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Eight tips to prepare your trucks for winter

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Like it or not, winter is coming. You know the drill: falling temperatures, snow, and ice hitting large swaths of North America, presenting challenges for trucks and fleets. Now is the time to prepare. With harsh weather looming, this installment of the Bendix Tech Tips Series serves up eight pieces of advice for wheel-ends, air systems and electronics to help keep your vehicle in good operating condition.   

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Wheel-Ends 

The following tips are from Mark Holley, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, wheel-end.

1) Check air brake chamber housings. Look for corrosion, or damage that could allow corrosive materials to take hold, and ensure that dust plugs are properly installed. Prevent corrosion from getting a foothold when these areas are most exposed to hazardous conditions.

2) Lubricate drum-braked wheel ends. Focus on automatic slack adjusters, clevis pin connections, cam tubes, shafts and bushings. Lubrication is a standard preventive maintenance procedure that also keeps moisture from building up and enabling corrosion.

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3) On wheel ends with air disc brakes, check the guide pins and inspect the boots for tears or punctures. Openings could permit corrosion of the caliper within. Replace any pins or boots as needed. Verify that the shear adapter cover is in place and fully seated.

4) Ensure free movement of air disc brake pads in the carrier. If necessary, remove them and clean the carrier surface with a wire brush – and make sure that the brake moves freely on its guidance system.

Electronics and controls

These tips are from TJ Thomas, Bendix director of marketing and customer solutions, controls.

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1) Check tires and brakes. Remember that driver assistance technologies like stability control and collision mitigation rely on maintenance of complementary systems like tires and the brakes to ensure performance in the field. Maintaining these systems is especially critical in winter when electronic systems may be called on more often to help mitigate crashes. Check tires for adequate tread depth and proper wear, and wheel-ends for tight bolts and cracks.

2) If a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) light on the dash is illuminated, then run a diagnostic check to make sure tire pressure monitoring systems are operating properly. Internal and external temperature swings, along with slick road conditions, make running on the right tire pressure exceedingly important in the winter.

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3) Keep external cameras and radar sensors clear of snow and ice. Check these sensors, such as forward-mounted collision mitigation units, prior to getting on the road as part of your pre-check inspection.

4) Verify connections to ensure they are secure and watertight. Salt and other road chemicals can cause corrosion, which can ruin connectors and components. Do this during normal preventative maintenance or if you believe there is a problem.

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