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Heavy-duty

Keep your truck air systems thawed and working properly

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Managing Editor of Fleet Equipment Magazine

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Winter is very much upon us. Across the country we’ve already seen record-setting cold temperatures on several occasions. If your trucks run routes in cold-weather areas it’s important to be prepared for what might happen during the winter. Air systems are one particularly affected part of the truck in the winter. Below are four tips from Richard Nagel, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, charging, on keeping your air systems in good shape during the cold winter months.

Keep it dry

Moisture in the air system can condense and freeze, increasing the odds of brake and valve malfunctions. If the air dryer cartridge hasn’t been replaced lately, now is the time to do it. Bendix recommends oil-coalescing cartridges like the PuraGuard, since oil aerosols passed into the system can be particularly harmful.

Click here for tips on keeping thawing brake air lines.

Check the dryer’s purge valve for corrosion or grit accumulation and replace it if necessary.

Corrosive road chemicals can damage the purge valve, and putting in a new one as a safeguard is a relatively quick and simple bit of preventive maintenance.

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Manually drain the air tanks to start the season.

Today’s vehicles use compressed air for more non-braking functions, including automated manual transmissions (AMTs), advanced safety systems, and emissions controls. Draining every three months is generally sufficient for typical line haul trucks, but more often—monthly or even weekly—is recommended for vehicles with high air demand, like vocational trucks.

Unless it’s an emergency, avoid using de-icing solutions on an air system.

They can corrode O-rings and valve seals. If one must be used, limit the exposure to as small an area as possible and keep an eye on the affected parts.

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