As the temperature drops and winter draws near, various issues related to cold weather, snow, and salt can pose risks to your truck.
Specific components of your vehicle are particularly vulnerable during winter. Taking proactive measures to prepare your truck for winter is crucial. This not only helps you save on potential costs but also ensures your safety throughout the chilly winter period. Here are some essential tips to help you winterize your truck and prevent unwelcome surprises:
1. Assemble an Emergency Kit
Being stuck in harsh winter conditions is more likely during winter months. Ensure your truck is stocked with essential survival items, including
A first aid kit
Canned food, bottled water
Extra supplies like coolant, washer fluid, and engine oil.
2. Check Your Battery
While battery damage occurs during the summer in hot weather, it's in the winter when it's cold that they most often fail under the heavy load used during start-up. Check its age; if nearing the 48-72-month lifespan, replace it. Ensure it's securely mounted, connections are clean, and conduct a load test. Also, check for verdigris on the poles of your battery, clean and grease the poles. Inspect the alternator, starter, and electrical wiring for damage.
3. Inspect Fuel Filter and Water Separator
Regularly check the fuel filter; replace if needed. Monitor the water separator, especially in winter when condensation inside the fuel tank increases. Drain collected water to prevent engine damage.
4. Use Fuel Additives
Diesel fuel can gel in freezing temperatures. Check the cetane rating at the pump and add anti-gel fuel additives during each fill-up. Follow your owner’s manual for specific guidelines to avoid damaging your fuel system.
5. Inspect the Cooling System
Maintain your cooling system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, and clamps. Conduct a coolant test to determine its freeze point. Regularly check coolant levels and use the appropriate coolant for your truck. Avoid using aerosol ether starting fluid.
6. Keep the Engine Warm
Diesel engines need higher temperatures to start in cold weather. Consider an electric block heater for colder climates. Ensure the block heater cord can handle a three-prong plug and is securely attached.
7. Inspect the Air Dryer
Check the air dryer between the compressor and wet tank. Ensure it functions well and replace the filter if necessary. Regularly drain air reservoirs to prevent brake malfunctions due to frozen water.
8. Prepare the Windshield
Inspect and replace windshield wipers if needed. Ensure your windshield wiper fluid is appropriate for cold temperatures. Keep extra bottles of washer fluid in your truck.
9. Check the Tires
Inspect tires for wear and proper inflation. Know the states requiring chains and keep the correct size and number of chains in your truck. Regularly check chains for damage and replace them when necessary.
10. Perform a PEP inspection
It's a good idea to perform a PEP inspection to make sure nothing is wrong before the cold weather arrives. Make an appointment with our service team!
11. Do a regular cleaning
During the winter, it is highly recommended to wash your truck often to protect its body, chassis and tires from damage caused by salt spread on the roads in case of ice or snow.
Finally, know your limits. Do-it-yourself maintenance is often very cost-effective, but you can easily reach your limits if you're not a mechanic. If in doubt, make an appointment with a mechanic from our service workshops at Kenworth Montreal, Kenworth Mirabel or Kenworth Lanoraie.
In need of any parts? A question or a particular need? Do not hesitate to contact the Kenworth Montreal Group team at 1 844-363-0363.