be fine now too, right? WRONG! The winter months are when you will start to see the effects of the summer heat on your battery as it makes the desperate attempt to turn over. The summer heat accelerates battery aging and weakens its performance. Batteries lose a substantial amount of their starting capabilities due to the winter temps on top of the fact that as the engine gets colder it actually takes more current to start it. In the winter months batteries need to work harder to crank the engine so it’s important that you ensure your batteries are free of damage from the heat.

4. Keep sensors clear

Because your ADAS technology solely relies on cameras and radars located on the outside of the truck, a regular practice in pre-trip inspections should be to ensure that snow or salt build-up isn’t preventing them from getting the full picture in order to properly work.

5. Don’t idle trucks

It’s a popular strategy, but starting a cold truck and letting it idle is not only ineffective, but also damaging to your engine. If you need to warm a truck that’s been sitting overnight, drive it around the yard or parking lot. This will exercise the truck more efficiently allowing it to warm the engine, transmission, differential and suspension evenly.

6. Hit the brakes

Remember that driver assistance technologies like stability control and collision mitigation rely on proper maintenance of complementary systems like your brakes. Closely inspect the wear patterns on brake shoes or pads and make note of any irregularities from inconsistent wear. You don’t want to realize your brakes are malfunctioning only when you go to use them. 

You May Also Like

As the seasons shift, so do Decisiv truck service trends

Rising transaction volumes, seasonal shifts and maintenance trend insights.


Fleet managers who have been at truck service for a while could have probably predicted the biggest truck service shifts that Decisiv's Director of Data Services Nick Pittinger noted as he talked through VMRS, service-level truck service data from the fourth quarter of 2023. So, test your hypothesis to see if your hunch was correct:

Tire maintenance checklist: It’s the little things that count

Some of the little things that can really matter to fleets when it comes to tire maintenance. Let’s go over a few.

The latest on ADAS

Adoption rates of ADAS continue to grow, and the newest features continue to be exciting and, much more importantly, potentially life-saving.

The potential benefits of parts inventory management software

Let’s take a look at a few common parts inventory mistakes in this episode of On the Road.

The most important things to remember about brake maintenance

Regular visual inspections are crucial to the safety of your trucks and their drivers.

Other Posts

Daimler Buses, BMZ Poland drive zero-emission EU bus transport

BMZ Poland expects the next generation NMC4 battery to combine high energy density with an ultra-long cycle life.

Using AI to capture tire data, control costs and reduce downtime

Good fleet management is vital for any trucking company, but the days of searching for important information in stacks of notebooks are over.

Kenworth offering PACCAR MX-13 CARB-compliant engine

The PACCAR MX-13 CARB-compliant engine will be available in the Kenworth T680, T880, and W990, with production slated for Q4 2024.

International Truck integrates S13 engine with Allison automatic transmissions

Allison 3414 Regional Haul Series, 4000 Series fully automatic transmissions available for International RH, HX Series trucks, respectively.